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Ventures in Christian Discipleship

Equipping lay people of all ages and education levels with skills and understandings for faithful and dynamic Christian living, action, and leadership with special emphasis on small congregations.

2021-2022 Courses

“Christ, Culture, and God-talk for the Coming Church”
Tuesday, September 14, 2021 5:30 to 7:30pm CDT
Presenter: Scott Holland
Course Description and Presenter Information
Description:
The statistics cannot be disputed about our shifting religious demographics in North America. We are not only witnessing “the end of “white Christian America,” but a numerical spike of those who identify as Nones, those who no longer identify with a religious institution or denomination yet still profess faith, and the Dones, those who are finished with religion. At the same time, some sociologists of religion suggest the number of persons who confess they are “spiritual but not religious” is the fastest growing “religious” demographic in the United States. Many are looking for new ways to name themselves and render God’s name in history. Our Anabaptist forebearers composed a compelling theology for the 16th century as they exited the organized church. Our Pietist spiritual ancestors offered a creative corrective to Anabaptist visions and voices in the 17th and 18th centuries. Do we have an equally engaging God-talk for our 21st century cultural and spiritual contexts and possible coming church? We will explore this question together as we also ponder a meta-question that begs to be addressed in this season of church and culture wars: “What is the purpose of religion?”

Scott HollandScott Holland:
Scott Holland is the Slabaugh Professor of Theology & Culture and Director of Peace Studies at Bethany Theological Seminary. He also directs Bethany’s growing programs in Theopoetics and Writing. He has pastored Church of the Brethren and Mennonite congregations in Ohio and Pennsylvania. He writes and speaks about public theology in ecumenical and interfaith classrooms, congregations and conferences.

“Everything You Wanted to Know About Race, but Were Afraid to Ask: Part 1
Saturday, October 16, 2021 9:00AM to Noon CDT
Presenter: Eleanor Hubbard
Course Description and Presenter Information
Description:

In this safe space in which any question can be asked, we will explore together what it means to be a White Christian in a multicultural U.S. Part I, October 16, will provide a basic understanding of the sociological concepts of race; identity, culture, inequality and privilege, social structure, intersectionality, and critical race theory. Part II, November 13, we will envision a more equitable society by utilizing these concepts to become better allies as White Christian communities. Through mini-lectures and lively discussions, together we will critique cultural representations of race and whiteness as they are reflected in our own congregations.

Part I is designed as an introduction to talking about race and will answer the question, am I a racist?  This class will accommodate all levels of knowledge from the beginner to the advanced.  Part II will continue the discussion by using Christian and church imagery to understand how to critically analyze race and will answer the question, is my church racist?  This class will build on Part I and help participants use their sociological understandings of race with skill and compassion.  Each session will be on zoom from 9am-noon CDT, and participants may attend one or both classes.  Of course, everyone is welcome, no matter than racial identity, age, or skill level, as we all have been influenced by cultural information and misinformation about race. Christians of color can provide a context and an understanding of whiteness that may be difficult for white Christians to see. Young Christians understand the music, art, television, movies, and gaming culture and how that influences our church life. Race newbies can help us see racial attitudes and beliefs with new eyes.

Eleanor A. Hubbard is skilled at leading difficult discussions about race and will make sure that all our heard without perpetuating feelings of guilt and shame. All questions will be honored and taken seriously.  Let’s think together critically about race in our churches.

Eleanor Hubbard:
Eleanor A. (Draper) Hubbard is a graduate of McPherson College (1962) and has her MA and Ph.D. in Sociology (1993) from the University of Colorado in Boulder.  Her areas of expertise are gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, social class and race.  Her first love is teaching and has taught at every grade from elementary school (in the Peace Corps) through college. In Boulder, Eleanor created and taught the course Whiteness Studies, looking at identity and social structure from the perspective of a white racial category.  She also has a training and consulting firm, DiversityWorks and has worked with for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, doing presentations and trainings on diversity in the workplace.  Her husband Dennis (also a 1962 graduate of McPherson College) and she have two daughters, Kirsten and Natasha, and two grandchildren, Calvin and Ellie.  They are also faithful members of Cairn Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Lafayette, CO.

“Everything You Wanted to Know About Race, but Were Afraid to Ask: Part 2
Saturday, November 13, 2021 9:00AM to Noon CDT
Presenter: Eleanor Hubbard
Course Description and Presenter Information
Description:
In this safe space in which any question can be asked, we will explore together what it means to be a White Christian in a multicultural U.S. Part I, October 16, will provide a basic understanding of the sociological concepts of race; identity, culture, inequality and privilege, social structure, intersectionality, and critical race theory. Part II, November 13, we will envision a more equitable society by utilizing these concepts to become better allies as White Christian communities. Through mini-lectures and lively discussions, together we will critique cultural representations of race and whiteness as they are reflected in our own congregations.
Part I is designed as an introduction to talking about race and will answer the question, am I a racist? This class will accommodate all levels of knowledge from the beginner to the advanced. Part II will continue the discussion by using Christian and church imagery to understand how to critically analyze race and will answer the question, is my church racist? This class will build on Part I and help participants use their sociological understandings of race with skill and compassion. Each session will be on zoom from 9am-noon CDT, and participants may attend one or both classes. Of course, everyone is welcome, no matter than racial identity, age, or skill level, as we all have been influenced by cultural information and misinformation about race. Christians of color can provide a context and an understanding of whiteness that may be difficult for white Christians to see. Young Christians understand the music, art, television, movies, and gaming culture and how that influences our church life. Race newbies can help us see racial attitudes and beliefs with new eyes.
Eleanor A. Hubbard is skilled at leading difficult discussions about race and will make sure that all our heard without perpetuating feelings of guilt and shame. All questions will be honored and taken seriously. Let’s think together critically about race in our churches.

Eleanor Hubbard:
Eleanor A. (Draper) Hubbard is a graduate of McPherson College (1962) and has her MA and Ph.D. in Sociology (1993) from the University of Colorado in Boulder. Her areas of expertise are gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, social class and race. Her first love is teaching and has taught at every grade from elementary school (in the Peace Corps) through college. In Boulder, Eleanor created and taught the course Whiteness Studies, looking at identity and social structure from the perspective of a white racial category. She also has a training and consulting firm, DiversityWorks and has worked with for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, doing presentations and trainings on diversity in the workplace. Her husband Dennis (also a 1962 graduate of McPherson College) and she have two daughters, Kirsten and Natasha, and two grandchildren, Calvin and Ellie. They are also faithful members of Cairn Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Lafayette, CO.

 

Fall 2021 Course Registration

 

All course times are 9am-noon Central Time unless indicated otherwise.
There is a suggested $25 donation per course.

Archive of Courses | Access to Previous Recordings

About the Courses

Registering online is the preferred method.  There is no charge for courses; however, a suggested donation is invited.

Ventures courses, while not for college credit, offer high-quality instruction. The goal of the program is to empower lay people, especially in smaller congregations, to more effectively carry out the work of discipleship, following in Jesus’ footsteps to transform ourselves and the world. You are invited to journey with others on this new pathway sponsored by McPherson College.

Technology Requirements for Live Courses: If you can surf the web, you will be able to participate in our online courses! For the best experience, we recommend that you have a computer with high-speed internet connection and external powered speakers. We encourage several people to share a computer to participate in a course together! No camera or microphone needed for most courses.