EfM Volume D | Theosis: Living into the God Journey

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 4 Interludes use Transformed Lives and Care for Creation as primary sources.

Year 1

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

Year 2

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

Year 3

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. 

Interlude 1

Source Text: Transformed Lives: Making Sense of Attonement Today by Cynthia Crysdale.

 

Even theologians have had different ideas about the theology of atonement; how are the rest of supposed to understand it? This book is a good place to start.

 

Crysdale, whose background in both psychology and theology gives her a unique perspective, presents an overview of the history of the theology of atonement, addressing clearly the difficulties around this concept, and bringing us with her to a contemporary understanding.

 

The book is written in everyday language and concludes with an appendix: "Case Studies in Transformation: A Series of Stories of People Whose Lives Have Been Transformed Through Life in Christ and Christ’s Community of Beloveds."

 

 

 

Year 4

Sources Texts: Theology: A Very Short Introduction by David Ford. Mysteries of Faith by Mark McIntosh. The Christian Moral Life by Timothy F. Sedgwick. My Neighbor's Faith by Jennifer Howe Peace

 

David Ford's Very Short Introduction provides both the believer and non-believer with a balanced survey of the central questions of theology. David Ford's approach draws us in to considering the principles underlying religious belief, including the centrality of salvation to most major religions, the concept of God in ancient, modern, and postmodern contexts, the challenge posed to theology by prayer and worship, and the issue of sin and evil. He also probes the nature of experience, knowledge, and wisdom in theology, and discusses what is involved in interpreting theological texts.

 

Ford's introduction to theology has already helped tens of thousands of believers and non-believers to understand the central questions of contemporary theology. In this new edition, he includes updates to a number of areas, including theology between faiths, theological responses to science, and the effects of globalization and technology.

 

In Mysteries of Faith, a volume of The New Church's Teaching Series, Mark McIntosh introduces the great mysteries of the Christian faith: the doctrines of creation, revelation, incarnation, salvation, and eschatology, which are all held together by the doctrine of the Trinity. To explain these beliefs for Christians today, particularly the Trinity, McIntosh begins with what we know: the language of relationship and mutuality, of friendship and family ties.

 

The central theme of the book is our relationship with Jesus and our relationship with our neighbor, for such mutuality lies at the heart of every doctrine. McIntosh's starting point is the fact that every one of us is a theologian, for we are all drawn to approach the mysteries of faith with attention and love. By drawing on our common experiences as members of a community of faith, particularly through the sacraments of baptism and eucharist, he helps us to explore these mysteries for ourselves and to see how we might live them in our daily lives.

 

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? 
 

Interlude 2

Source Text: Care for Creation: A Franciscan Spirituality of the Earth by Ilia Delio, Keith Douglass Warner and Pamela Wood. 

 

If we are blowing our Franciscan horn here, it should have been blown much earlier and much louder! This is the wisdom that our world so desires and needs today. We can no longer see ourselves as separate from the 'great chain of being,' and we can no longer see this as a non-religious issue. Francis intuited all of this 800 years ago. —Father Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico 

 

Three of the greatest minds in Franciscan theology, Ilia Delio, O.S.F., Franciscan Keith Douglass Warner, O.F.M., and Pamela Wood, come together to discuss one of the greatest crises of our time—the destruction of the Earth. This book takes both a theological and practical approach to developing a Franciscan spirituality of the earth. Four sections highlight the distinct relationships creation has with the world: incarnation, community, contemplation and conversion. In this meticulously researched book, the authors propose ways in which we can all understand our own roles in relationship to the Earth and ways in which we can make it better. 

 

Each section offers reflective action opportunities designed to bring the book's ecological and theological insights into the reader's daily life and nurture a Franciscan spirituality of the earth. Prayers, meditations, spiritual practices and group activities are offered which provide a practical hands-on approach to reconnecting with the earth and acting in right relationship. 

 

"Earth, with all its creatures, is in crisis. And responding to this crisis will require every possible resource of our human community. One of the most precious of these resources is the Franciscan tradition. It is a joy to welcome this book as a wise, thoughtful, inspiring and practical contribution to ecological theology, grounded in ancient Christian tradition that sees Earth as our sister and mother. Care for Creation is part of a wider retrieval of Franciscan theology for our new time, but is unique in this blend of three interrelated disciplines, scientifically informed ecology, theology and the practice of reflective action." —From the Foreword by Denis Edwards