EfM Year A - Living Faithfully in Our World

Education for Ministry (EfM) is a four-year program. Seminar participants commit to one year at a time; made up of 36 seminar sections. Year 1 focuses on The Hebrew Bible. Year 2 focuses on The New Testament. Year 3 focuses on Christian History. Year 4 focuses on Theology.  An EfM Reading and Reflection Guide provides weekly reading assignments, reflection questions, and additional supportive resources for the group. There are 2 INTERLUDES throughout the year. All seminar participants read and study the Interlude material together. Year A Interludes use And God Spoke: The Authority of the Bible for the Church Today and Living on the Border of the Holy: Renewing the Priesthood of All as primary sources.

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Year 1

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Year 2

Source Text: A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible by John J. Collins

 

Collins's erudition is now available to general readers and professors and students who prefer a shorter, more concise introduction to the Hebrew scriptures. New features, especially designed for the college student, include maps, images, and study questions. A companion web site includes special resources for both teachers and students including: PowerPoint presentations, chapter by chapter test banks, study questions, suggestions for further reading, and web site links.

 

On the web: Publisher's Study Resources

Source Text: Introducing the New Testament by Mark Allan Powell

 

This beautifully written and engaging survey offers an up-to-date New Testament introduction for undergraduate students and general readers. Powell presents disputed and controversial issues fairly, neither dictating conclusions nor privileging skepticism over faith-based perspectives. The book is written in a lively and engaging style and includes helpful sidebars, maps, tables, charts, glossary, diagrams, and suggestions for further reading. In addition, this full-color book includes beautiful artwork illustrating the reception of the New Testament through various times and cultures. A companion Web site features a wealth of additional resources for students and instructors.

 

On the web: Publisher's Study Resources

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Year 3

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Year 4

Source Text: Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch

 

Where does Christianity begin? In Athens, Jerusalem, or Rome? How did the early creeds of the church develop and differentiate? What was the impact of the Reformation and the Catholic Counterreformation? How have vital Christian communities emerged in Asia, Africa, and India since the 18th century? Award-winning historian MacCulloch (The Reformation) attempts to answer these questions and many more in this elegantly written, magisterial history of Christianity. MacCulloch diligently traces the origins and development of Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christianities, and he provides a more in-depth look at the development of Christianity in Asia and Africa than standard histories of Christianity. He offers sketches of Christian thinkers from Augustine and Luther to Desmond Tutu and Patriarch Bartholomew I. Three appendixes contain a list of popes, Orthodox patriarchs, and a collection of Christian texts. Assuming no previous knowledge on the part of readers about Christian traditions, MacCulloch traces in breathtaking detail the often contentious arguments within Christianity for the past 3,000 years. 

Sources Texts: Theology for a Troubled Believer by Diogenes Allen. The Christian Moral Life by Timothy F. Sedgwick. My Neighbor's Faith by Jennifer Howe Peace

 

The reasons people are attracted to Christianity and its teachings are many and varied. In Theology for a Troubled Believer, Allen hopes "to supply more of the information (pieces of the puzzle) that are needed if a person is to make sense of the Christian understanding of God and our life in the universe." More philosopher than theologian, Allen writes for "a troubled believer," dealing with issues and questions that emerge during Christians' daily lives and in the course of contemplating Christian faith.

 

Timothy F. Sedgwick's The Christian Moral Life demonstrates that the way of life we call Christian is lived in relationships to others. Christian faith, understood as practical piety, calls for a life opened to the world at large, concerned for the "stranger" as well as for the neighbor. Sedgwick further emphasizes that the Christian life is grounded in the experience and worship of God. His work thus develops Christian ethics as "sacramental ethics," an ethic that has at its center a deepening encounter with God.

 

My Neighbor's Faith by Jennifer Howe Peace gathers an array of inspiring and penetrating stories about the interreligious encounters of outstanding community leaders, scholars, public intellectuals, and activist from the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. With wisdom, wit, courage, and humility, these writers from a range of religious backgrounds share their personal experience of border-crossing, and the lessons learned from their interreligious adventures. We live in the most religiously diverse society in the history of humankind. Every day, people of different religious beliefs and practices encounter one another in a myriad of settings. How has this new situation of religious diversity impacted the way we understand the religious other, ourselves, and God? Can we learn to live together with mutual respect, working together for the creation of a more compassionate and just world? 
 

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Interlude 2

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Interlude 1

Source Text: Living on the Border of the Holy: Renewing the Priesthood of All by L. William Countryman

 

"The first thing to say in our exploration of priesthood is this: priesthood is a fundamental and inescapable part of being human. All human beings, knowingly or not, minister as priests to one another. All of us, knowingly or not, receive priestly ministrations from one another. Unless we begin here, we are not likely to understand the confusions and uncertainties and opportunities we have been encountering in the life of the church itself in recent years. We shall be in danger, in fact, of creating makeshift solutions to half-understood problems, easy answers to misleading questions, temporary bandages for institutions that need to be healed from the ground up." - L. William Countryman There is a lot of tension in churches today about whose ministry is primary-that of the laity or of the clergy. L. William Countryman argues that we can only resolve that problem by seeing that we are all priests simply by virtue of being human and living, as we all do, on the mysterious and uncertain border with the Holy. Living on the Border of the Holy offers a way of understanding the priesthood of the whole people of God and the priesthood of the ordained in complementary ways by showing how both are rooted in the fundamental priestly nature of human life. After an exploration of the ministry of both laity and ordained, Countryman concludes by examining the implications of this view of priesthood for churches and for educating those studying for ordination.

Source Text: And God Spoke: The Authority of the Bible for the Church Today by Christopher Brian.

 

Brian's reflections on some of the ways we might answer these questions in the church today became the twelve short chapters of this book. Here scripture scholar and Anglican priest Christopher Bryan looks at the nature of the Bible’s authority and inspiration and how the Bible can inform our decision-making today. He explores common questions about scripture, such as: What do we mean when we say that the scriptures are revelatory, that they are inspired, that they are the Word of God? How do we define the Bible’s authority for the past and the future? What does a church that takes the Bible’s authority seriously actually look like? How does it read, study, and pray with the Bible?