EfM Volume C | Living as Spiritually Mature Persons

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 3 Interludes use Jesus and the Disinherited and We are Theologians 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: Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman.

 

In this classic theological treatise, the acclaimed theologian and religious leader Howard Thurman (1900-1981) demonstrates how the gospel may be read as a manual of resistance for the poor and disenfranchised. Jesus is a partner in the pain of the oppressed and the example of His life offers a solution to ending the descent into moral nihilism. Hatred does not empower--it decays. Only through self-love and love of one another can God's justice prevail.

 

 

 

Year 4

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? 
 

Interlude 2

Source Text: We are Theologians by Fredrica Harris Thompsett. 

 

All of us are natural theologians, willing and able to think through questions of belief and relate the insights of theologians to our public and personal lives. In this clear and engaging introduction, Thompsett gives us the tools to think theologically by grounding us in the history, theology, spirituality, and biblical foundations of Anglican belief, particularly that of the Episcopal church. 

Beginning with the Bible and what it reveals to us about the distinct calling of the People of God, Thompsett goes on to consider the insights of the Reformation regarding the importance of the laity and the contribution of lay people, particularly women, to the expansive mission of the nineteenth century in education and social work. She then explores different aspects of Anglican identity, and lay movements of liberation in the global South. 

Aimed primarily at a lay and non-specialist audience, this book introduces key facets of Anglicanism and aspects of contemporary theolgy. It is an excellent parish educational resource, especially for adult forums and group study.