The following is a list of courses and electives available for students who are accepted into the Faithways Program.
CORE CLASSES (Everyone takes both)
The Bible taught by Rev. Dr. Bryan Langlands
How did the Bible come together? What are the different sections and areas of the Bible? How can we navigate it? Most importantly what is the Story of the Bible, the single narrative running through it, and why does it matter to us?
Theology taught by Sheila Klopfer
This class will focus on exploring God, how we think about God, and how others have thought about God.
ELECTIVES (You choose 1)
Literature: And a Child Shall Lead them (Young Adult Fiction and Christian Leadership) taught by Dr. Roger Ward (Both Sessions)
Fantasy and science-fiction are literary forms that opens creative imaginative space for readers. These two books are potent explorations of duty, adventure, and courage. Ursula Le Guin is one of the first women to excel at fantasy and science fiction and probably the most famous. The main character in "The Prisoner of Atuan" is struggling to understand her role as a priestess and the possibility that the wizard captured in the underground maze represents for discovering her own sense of identity. C.S. Lewis's "The Silver Chair" also deals with issues of developing self-identity and the struggle or crisis that occurs "underground," literally in a vast under-world.
I have chosen these books because the male and female characters exhibit the kind of courage required to be young in the world today. They also demonstrate a faith in the divine character of the universe that supports their actions and friendships.
Project: The completed project will be a poster-sized graphic representation of the class with four components: the authors' context and concerns, the primary scenes or tensions from each book, and the camper's representation of their quest or scenes of challenge that call them to leadership.
Worship: Worship, Welcome, and the Word taught by Elizabeth Sands Wise (Both Sessions)
As we tackle the big topics of worship—what it is & how we do it & why we do it the way we do it—we’ll keep circling back to John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word.” We will share our worship biographies, describe worship as experienced in our home congregations, and explore together the centrality of the word—Jesus as logos, the words of scripture, sermon, song, & liturgy—in all of Christian worship. We’ll discuss communal worship practices and personal spiritual disciplines.
We’ll both talk about creative expressions of ‘the Word’—Scripture-as-prayer, writing spiritual poetry, and the role of song—and also practice creativity together, including a crash-course in hand-lettering and calligraphy in order to prepare students for a visual creative project. (No previous art or creative experience is necessary, I promise!)
Project: The completed project will be the creative expression of a selected word, phrase, or Scripture passage meaningful to your home congregation. It will be hand-lettered (both drawn and painted by you) on a large canvas or banner. (No previous art or creative experience is necessary, I promise! We will have a crash-course in hand-lettering as part of our class.)
Church History: Weird or Radical, Following Jesus Without going Anywhere taught by Dr. John Inscore Essick (both sessions)
Students in this class will explore the lives and Christian discipleship of Simon Stylites (d. 459) and Julian of Norwich (d. 1430).
Simon was a Christian most remembered for living on top of a pillar near Aleppo, Syria for more than three decades. Simon was not the only Christian to live like this, and there are still Christians today who are following Jesus in this way.
Julian was an influential English mystic and theologian who followed Jesus by confining herself for life to a small room attached to a church. Many Christians stopped by to ask her advice and receive her insights about God.
I have chosen these two historical figures because they exhibit the kind of imagination, commitment, rootedness, and creativity necessary to point to Jesus in ways that are difficult to ignore or dismiss. They also raise important questions about the power, relevance, and influence of “holy people.”
Project: This class will invite the students to develop a project which 1) depicts the difference between “weird” and “radical” as exemplified historically by Christians Simon Stylites and Julian of Norwich and 2) depicts/embodies/portrays how the distinction might be/is being lived out in a contemporary context.
Biblical Storytelling: Learning How to Tell Stories from the Bible Dynamically and By Heart taught by Rev. Dr. Bryan Langlands (Both sessions)
Through this class, you will be equipped and encouraged to learn stories from the Bible by heart and to present them in front of people in an engaging way. Below are some of the questions with which we will be engaging during this class.
Why are stories such a vital part of human existence? Why does everyone love a good story? What makes for a good story? What is your faith story, and how does it connect with the story of Israel and her God? What might it mean to describe the Church as a story-formed people? What is the role of narrative in the Bible? What is biblical storytelling, exactly, and who is supposed to do it? How might biblical storytellers equip Christians to share God’s story with others in everyday life in engaging ways? What does it mean to tell a Bible story well? How can one creatively enter into the biblical narrative to help bring these ancient texts to life for people today?
Even more than discussing questions like these, however, this elective will give you opportunities to practice, practice, practice getting up in front of others and telling stories from the Bible.
Project: The project will involve students learning a biblical story by heart with a goal of presenting their story during worship one Sunday back at their home church.
Advocacy: Giving Voice to the Needs in our Community taught by Rev. Sharon Felton (Session 2 only)
Our time together will be an introduction to advocacy as mission. We will explore various issues across our state and country that are in need of a strong Christian voice. We will examine our responsibility to exercise strong Christian Citizenship by modeling a more effective, positive and inclusive witness for the church. We will work to develop and encourage new advocates. We will research and educate ourselves on various issues such as payday lending, immigration, human trafficking and others.
Project: The completed project will be a poster or tri fold board, report or activity for churches to participate in advocacy efforts.