Learning Communities Program

Fall 2023 Learning Communities Program

Faith, Work, and Economics

Sunday, October 8th – Sunday, October 29th 2023
Each Sunday at 6:00 p.m. CST and Wednesdays at 7:00.p.m. CST

Pastor Wayne N. Miller (Retired Bishop)

Metropolitan Chicago Synod, ELCA

For most adults, the activity that consumes most of their waking hours is work. And the absence of meaningful work in our lives creates feelings of anxiety, and shame. But for many, the experience of work is also empty and exhausting, to the point that we often work for the sole purpose of being free from work.

Although we may speak of our work as our “vocation” only a few people experience work as a direct calling from God, or even as an expression of who we are as people of faith. And this disintegration of the relationship between our faith, our work, and our sense of participation with others in a sacred economy, conspires to undermine our mental, spiritual, relational, and physical well-being.

In this 4-part course, Retired ELCA Bishop, Wayne Miller, explores the Biblical and confessional underpinnings of the organic relationship between Faith, Work, and Economics as a lens for understanding ourselves, our world, and the secret of living life well.

Week 1: The Model
Week 2: Connecting Faith and Work
Week 3: Connecting Work with Economy
Week 4: Connecting Various Economies with Faith

January 2024 Learning Communities Program

Theological Intersectionality for the 21st Century Church

Sunday, January 7th – Sunday, January 28th 2023
Each Sunday live at 6:00 p.m. CST and Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. CST

Professor Linda E. Thomas, Professor of Theology and Anthropology; Director, Albert “Pete” Pero, Jr. and Cheryl Stewart Pero Center for Intersectionality Studies

The concept of Intersectionality considers overlapping oppressions, such as race, class, gender, sexuality, ableism, and many other things, as they are experienced and suffered by marginalized persons. This concept is a vital tool to name multiple, intersecting oppressions for the systemic violence they cause and to propose solutions for a more just society. An example of applied Intersectionality would be naming the triple oppressions faced by a poor transgender woman of color. This woman would face discrimination based on her race, gender identity, and class from being exposed to the conditions of poverty. Thus, this 4-session course will explore Intersectionality to critique the ongoing oppressions of marginalized persons in the United States today. Special emphasis will be given to Intersectionality as it corresponds to Womanist theology, that is, theological reflections about God done from the lived experiences of Black women in the United States, in order to consider an anti-oppressionistic hermeneutic for the Trinity and parish life.

Week 1: Introducing Intersectionality
Week 2: Theological Intersectionality, Womanist Theology, and Anti-Oppressionistic hermaneutic
Week 3: Theological Intersectionality and the Trinity
Week 4: Theological Intersectionality in the Parish

April 2024 Learning Communities Program

Liturgy and the Natural World

Sunday, April 7th – Sunday, April 28th 2023
Each Sunday at 6:00 p.m. CST and Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. CST

Dr. Benjamin M. Stewart, Gordon A. Braatz Associate Professor of Worship and Director of Advanced Studies

According to the Bible, the universe is like a cosmic choir where stars sing for joy, trees clap their hands, and waters roar hymns of praise. Humans – among the youngest of earth’s species – are sometimes like latecomers to choir practice, learning from other creatures how to “join their unending hymn.” In this crucial ecological moment, we take a journey to four destinations to help us reimagine our communal liturgies and our daily rituals for the life of the world: the whole cosmos; the cycle of night and day; the sacraments; and our bodies themselves as sacred ground. 

Week 1: Trees Clap Their Hands, Stars Sing for Joy
Week 2: Each Day is a Gift: Ancient and Contemporary Rituals for Sunrise, Sunset, and Night 
Week 3: A Sacramental World: Baptism and Communion 
Week 4: Earth to Earth: Theology and Spirituality of Green Funeral Practices 

For more information on Learning Communities at LSTC, please visit our facebook page here.

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