Over the next year, we will have the opportunity as a congregation to fully lean into our annual theme for 2019-2020 “Confessing the Faith in a Secular Age.” As we live into a culture within North America that is increasingly more and more secular, how will the church need to adapt and retool to meet this challenge head on as we faithfully seek to, “... confess the faith of the triune God in, un- der, and with our daily callings in the life of God’s world (from our Mission Statement for Bethlehem Lutheran Church)”? To begin and frame that conversation, Pastor Mark will be preaching a three- week series on this theme beginning September 8th. Here is an outline of the three-week series:
September 8: “Confessing the Faith in a Secular Age: Engaging the Myth of the Autonomous Self”
September 15: “Confessing the Faith in a Secular Age: Engaging the Myth of Authenticity”
September 22: “Confessing the Faith in a Secular Age: Engaging the Myth of the Time and Opportunity”
Adult Forum opportunities:
Join us for Adult Forum on September 15th and 22nd as Pastor Mark shares some insights about confessing our faith in a secular age. Andrew Root in his recent book, Faith Formation in a Secular Age (citing Charles Taylor) writes, “Taylor points us to the possibility that our issue isn’t necessarily people leaving the church but instead people no longer having ways to imagine the possibility of divine action or transcendence.” How do we live as a church in 21st century North America, in a culture that is increasingly more and more secular? What will the church need to be ready for? How might the church be best equipped to confess the faith in and throughout this culture with the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Join Pastor Mark in this exciting and thoughtful time of engaging culture, scripture, and other confessions of the church as we examine these questions together.
Reading through the Bible in One Year Challenge
As we consider our annual theme, “confessing the faith in a secular age,” how will we know what or how to confess? How will we know God’s story throughout history that is brought to fulfillment in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the sake of God’s world? We will not adequately know or be proficiently equipped, unless we take seriously our study of scripture. Over the next year, I am challenging our congregation to engage in a daily reading of scripture. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
I would encourage us to lean into the daily discipleship practice of reading scripture either by yourself, or better yet, gather with another (or others) to read/discuss together. Find a “bible study buddy” to check in with once a week to see how things are going and talk about what you are reading. Check out our website or newsletter each month for daily readings beginning with Genesis on September 15th, 2019 and concluding on September 14th of 2020 with Revelation. To further aid you in this endeavor, I would recommend visiting the website www.enterthebible.org which is provided by Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. This is an excellent resource to utilize as you are reading. You will find online videos, maps, historical information, etc, for every book in the Bible ... best of all, it’s free to utilize. To log on, simple create an account and password, then you are all ready to go!
May God bless you as you seek to follow Jesus!
Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, ELCA
418 8th Ave NE
Brainerd, MN 56401