Three Reasons to Love Asking People to Give

By Margaret J. Marcuson

Is your church preparing for your stewardship campaign? Remember this: When you provide leadership in stewardship at church, you do essential work. You help people connect their money and their faith. Both money and faith are part of everyday life, and bringing them together is one of the most vital connections in the spiritual life. It took me a long time to learn this lesson and to embrace this part of ministry

You don’t need to be anxious, defensive about asking people to give. Nor do you need to dread it. In fact, it is possible to learn to love it. Continue reading Three Reasons to Love Asking People to Give

Clarifying Misunderstandings

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

Few things escape the consequences of their own success. This axiom seems true even of Bowen Family Systems Theory. It seems that systems theory is now the “in” thing—never have there been as many courses on it, or more “experts” on the matter. And a sure sign of its popularity is the rate of books being turned out that claim to have a “systems approach to” something or other. This is, overall, a good thing. The more the theory is propagated, the better, I say. But one consequence of the theory’s fast dissemination is the risk of misunderstandings—like in a global game of that old parlor game, “telegraph.” What goes in one ear at one end may come out as something completely different at the other—the message lost in translation as it is passed from one person to another. Continue reading Clarifying Misunderstandings

Through the Roof – Friends, Jesus, and Surprises

How rich and deep are the Gospel stories! One of my favorites is usually known as “Jesus heals the paralytic” in Mark 2:1-12 and Luke 5:17-26. Recently a new friend, Heather Herschap, has uncovered a layer of meaning in that story for me. She told me, “For years this story rubbed me the wrong way…” You see, Heather is a woman of faith who is also a woman with cerebral palsy. She is a recent graduate of George W. Truett Seminary, and has traveled to India three times, as she answers God’s call to serve people with disabilities.

Heather did not need to take up her mat and go home. She took off in her wheelchair to serve God. Heather continued her commentary on the healing story, “…but then I heard a sermon from the perspective of the friends and their decision to cut a hole in the roof so they could bring the paralyzed man to Jesus. Then it became more of a story on creativity and expressions of faith.” Continue reading Through the Roof – Friends, Jesus, and Surprises

Helping Learners Grow As Learners

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

While learning itself is a natural innate human ability, becoming a good learner is not. In whatever context of learning, whether in a graduate studies classroom, university, or a Sunday school class, effective teachers understand that part of their job is to help students become good learners. This teaching goal is important not just for university and seminary professors, it is just as important for lay religious education teachers in the church. One fundamental reason being that a mature faith is a critical faith–it can reflect critically on its own experience, beliefs, and biases. And if religious education is about anything, it is helping people grow into a mature faith.

Researcher William Perry has identified nine stages of a student’s development. He grouped these stages into four substages: Continue reading Helping Learners Grow As Learners

Columbia Hosts Conference on Bible, Empire, and Reception History

On November 18-19, 2015, Columbia Theological Seminary will host a unique conference exploring the production and use of the Bible in various historical contexts of empire. It will consider the use of postcolonial criticism in interpreting biblical texts and its implications in modern contexts.

“We deliberately scheduled the conference before the gathering of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) and the American Academy of Religion (AAR) to be held in Atlanta,” said Raj Nadella, assistant professor of New Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary. “Originally, we hoped to have one or two well-known scholars interact with a small group of about 50 participants. As it turns out, more than half of the participants will be top scholars taking turns as panelists responding to the speakers!” Continue reading Columbia Hosts Conference on Bible, Empire, and Reception History

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