“Our society is dominated by the self-serving who proceed by ways of calculation and cunning and manipulation and deceit. But such a society — with its violence, its consumerism, its militarism, its alienation — is no way to live. To ponder an alternative, from greed to generosity, from self-serving to gratitude, our whole life made available as one long thank offering” is transformative. “Such a way of life contradicts the way of the world.”
— Walter Brueggemann in Living the Questions’ “Countering Pharaoh’s Production-Consumption Society Today”
Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary. He is the world’s leading interpreter of the Old Testament and is the author of numerous books, including Westminster John Knox Press best sellers such as Genesis and First and Second Samuel in the Interpretation series, An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination, and Reverberations of Faith: A Theological Handbook of Old Testament Themes.
Ten years ago, the real world needs of two United Methodist pastors in Arizona led to the development of a DVD and web-based curriculum designed to help people wrestle with the relevance of Christianity in the 21st century.
Rev. David Felten and Rev. Jeff Procter-Murphy believed that, “at its core, Christianity has something good to offer the human race. At the same time, many have a sense that they are alone in being a “thinking” Christian and that “salvaging” Christianity is a hopeless task. What is needed is a safe environment where they have permission to ask the questions they’ve always wanted to ask but have been afraid to voice for fear of being thought a heretic.”
The result was Living the Questions, a program designed to help people wrestle with basic spiritual and theological questions often avoided by the Church.
Now an entire catalog of DVD curriculum and resources, Living the Questions seems to have struck a nerve. Today, over 6,000 churches around the world use LtQ curriculum as a catalyst for asking important questions about where the church is going and the part each of us has in the process.
To celebrate the ten year anniversary of material that has been called both “inspiring” and “transformational,” Living the Questions has released A NEW CATALOG FOR 2015. Distributed as an insert in a recent volume of The Christian Century, we offer it here as a pdf file for your perusal.
Also available for a limited time is a SPECIAL 20% DISCOUNT on any adult curriculum order. Just enter the discount code LtQB2 as you check out at www.livingthequestions.com
Thank you for your continued support and encouragement. We look forward to the next ten years of “Living the Questions” together!
A memorial celebrating the life and influence of Marcus Borg will be held on Sunday, March 22nd, 2015. This public service of remembrance will be at 2pm at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon. As a modest tribute to Borg’s contribution to “Living the Questions,” we offer this clip of Marcus demonstrating a body prayer for your own devotional and memorial use in concert with those celebrating in Oregon this weekend (excerpted from “Living the Questions: An Introduction to Progressive Christianity”).
SPECIAL LIMITED TIME OFFER
Ever feel like Jesus has been kidnapped by the Christian Right and discarded by the Secular Left? Saving Jesus Redux is total revision of Living the Questions’ popular 12-session DVD-based small group exploration of a credible Jesus for the third millennium. New contributors including Brian McLaren, Diana Butler Bass, and Robin Meyers join Marcus Borg, Walter Brueggemann, John Dominic Crossan, Matthew Fox, Amy-Jill Levine, and a host of others for a conversation around the relevance of Jesus for today.
The 12-session curriculum edition program includes a printable participant reader/study guide with background readings and discussion questions. The basic format for each 1 – 1½ hour session includes conversation around the readings, a 30-minute video segment and guided discussion.
Saving Jesus Redux Curriculum Edition is licensed for small group use and includes a two-disc DVD set and one year renewable subscription to the downloadable study materials. List Price = $250.00 plus s/h.
Use coupon code SJR5CC before March 24th to receive 50% off the list price.
Simply go to the Living the Questions Web Site and place your order using coupon code: SJR5CC
Please Note: You must be logged in to your member account when placing your order/entering the coupon code for the coupon code to be recognized and the discount to be deducted. If you do not have a member account set up, please do so at Create an Account prior to placing your order. You are welcome to share this offer with others.
Offer Expires: March 24, 2015
David Felten, author and co-creator of Living the Questions, joins author, storyteller, and professional firebrand Peter Rollins presenting keynote addresses at this year’s Epiphany Explorations in Victoria, British Columbia.
Since 2003, First Metropolitan United Church has organized this eclectic mix of presentations, music, and visual arts. The conference includes stimulating and provocative presentations by prominent theologians, authors and writers from many Christian denominations, as well as speakers on social justice issues. Topics include church renewal, recent findings of theological scholarship, contemporary understandings of faith, as well as opportunities for spiritual nurture.
