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!
The first reviews are in and Living the Questions’ new Painting the Stars series is receiving kudos as the new catalyst for dynamic and liberating conversations about the communion of science and faith — all around the world.
Featuring over a dozen leading theologians and progressive thinkers, the seven-session program explores the promise of evolutionary Christian spirituality that has been gaining momentum in thoughtful circles of Christians across the globe. The challenging and engaging participant reader was written especially for this program by evolutionary theologian Bruce Sanguin. When you purchase the curriculum edition, you receive a code to access the downloadable/printable overview and reader. The downloadable material also includes a facilitator guide, detailed discussion questions coordinated with the video segments, and original prayers/poems written for each session by Michael Morwood. The basic format for each 1-1 1/2 hour session includes conversation around the readings, a 20-minute video presentation and guided discussion. Click HERE for info on purchasing the curriculum edition.
“This course is a masterpiece. The content, editing and graphics are beyond first rate. Congratulations to all.”
— John Jacobson, Facilitator – New Smyrna Beach Theology Club
Painting the Stars is also available as a Home Edition licensed for private home viewing only. Each of the seven episodes runs approx. 20 minutes. Please note that, when purchasing the home edition, none of the downloadable material is accessible and the videos are not to be used in group settings.
1. Toward Healing the Rift
2. A Renaissance of Wonder
3. Getting Genesis Wrong
4. An Evolving Faith
5. Evolutionary Christianity
6. Imagining a Future
7. An Evolving Spirituality: Mysticism
Philip Clayton, Michael Dowd, Rachel Held Evans, Matthew Fox, Catherine Keller, Megan McKenna, Michael Morwood, Jan Phillips, Barbara Rossing, Bruce Sanguin, Bernard Brandon Scott, John Shelby Spong, Gretta Vosper
I just completed facilitating Painting the Stars with a group of fifteen. It was a wonderful experience for all concerned. The presenters, the visuals on the DVD, the discussion-provoking questions were all typical LtQ quality. What I wanted to convey particularly was the light that I saw go on in the eyes of several participants at several points during the class. It is a rare and special thing to watch a fellow seeker “get it.” Thank you! — M. Mathews
This kind of thing doesn’t happen every day (or even every YEAR!), so don’t miss your chance to snag that LtQ program you’ve been meaning to roll out in your church or study group! ONE DAY ONLY: Wednesday, Sept. 4th, 2013
“I’ve lead most of the LTQ courses. Each time people are energized by learning that they don’t have to believe in impossible things, just live a life rooted in the love, compassion and justice embodied in Jesus.” — R.H. in Austin (via Facebook)
“Living the Questions is a breath of fresh air in the crazy world of contemporary religious thought. It will refresh, renew, challenge, inspire and sometimes drive you to a fine glass of red wine. LTQ literally changed my life!” — S.S. in Ohio (via Facebook)
“LtQ2 both broadened and deepened our Christian Formation studies at my church in Atlanta. We could watch the confining bonds of literalism fall from the consciousnesses around us as we could once again view the numinous through our liturgies. Awesome materials.” — M.D. in Atlanta (via Facebook)
NOTE: Offer applies only to DVD curriculum purchased from the livingthequestions.com website and is not valid on previous orders or combined with any other promotional offers. Offer valid through 11:59 pm, Central, September 4th, 2013. To receive the discount, you must create a member account or be logged in to your member account and enter the code: 1YRLTQ
As fast food workers strike across the U.S., the idea of structural injustice takes center stage: low-wage fast food workers are pitted against owners who feel confident that if their current employees are unhappy, there are plenty of other people who are desperate enough to take the non-living wages they offer without complaint. Jesus had something to say about that. In First Light, Living the Questions’ DVD curriculum on “Jesus and the Kingdom of God,” Dom Crossan and Marcus Borg explore the culture and times in which Jesus lived. For Labor Day here in the U.S., here’s an excerpt from the participant guide: John Dominic Crossan reflecting on the structural injustices that Jesus is critiquing in the parable of The Vineyard Workers.
THE VINEYARD WORKERS.
Imagine, for example, how that process worked in an oral delivery of the Vineyard Workers in Matthew 20:1-16. It is harvest time in the vineyards and a landowner goes to the marketplace to hire day laborers. But instead of hiring all he needed at once, he went out five times—at 6am, 9am, 12 noon, 3pm, and 5pm. (Are you already sensing a comment on his character in that procedure?).
At the end of the day, all alike are given a silver denarius for a full day’s pay. They grumble immediately about the landowner’s injustice. And, from Matthew on, we tend to focus on that problem of personal and individual justice or injustice. Was it fair? Was the owner equitably generous or provocatively condescending? And in focusing there, we do not focus elsewhere.
But think about this interchange: “About five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard’” (20:6-7). How would Jesus’ listeners—especially poor day-laborers—have responded to that interaction? Would nobody from the oral audience have objected to such a blatant blaming the victim? Would nobody have protested that looking for work all day was not laziness?
What would have happened in such a discussion was a raising of the audience’s consciousness on the difference between, in our language, personal and individual justice or injustice as against systemic or structural justice and injustice. Why did it happen mysteriously that, even at high harvest in the vineyards when labor should have cost top denarius, day-laborers were still looking for work at the end of the day? And, of course, the owner knew that situation full well since he had tried all day to have just the amount of labor needed and no more. He knew he could go out as late as 5pm and still find workers. How did things happen just as the landowners wanted?
The audience would have been lured by that story into thinking, debating, and understanding the crucial distinction between individual charity (a denarius for each) and structural justice (no work for all), and in that collaborative process they would—Jesus hoped and intended—begin the collaborative process of eschatological transformation with a God of distributive justice.
— Dom Crossan excerpt (from First Light reader) © 2010, livingthequestions.com, “Vineyard Workers” graphic by Ky Betts
First Light is a 12-session DVD and web-based study of the historical Jesus and the Kingdom of God. Follow John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg, two of the world’s leading Jesus scholars, on location throughout the Galilee and Jerusalem as they ask, “Why did Jesus happen when he happened?” “Why the tiny villages around the Lake?” “Why were the titles of Caesar Augustus — Divine, Son of God, God from God, Lord, Redeemer, Liberator, and Savior of the World — taken from a Roman emperor and given to a Jewish peasant?”
John Dominic Crossan says that First Light “is all I have to say about Jesus after half a century of study — in succinct summary.”
John Dominic Crossan is one of the world’s most respected Jesus scholars and author of numerous books, including “Jesus, a Revolutionary Biography” & “God and Empire: Jesus Against Rome, Then and Now.” He is featured in a number of Living the Questions programs, including “First Light” and “Eclipsing Empire.” In 2012, Crossan served as the President of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL)