Local Church Hosts Community Read With Series of Discussion Sessions
The Congregational Church of Pinehurst, UCC is sponsoring a community read and discussion group on the book “Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus” by noted scholar Robin R. Meyers.
Starting Sept. 11, there will be approximately 11 consecutive Sunday evening sessions from 7 to 8:15 p.m., with a chapter to be discussed each evening.
This conversation is part of an ongoing effort by the church to live up to its motto: “Wherever you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.”
Robin Meyers is a professor of philosophy at Oklahoma City University and full-time pastor of the 700-member Mayflower Congregational Church, UCC, in Oklahoma City.
A first-rate scholar, he draws heavily from his work with the Jesus Seminar, a group of scholars organized initially to discover and report on the historical authenticity of the sayings and events attributed to Jesus in the Gospels.
More recently, the seminar has focused on the history of early Christianity. Among the seminar’s many members are noted theologians Karen Armstrong, Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan.
Meyers believes that faith is not adherence to a set of statements but commitment to a transforming way of life. He believes that by focusing so much on “the nature of Christ,” and doctrines of salvation, atonement and the trinity, the church has lost sight of Jesus’ message and his call to a life of love and justice.
For Meyers, “The most urgent questions of all go unasked. What kind of God did Jesus reveal? What is the proper object of our worship and what would it take to make Christianity again compelling? How can our faith become Biblically responsible, intellectually honest, emotionally satisfying, and socially significant?”
The publisher states, “The marriage of bad theology and hypocritical behavior by the church has eroded our spiritual lives. Taking the best of Biblical scholarship, Meyers recasts core Christian concepts in an effort to save Christianity from its obsession with personal salvation. Not a plea to try something brand new, but rather the recovery of something very old, ‘Saving Jesus from the Church’ shows us what it means to follow Jesus’ teachings today.”
Each chapter contrasts “commonly accepted” Christianity with a progressive, uncommon understanding of Jesus’ teaching.
Chapters include “Jesus the Teacher, Not the Savior”; “Faith as Being, Not Belief”; “The Cross as Futility, Not Forgiveness”; “Easter as Presence, Not Proof”; “Original Blessing, Not Original Sin”; “Christianity as Compassion, Not Condemnation”; “Discipleship as Obedience, Not Observance”; “Justice as Covenant, Not Control”; “Prosperity as Dangerous, Not Divine”; and “Religion as Relationship, Not Righteousness.”
“We will discuss openly and honestly personal spiritual issues, sharing doubts hopes and experiences,” says Mary Scott Arnold. “Since each session stands alone, everyone is invited to attend as many or as few evenings as they wish. We hope that anyone interested will join in what promises to be a lively and rewarding discussion.”
Contact Arnold at (910) 295-7456 with any questions and to register for the group. Books are available locally at The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines.
The Congregational Church of Pinehurst, United Church of Christ, is located at 895 Linden Road across from Elliott’s restaurant. For information call the church office at (910) 295-2243 or visit the website at youarewelcomehere.org.
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