During Lent we started a weekly video discussion based on Rob Bell’s Nooma video series. It was enjoyed by so many that we are continuing with these weekly discussions!
Mondays at 4 pm PT Pastor Adam will hold Zoom conversations centered around Rob Bell’s video series called “Nooma.” In the New Testament, the word “pneuma” is the word for Spirit. Each video in this series has something to do with Christian spirituality. During these sessions, we will begin by watching a Nooma and then we will open space for a conversation about the video. These videos are beautifully artistic and spiritually deep.
You can join the discussions on Zoom by clicking here. Our schedule and link to the videos are below. Feel free to watch the short video before each conversation. To receive information on each week’s video, please sign up for our weekly emails at this link.
- March 7 – Rain
- March 14 – Breathe
- March 28 – Lump
- April 4 – Luggage
- April 11 – Dust
- April 18 – Rhythm
- April 25 – Tomato
- May 2 – Trees
- May 9 – Open
- May 16 – You
PREVIOUS CLASSES 2021/2022:
March Class will not be held due to Spring Break. Next Class April 18.
February 21; 4-5:00 Pacific – Martin Luther King Jr, Violence, Nonviolence and the Great Threat to His Dream
Introduction to Class
Do you have questions about the Bible? What about God and Jesus? Is Christianity compatible with other religions? Are some Christians open and affirming despite their faith, or because of it? What does it mean to call Jesus the Son of God?
Would you like to explore those kinds of questions with other people who are seeking a better Christianity?
Then join Class with Pastor Adam on Zoom!
On the third Monday of each month, Pastor Adam will deliver a 20-30 minute talk about a question concerning the Christian faith and then we will open up for Q&A. Or we may skip the talk and go straight into a conversations. Classes are often recorded.
You can register for each class through Zoom at the corresponding link below. A suggested $10 donation is appreciated for each class. (You can donate by clicking here). Your donation will help the ministries of Clackamas UCC. We recognize that some of us can’t afford to donate, and some might be able to afford more than $10. Please know that you can come to class for free, and you can also donate more than $10, if you feel so moved.
February 21 at 4:00 Pacific – Martin Luther King Jr, Violence, Nonviolence and the Great Threat to His Dream
Martin Luther King Jr continues to stir our imaginations. Could we ever live out his dream? We hope that most people want to, but King claimed that liberal white Americans were one of the greatest enemies to his dream. (Register here!)
How could that be? Well, King’s call for radical justice involved transforming unjust system in the economy, politics, and ending the military industrial complex. Near the end of his life, King’s message made him one of the most hated men in America.
We will explore this aspect of King’s life on February 21 at 4:00 Pacific through two articles. The first is titled “By the end of his life, Martin Luther King realized the validity of violence” by Hanif Abdurraqib and “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” written by King. You can listen to King read his letter on YouTube here.
Topic: Martin Luther King Jr
Time: February 21, 2022 04:00 PM US/Pacific
Register by clicking here.
As you read Hanif Abdurraqib’s article, what questions or comments do you have? Here are some of mine:
- Does this article change the way you view Martin Luther King?
- What do you think about Abdurraqib’s statement, “the real tragedy of King’s legacy is that the white people who so frequently invoke it in the name of peace do so with a fundamental perversion of his message. Nonviolence — as it is discussed and fetishized in proximity to the poor and/or marginalized — is so often only dragged out in response to any uprising of those people.”
- What do you think about the quote from MLK at the American Psychological Association that, “Urban riots must now be recognized as durable social phenomena. They may be deplored, but they are there and should be understood. Urban riots are a special form of violence. They are not insurrections. The rioters are not seeking to seize territory or to attain control of institutions. They are mainly intended to shock the white community. They are a distorted form of social protest. The looting which is their principal feature serves many functions. It enables the most enraged and deprived Negro to take hold of consumer goods with the ease the white man does by using his purse. Often the Negro does not even want what he takes; he wants the experience of taking.”
- What else would you like to discuss from this article?
As you read “Letters from a Birmingham Jail,” what statements do you find significant? What questions do you have? Below are some thoughts I have.
- King lived in Atlanta, but went to Birmingham, Alabama to participate in marches and sit-ins. The Birmingham circuit judge issued an injunction against the protests, but protesters refused to follow his orders. King attended the protests and was labeled an “outside agitator” by white clergy. King wrote his letter in response to them. In light of that brief history, what do you make of this statement, “Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”
- King was criticized for using direct, nonviolent action and creating tension. What are your thoughts about the following paragraph? “You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.”
- King talks about just and unjust laws and when it is appropriate to break the law. What do you think of the following quote? “One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all…Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.”
- This might be the most famous quote from King’s letter. Reflect on this: “First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
- King talks about black led movements that were more violent and that he thought “have lost faith in America.” He wrote, “The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence. It is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up across the nation, the largest and best known being Elijah Muhammad’s Muslim movement. Nourished by the Negro’s frustration over the continued existence of racial discrimination, this movement is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incorrigible “devil.” How was King able to keep faith in America?
- What comments or questions would you like to discuss about King’s letter?
Session 1 – Approaching the Bible, May 17, 2021
The Bible can be a stumbling block for many. For example, why should we pay attention to an ancient book? What about all of the violence in the Bible? What if I told you that there’s an ancient approach to the Bible that helps us deal with these questions in refreshing ways? Join Pastor Adam as he explains. You can read more by downloading his free ebook “Unlearn the Bible” at the Raven Foundation. Pastor Adam will provide a 20-30 minute talk and then take Q&A for 30 minutes.
Session 2 – June 21 – Pride Month with Rocky Roggio! Let’s talk about the Bible, Homosexuality, and the Documentary 1946: The Mistranslation that Shifted a Culture
Did you know that the term “homosexual” never appeared in the Bible until the year 1946? And before that year, the Bible didn’t refer to homosexuality as we understand it? It’s true. Find out more in this special session of Class with Pastor Adam and flim director Rocky Roggio. Please give your suggested $10 donation for class to help 1946 by clicking here.
Class 3 – What Does the Bible Really Say About Hell?
What is hell? Do you have to believe in it? Who goes there?
Hell might be the most important concept in Christianity that we need to unlearn. It has caused so much fear for so many throughout the centuries. But one of the earliest followers of Jesus said that God is love and perfect love casts out fear. What does that mean when it comes to hell?
Interestingly, we assume that the Bible and Christian tradition have one answer to these questions: there is a hell and those who don’t believe in Jesus go there.
But that’s false. The Bible and Christian tradition have many different answers on hell. We will explore them in this class. Pastor Adam will deliver a 30-minute introduction and then we will open for Q&A on the topic. If you are interested in doing some “homework,” I recommend the documentary “Hellbound?” which you can rent on Amazon. Also, the books “Love Wins” by Rob Bell and “Her Gates Will Never Be Shut” by Brad Jersak are great introductions to this topic.