For more info on the Conference, CLICK HERE. For info on livestreaming the conference, CLICK HERE
With the recent terror attacks in Paris and Africa, it becomes all the more important to be vigilant in not letting Radical Islamists destroy the reputation of Islam. Creating a world at peace requires seeking understanding and building relationships with those whom we may not have had much interaction — especially those who are dehumanized and excluded by voices of hate and bigotry.
The Jesus Fatwah is a five-session DVD and web-based series that will introduce you to Islam through input from both Muslim and Christian scholars and provide a reader’s guide that will help you gain a broad understanding of what Islam is, what it’s not, and how you and your community can resist the urge to demonize your Muslim neighbors out of fear and unfamiliarity.
One of the contributors to The Jesus Fatwah is Dr. Rami Nashashibi, Visiting Assistant Professor in Sociology of Religion and Muslim Studies at Chicago Theological Seminary and Executive Director of Chicago’s Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN). Named one of the “500 Most Influential Muslims in the World” by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center, Nashashibi is a straight-forward and passionate voice of reason in the midst of often heated Islamophobic arguments. In The Jesus Fatwah, Nashashibi offers insights into the practice of Islam that are a catalyst for conversations about the common values held by Christians, Muslims, and Americans of all faiths.
“The way the vast majority of Muslims understand Islam revolves around the prophetic values of mercy, compassion, humility, and service. The idea of mercy in and of itself is so supreme in Islam that every chapter in the Qur’an (with the exception of one), begins with “In the name of God most gracious, most merciful.” There’s a prophetic kind of understanding that out of all the attributes of God — the most giving, the most loving, the most just — that out of all those characteristics the most supreme characteristic is mercy. And that’s how Muslims are supposed to think of the divine. Since every human being is so utterly in need of God’s mercy, that’s really the driving ethos of the Muslim community. If you want mercy, be merciful.”
— Rami Nashashibi
Dr. Rami Nashashibi has served as the Executive Director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) since its incorporation as a nonprofit in January 1997. He has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Chicago and has lectured across the United States, Europe, and Asia on a range of topics related to American Muslim identity, community activism and social justice issues, and is a recipient of several prestigious community service and organizing honors. In August of 2014, he began as Visiting Assistant Professor in Sociology of Religion and Muslim Studies at Chicago Theological Seminary. His work with IMAN have been featured on many national and international media outlets including the BBC, PBS and the Chicago Tribune. Follow him at
The Challenge went out the week before Christmas: Does anybody know a good Christmas carol based on Mark’s version of Jesus’ birth? But alas, Mark doesn’t have a “birth narrative” on which to base a Christmas carol. So, we challenged LtQers to come up with a carol anyway!
Thanks to Dennis Ryle, Squire John, and Marian L Shatto for their contributions. They’ll all be receiving their very own copy of LtQ’s popular alternative Christmas Pageant, “Matt and Lucy’s Version Births.”
Below, in no particular order, are their three verses, each sung to the tune of St. Louis (The original tune to “O Little Town of Bethlehem”). Now all we need is a catchy title!
A Christmas Carol According to Mark
Tune: St. Louis (O Little Town of Bethlehem)
Mark’s Christmas tale begins with John
who comes to show the way,
“Make straight God’s paths and change your hearts;
Come, embrace this brand new day.”
“I baptise you with water;
It is enough for now.
Be ready, though, for one who comes
the Spirit to bestow.” (Dennis Ryle)
O little town of Nazareth,
how unknown you really are.
You host no tale of Jesus’ birth,
nor star, nor wise ones, mark.
In all your roads and laneways,
no light is shining bright,
no hope, no fear, and all the years
will just ignore your plight. (Squire John)
In Nazareth did Jesus grow,
A child in Galilee.
Sepphoris was just down the road;
the slaughter did he see?
Two thousand crucifixions,
a town wiped from the earth –
This horror to his preaching of non-violence
did give birth. (Marian L Shatto)
And the original verse that kicked off the challenge…
Of Jesus’ birth we have no news,
No details or anecdotes.
It likely was a normal birth,
at home with a midwife’s coax.
In Nazareth it happened.
Where else could it have been?
For Jesus was a Nazarene
No father’s name is given. (David Felten)
Thanks for all your great Facebook comments and encouragement — and be sure to check out George Stuart’s Advent and Christmas hymns/carols for next year (see previous posts). Thanks, everyone; and a Happy Christmas!