Sunday, November 29

Goya, Dream of St. Joseph

Our class will deal with Matthew 1:18-25 (the Annunciation to Joseph) and Luke 1:26-38 (the much more famous Annunciation to Mary). We will look at the cultural and religious backgrounds of these stories within Judaism and the wider Greco-Roman world.

I look forward to seeing you at Binkley on Sunday morning!




Matthias Stomer, Annunciazione

A Preview of Sunday, March 15, 1015

On Sunday we will take a detour away from the Pre-Easter Jesus to Post-Easter attempts to define Jesus’ relationship to the Father, the Wisdom of God, and the Spirit. Here are some of the things we will discuss:

  1. What is meant by the theological term, “Christology”?
  2. Are the images of Christ found in the New Testament consistent?
  3. How do the images of Jesus developed by the earliest Christian communities relate to the ones that developed in later centuries? How is each related to what we find in the New Testament?
  4. The early Church was comfortable with identifying Jesus with feminine imagery such as “the Wisdom of God.” What happened to make later Christians so uncomfortable with such imagery?

Here are some things worth reading:

  • Borg, Chapter 5: Jesus, the Wisdom of God SOPHIA BECOME FLESH
  • BibleWisdom as ‘Sophia’ and Reason as ‘Word’
    • Proverbs 3:13-18; 9:1-6
    • Luke 7.33 -35 = Matthew 11.18-19.
    • 1 Corinthians 1:23-24, and 30
    • John 1:1-4, 10, and 14

Have a wonderful Saturday. I’ll look forward to seeing you on Sunday.

A Preview of Sunday, February 22, 2015

What are the implications of thinking about Jesus and God as experience rather than as objects of belief? In this class we will think about our own experiences of “the Spirit of God” and how we might understand them more profoundly by understanding what the New Testament authors said about Jesus’ experience of “the Spirit” and the experiences of the early churches. Here are some readings to consider:


  • Page 17 “Beyond Belief to Relationship”
  • Pages 37-39 “Implications for the Life of the Church


Thinking about each of the following passages in light of our recent discussions of Jesus’ own spiritual experience, what could “Spirit” or “Holy Spirit” mean other than the third person of the trinity in each text?

  • Luke 4:14-21
  • Acts 4:8 and 31
  • Acts 7:55
  • Acts 13:52
  • Romans 15:13

A Preview of Sunday, February 1, 2015

Topics for Discussion

  • The Pre-Easter vs Post-Easter construct by Borg
  • Competing Biblical narratives of Jesus with a focus on competing birth stories as an exemplar to the challenges of Biblical literalism.
  • Who was the historical Jesus and what was the cultural context in which He lived?
    • Where was the physical territory of Jesus’ life?
    • Who controlled the territory?
    • What was (were) the dominant religion(s) of the people?
    • What languages did the people largely speak?
    • What was the economic structure?

Suggested Readings

  1. Borg
    • Chapter 2: from opening What Manner of Man? The Pre-Easter Jesus to The Adult Jesus: A Sketch
  2. Bible
    • Jesus’ birth – Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 2:1-20
  3. Maps
    • Look at maps of ancient Galilee

2nd Week – Jan 18, 2015

Your comments provided the class with some great fodder for some engaging discussions in the weeks ahead. Since several comments spoke directly to how the Bible was developed, Michael is preparing a presentation in response to those questions and to discuss your additional questions.

In preparation for this coming Sunday, we suggest these readings:


Chapter 1: from opening Meeting Jesus Again through the section titled Seminary and Beyond.


1st Corin. 13:11

Questions and Information for Sunday 1/11/2014

On Sunday we will introduce ourselves, think a little about why we are offering this class and why you have decided to attend, then we will look at a bible passage that has been used for centuries to silence dissent among Christians and consider how to understand it in a more accurate and fair manner. Here are some things to think about between now and Sunday:

  • What are you curious about?
  • What questions do you have about the Bible, Jesus, or God?
  • What do you hope we cover in this class?

We look forward to seeing you on Sunday, either in person or online!