Category Archives: Along the Journey

From our Center of Lifelong Learning.

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Using Prayer in Your Teaching

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

I remember congratulating a young man on his first sermon. The topic was prayer and he did very well for his first effort. Responding to my compliment on his performance, he replied, “Thanks, but I couldn’t go wrong on this one. Who’s not going to agree that prayer is important?”

Despite his motives for choosing a safe topic to address in his first sermon, the young man was right, who doesn’t agree that prayer is important? Prayer is a given in the Christian life. It is foundational to continuing spiritual growth, including learning about the Christian life in formal educational settings.

Using prayer in the learning experience is one effective way to help your learners grow. There are more opportunities to pray in our teaching and learning than we may realize. Prayer doesn’t just happen when we bow our heads, close our eyes, and whisper a message to God. Prayer can happen all throughout the learning experience if we plan for it and incorporate it into our lesson planning. Delia Halverson in her book, 32 Ways to Become A Great Sunday School Teacher, suggests five ways to use prayer in the learning experience.
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For the Bookshelf: The First Christian: Universal Truth in the Teachings of Jesus

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

Given a choice between understanding Jesus as a first century Jew, or Jesus as a Christian, Paul F. M. Zahl, dean of the Cathedral of the Advent (Episcopal), would probably choose Jesus as the original, “first” Christian. He suggests as much in the title of this provocative short work. Zahl’s small but rich book deals with the fundamental questions surrounding the relationship of Christianity to its mother faith, Judaism, and more specifically, the relation of Jesus of Nazareth to first century Judaism.

In The First Christian: Universal Truth in the Teachings of Jesus Zahl attempts to provide a corrective to what he sees as the prevailing re-judaizing and re-culturation of the founder of the Christian faith, Jesus of Nazareth. This tendency, he believes, has been motivated by a shared Christian “Holocaust guilt” and results in a contextualized second-century historical figure that is inadequate to the realities of the unique claims of both the founder and the faith or Christianity. Continue reading

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The Child in Christian Thought

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

The Child in Christian Thought,  ed. by Marcia J. Bunge (Religion, Marriage, and Family series. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001. 513 pp. $24.00. ISBN 0-8028-4693-9) is a collection of essays on the concept and theological thinking about the child throughout Christian history. The book is part of the larger “The Child in Christian Thought” project by editor Marcia Bunge that strived to inform current thinking on children, the church, and families by tracing the concept of the child and childhood through the history of Christian thought.

The book is a study in historical theology that attempts to answer specific questions regarding: (1) How selected theologians and movements speak about the nature of children,  (2) How do they speak about the roles and responsibilities of parents, the state, and the church in nurturing children, Continue reading

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For the Bookshelf: The American Church Experience

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

After I graduated from seminary I followed up on my promise to myself to read all those books I never got around to reading because of the interruptions of course schedules and meeting class requirements (it’s a promise that seems never-ending, for, as the Preacher said, “of the publishing of books there is no end.”). At one point I took up the reading of the two-volume set on the history of Christianity by Kenneth Scott Latourette. They remain on my bookshelf today—marked up, underscored, dog-eared, and full of notations. I remain aghast at the tenacity of my younger self to see that exercise through. While reading over 1500 pages of an obsessively comprehensive history in small dense type may be, in itself, an accomplishment, after a while, comprehension and recall took a back seat to the sheer force of will to get through that volume of information.
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classrooms

The Basic Functions of a Congregational Educator

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

I had an interesting discussion with a lay person who has just accepted the call to lead her congregation’s Christian education ministries. She was feeling a bit overwhelmed (close to panic, actually) as she started to get a grasp of the scope of the job she’s taken on. She called me to help her get a handle on what it is she was supposed to do as the leader of the Christian education enterprise of her church. At one point she asked, “What does a church’s Christian educator do, anyway?” Continue reading