Top Scholars Gather for Colloquium 2015

Columbia Theological Seminary announced the speakers for its Colloquium 2015 to be held on April 25–29. Titled “The Church Facing the Future: Memory, Hope, and Obedience,” it will feature a lineup of some of its most well-known and well-loved faculty emeriti. The annual event will provide both clergy and laypersons with relevant reflection on God’s mission in the world today.

Walter Brueggemann, the William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament and a prolific author of such books as The Prophetic Imagination and Truth Speaks to Power, will lead off with his new presentation, “Remembering and the Temptation to Amnesia” to be followed later in the event by “Remembering and the Temptation to Nostalgia.” Brueggemann is widely considered to be one of the most influential Old Testament scholars of the last several decades. Continue reading Top Scholars Gather for Colloquium 2015

Heath Rada to Speak at Spring Convocation

Dr. Heath Rada, Moderator of the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) will speak at the Spring Convocation for Columbia Theological Seminary. The sermon title is “To Listen and To Love.” This will be the first time a Convocation service will be held for the Spring term at the seminary, launching a new tradition in the life of the community. The inaugural event will be held on the seminary campus at 701 South Columbia Drive, Decatur, GA on Tuesday, January 13 at 12:00 pm. Dr. Rada will also speak at a Wednesday Forum on January 14. Continue reading Heath Rada to Speak at Spring Convocation

Are You Enforcing Your Church’s Child Protection Policy?

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

It’s hard to imagine but there are still churches that have no child protection policies in place (I know, I ask). That’s just a tragedy waiting to happen. Another issue is that while some congregations have adopted child protection policies they fail to ensure oversight for compliance. In the press of circumstances it’s often too easy to lean toward what is convenient rather than what is right.

Does your church have a child protection policy? If you don’t know, ask. If the answer is “yes,” then ask about how well the policy is enforced and monitored. Sometimes, a change in staff leads to things falling by the wayside. A new staff member or committee chair may not be as diligent as a previous leader in monitoring for compliance. Also, as with all policies, a change in institutional development often calls for a change in policy. It is worth revisiting the church child protection policies periodically. Continue reading Are You Enforcing Your Church’s Child Protection Policy?

Opening the Heart to Something New

By Michael Lee Cook, Adjunct Professor of Pastoral Care

I recently received the news of the tragic death of a dear friend of mine. At age 52, he died suddenly of a massive heart attack. By all measures, he was a faithful, wholesome, and wonderful person, but this was not enough to keep him among us. Without the slightest warning, death came upon him like a thief in the night. His death leaves me with a deep sense of loss, and quietly reminds me of the inevitable presence of suffering within the rhythm of life.

To live is to experience loss. No one escapes its grasp. It reaches out and taps on shoulders and calls out to the old and young; wise and illiterate; rich and poor; and faithful and unbeliever alike. At some point, we will all feel the coldness of loss. Loss is simply, but confusingly, a dynamic factor of the human condition. Loss stings in every way. Yet, there is always more at work in this mystery. Continue reading Opening the Heart to Something New

For the Bookshelf: Beyond the Ordinary

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

Ben Campbell Johnson and Andrew Dreitcer provide a welcome resource to congregations in practical spirituality in Beyond the Ordinary: Spirituality for Church Leaders.  The book’s unique contribution is in fleshing out of classical Christian spirituality in the context of congregational leadership. In doing so, the authors move spirituality away from the individualistic expressions that remains prevalent today, and into a corporate dimension more in keeping with the communal nature of the church.

In addition, the intentional attention to an underlying theology of discipleship that calls for a shared ministry between clergy and laypersons can be a revolutionary challenge to most clergy-dependent congregations. In this way Johnson and Dreitcer call for greater responsibility from the laity for their personal spirituality and for a way of congregational leadership grounded in spiritual principals and disciplines. Continue reading For the Bookshelf: Beyond the Ordinary

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