The following is a list of Faithways Academy courses and electives
CORE CLASSES (Everyone takes both)
The Bible taught by Rev. William Reilly
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 Dr. Derek Hatch
This class will focus on exploring God, how we think about God, and how others have thought about God.
MONDAY/WEDNESDAY/FRIDAY ELECTIVES (Choose one)
“Weird or Radical: Following Jesus without Going Anywhere” taught by John Inscore Essick
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.”
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.
"Radical Forgiveness: Faith and Criminal (In)Justice" taught by Dr. Caliesha Comley
In this class, we will use Bryan Stevenson’s memoir “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,” to illuminate stories of people wrongfully convicted by and punished within the U.S. criminal justice system. Stevenson’s experience as a lawyer for disadvantaged clients who are facing the death penalty shows the complexity of being human as well as structures of inequality, such as racism and poverty, that impact our behavior and relationships. These stories will bring us closer to an understanding that, to heal our world of wrongdoing and hurt, justice and mercy can coexist.
Together we’ll reimagine a faith-informed approach to justice that relies on forgiveness instead of punishment. We will strive to answer these central questions: In what ways do our cultural norms and social structures of revenge and punishment contradict divine capacity for redemption? How can we be active in creating a new system of justice that recognizes human dignity and the ability to heal?
Students will create a visual representation of renowned prison abolitionist Angela Davis’ charge to “imagine a constellation of alternative strategies and institutions” to replace policies of punishment that hurt our relationships and communities, placing special emphasis on the church and their own capacity as future leaders of social change.
TUESDAY/THURSDAY ELECTIVES (Choose one)
“Jesus is GOAT: Sport as a Spiritual Practice” taught by Rev. William Reilly
Paul tells us to do all things for the glory of God, but what about sports? How can we glorify God through athletics? In this class we will explore how sports can become moments of spiritual practices that deepen our connection with God. We will also allow the lessons we learn from sports to inform our understanding of our holistic spiritual habits. Most importantly, we’re going to play some games!
The class will be structured in short conversations followed by games such as Chicharino, St. Paul Ball, Gaga Ball, and Pickleball. Therefore, to participate please wear athletic clothes and shoes you are comfortable running in. However, you do not have to be in great shape or athletically skilled to participate. I’m neither.
“Playing with God: Using Play and Joy to Connect with God and Find Your Purpose” taught by Dr. Michelle Johnson
Our relationship to God is often seen as a very serious affair, and we often emphasize thinking, study, scripture memorization, and scripture analysis as the primary ways we connect with God. While all these activities can be excellent methods for deepening our understanding of God, when we overemphasize these activities to the exclusion of others, sometimes it causes us to forget that God is a creative, joyful, and playful God. In this class, we will useful playful techniques that help us to connect with our emotions and bodies in order to explore the playful, joyful, and creative side of God.