Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
A Reflection on Christian-Muslim Relations
The Rev. Dr. David G. Grafton, Associate Professor, Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations and Director of Graduate Studies, shared this email, written 8/29/2010, with his LTSP colleagues.
This last Friday my family and I were, once again, invited to a friend’s house for iftar, the breaking of the fast for Muslims during the month of Ramadan. We had a wonderful evening of food, friendship, and sharing of texts. We were not only seated at the family table and served a delicious meal of home cooked goods, but we found ourselves engaged in a conversation about Moses being “tongue tied” and his speech before Pharaoh in both the Qur’an and Exodus. All the of the teenagers, both veiled and not, were bored with our conversation and watched David Hasselhoff attempting to sing and dance on the television. (Is that really assimilation?) The meal began with a blessing from the Faithah, the first chapter of the Qur’an, and concluded with my prayer from Psalm 104. It was a wonderful evening.
This morning at church I was greeted by the words of Christ: “You will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you” (Lk 14:10). I was struck how my family and I had experienced this Gospel lesson for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost. We received Christ’s teachings and his hospitality in the home and invitation of a Muslim family.
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Prof. Grafton explored Bible and Qur'ān - A Comparative Approach for the 2010 Fall Forum 2010 - watch his keynote lectures.
The Rev. Dr. Karyn L. Wiseman, Assistant Professor of Homiletics
This worship description is an example of an Emerging Church. Like other Christian traditions, they believe in the transformational power of Jesus and tell his story every chance they get. They are not focused on bricks and mortar. They are all about mission, living within their community in intentional ways, worshiping in a passionate and contextualized manner, and ministering with communal outreach. The Emerging Church is a movement clearly reflected within some mainline denominations, but exists outside of any denominational structure as well. The Emerging Church is focused on attracting both churched and unchurched folks to create new communities of faith. It is focused on being the body of Christ incarnationally in the world – being the hands and feet of Christ in their daily walk. Some within the Emerging Church
self-identify as emergent, while others are just trying to find a new way to reach people regardless of labels. However, they all fully embrace the fact that our culture has shifted from a “church culture” to a “secular culture.” Those within the movement believe that the Church will survive only by embracing that fact and by intentionally changing to create communities that reflect this new paradigm.2
The Emerging Church Movement is attempting to revitalize the church, much like Luther did 500 years ago. Changing times have throughout history called for different methods to spread the gospel. The church is constantly being reformed and changed – sometimes subtly and sometimes with cataclysmic results. This movement wants to tap into the changing dynamics of postmodern culture to create a new landscape to experience God.3 The interesting thing about this movement is it cannot be fixed or defined universally – it is expressed in a number of very different realities based on the needs of that particular community of faith. Culture is still shifting, and the church needs to be flexible enough to shift with it – thus the evolution is not complete. So they are living into what they believe the church might be in the future. They are living into a reality where the church is relevant to a younger, postmodern generation and to their needs; however, it is not limited to any one age group. Emerging Churches see themselves as a community being the church in the world instead of folks “going to church.”4 For some, the Emerging Church is going too far, but the last time I left a traditional worship service I can say definitively that I did not hear my pre-teen say, “Mom that was so cool. I was engaged and thought church was something for me.” He is the audience, the congregation, of the future. Will his needs be met by the traditional church? I don’t yet know. But I hope the Church continues to stretch and grow to meet the needs of the generations to come. If not, he, like others, will be looking for the nearest Emerging Church to call his faith home.
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4 Dan Kimball. The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generations. (Grand Rapids, MI: Emergent YS/Zondervan, 2003), 95. This phrase, while difficult for many to hear, is an important dynamic for church leaders to grasp. Many postmoderns and emerging church participants have experienced church in this way in the past and crave a different way of expressing their faith. The phrase clearly does not reflect the reality for many in the traditional churches who passionately worship, do vital ministry, and live missionally. These persons typically have not found that in their own experiences with the traditional church.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
First Keynote: "Bible and Qur'ān as Scripture I - A Theological Comparative Approach Between Lutherans and Orthodox Islam"
Second Keynote: "Bible and Qur'ān as Scripture II - Lutheran Exegetical and Sunni Tafsīr Principles"
More on Fall Forum
Thursday, November 11, 2010
The remainder of the story is on philly.com, website of The Philadelphia Inquirer: http://www.philly.com/philly/obituaries/20101111_The_Rev__Leslie_E__Evans__nurse_and_Episcopal_priest.html
(Photo from philly.com)
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
The participating faculty members and their presentations addressing the topic will be:
- The Rev. Dr. J. Jayakiran Sebastian: "Three Reasons Why Cyprian Will Change Your
- The Rev. Dr. Philip D. Krey: "How Augustine Helps Me Interpret the Bible"
- The Rev. Dr. Timothy J. Wengert: "Philip Melanchthon's Enormous Ecumenical Error and How We Fixed It"
- Dr. Jon Pahl: "Speaking Truth to (American) Power in Love"
- Dr. Karl Krueger: "Don't Burn the Books of the Bible!"
- The Rev. Dr. David D. Grafton: "What Say You of Muhammad?"
The November 16 convocation is the latest on the LTSP theme for the 2010-2011 academic year, Theological Education in the Changed Context of the Church and Society. Future convocations will explore the topics "Teaching Theology in the Seminary Curriculum: A Symposium by Systematicians," "Teaching the Practice of Ministry in the Seminary Curriculum: A Symposium by the Integrative Area," and "Seminary Education: What the Church Expects" with Bishop Roy Riley, New Jersey Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.