One Episcopal Church’s Christian Formation Brochure for 2009/2010

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Check it out and see what you make of it.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult Education

11 Comments
Posted June 24, 2010 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. farstrider+ wrote:

Lot’s about the evils of white male privilege and power, and a bit of what looks to be old-fashioned, “quest for the historical Jesus” liberalism. I think I’ll pass. They don’t “form” Christians like they used to.

June 24, 5:55 am | [comment link]
2. Ralph wrote:

Well, let’s see.
1. ...we will read and reflect together on The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’ Final Days in Jerusalem by Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan. This book is an outstanding exploration of what really hap- pened in the first Holy Week. You will be moved and better prepared for your own participation in the journey through the great week of our salvation.
2. The Shack. Come to this class on The Shack, where we will read and discuss together this amaz- ing and creative novel by William Paul Young. Caution: your assumptions may be challenged. Prerequisites: an open mind and a curious spirit.

It would be fun to sit in on these classes, and disrupt them with the truth.

June 24, 8:15 am | [comment link]
3. MarkP wrote:

‘Lot’s about the evils of white male privilege and power, and a bit of what looks to be old-fashioned, “quest for the historical Jesus” liberalism.’

Well, first of all, it looks to me like they take formation pretty seriously, for one thing. The have a pretty full looking catechesis for baptism program, and their main Bible study is based on the Disciple program, published by Cokesbury (hardly a radical outfit), who blurbs it thus:

“Are there people in your congregation who are hungering for the Word of God? DISCIPLE Bible Study can help transform your church into a biblically nourished congregation that nurtures and encourages people to live as disciples of Christ.”

Sounds pretty liberal to me!

As far as I could tell, there are two offerings out of many that mention race.

Beyond that, it’s hard to find anything that gives enough detail to comment. Surely “The Last Week” could be used to help people enter more fully into the events of Holy Week, and there’s no reason to believe they teach it uncritically (and it’s certainly a more approachable read than, say, “The Death of the Messiah” by Raymond Brown). As for “The Shack”—I’ll bet anyone any amount of money that they don’t teach it as doctrinally authoritative. Lots of churches have used it as a way to explore our own understanding of, say, the relationships of the persons of the Trinity (not to mention how we would cope the horrific loss of a child).

My main complaint with the brochure is that it doesn’t seem to identify the church or its location!

June 24, 9:22 am | [comment link]
4. evan miller wrote:

The scariest part is the bios of the teachers.  Lots of “active in Zen Meditation Ministires,” “Peace & Justice Ministry,” “Labyrinth Ministry,” “inclusive hospitality,” etc. credentials.  Trendy lefties to the man (Oops! Better make that “person”).

June 24, 9:47 am | [comment link]
5. BlueOntario wrote:

The post-modern theology does nothing for me, and as with Post #4 I noticed some of the interesting stuff in their bios, too. But I’d use their prospectus as a template, it’s nicely done.

Any relation to Richard Harmon?

June 24, 10:30 am | [comment link]
6. robroy wrote:

A big church that was growing up to ~2003 and now, thankfully, is stabilized (and hopefully will start declining lest more people are deceived). It would be better yet, if it were shrinking. I have noted that that the most liberal churches in a conservative diocese can grow.

June 24, 3:10 pm | [comment link]
7. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

While all sorts of warning bells went off for me too, I was pleased to see that the church offers DISCIPLE (which I like very much) as well as EFM (which I don’t).  And the guy helping lead the Gospel Take Out time is a Cursillo leader, which is promising.  Plus the intriguing Dr. Richard Harmon, who, even if not related to Kendall, certainly has an interesting Baptist background. 

That all suggests that the church is a mixed bag, with a wide spectrum of theological views represented in the congregation.  Not in itself very surprising in a large church in a conservative diocese.  But that diversity may not be so evident among the clergy, who appear more liberal.

I do commend the church however, for having a clear catechumenal program and putting a lot of emphasis on an adult formation model that’s at least formally related to the ancient model.  Fr. Michael Merriman has long been a leader in TEC in that area.  But from what this brochure indicates, I’d be very suspicious of the actual content of what is taught at this church.

David Handy+
Passionate advocate for restoring the ancient catechumenate, suitably adapted for out time, as a way of making disciples in our increasingly hostile, post-Christendom world

June 24, 4:32 pm | [comment link]
8. wffeus wrote:

First, for production value, very well done—I mean, the PDF brochure is very professionally presented. 
The content—yikes!  More of the same from TEC;  John Crossan and Marcus Borg on our Lord’s Passion?  Might be safer watching The Last Temptation of Christ!  Hey, how about something like Jesus, The Final Days by NT Wright and Craig Evans?
Another thing to note—how few times they refer to Jesus—lot’s of “God-talk” but few references to Jesus.  Again, something very typical in TEC.

June 24, 8:35 pm | [comment link]
9. farstrider+ wrote:

MarkP,

I find it hard to be excited about any Christian formation project that weaves both orthodox and heretical materials into its fabric. It’s wonderful that there is some pure water to be had. If that water is then spiked with arsenic, it becomes something other than wonderful.

The fact that they are choosing to use Crossan and Borg’s “The Last Week” to explore “what really happened in the first Holy Week” does not suggest to me, as it does to you, an overly critical reading.

June 25, 1:45 am | [comment link]
10. Dilbertnomore wrote:

Very TECy.

June 25, 5:31 am | [comment link]
11. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

If you’re in the Dallas area and want to attend a big church, better to attend Incarnation.

June 25, 12:18 pm | [comment link]
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