Adult Christian Education

2021 First Sundays: Faith Formation Schedule

February 7 – Kerry Dearborn – “Confronting Stereotypes and Social Hierarchies:  George MacDonald’s Baptized Imagination”

George MacDonald, Victorian writer who inspired C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolken, challenged gender and racial stereotypes and social hierarchies of his own day. His heroes were women, people with dark skin, those who are poor, houseless, disabled, and uneducated. Because of his love of Jesus, he wrote stories to help us to imagine what it’s like for the last to be first, and the least to be the greatest of all. Our time together will focus primarily on one of his short stories to discuss the way these themes are evident and can help transform our own imaginations.

If possible, please read beforehand “The Day Boy and The Night Girl,” one of his most enchanting stories, available here with reflection questions by Kerry Dearborn appended at the end of the story.  

**Kerry Dearborn is married to Tim Dearborn, and they are deeply grateful for their 3 daughters and their delightful families. Kerry earned her PhD at the University of Aberdeen, focused on theology and Imagination, particularly via George MacDonald’s work. She taught theology at SPU for over 20 years, and has been a member of BPC for over 15 years.  

March 7Kelly Langford – “The Practice of Centering Prayer”

This class will explore contemplative prayer (specifically centering prayer) using the book, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See by Richard Rohr as a reference. Rohr presents contemplative prayer as a way to move beyond dualistic thinking (ideas about us/them, in/out, right/wrong) toward the paradox and mystery of God. In a time of great polarization, prayer truly is an excellent place to start (or deepen) our journey as people seeking God. The class will introduce a few key ideas from the book, but will also focus on what the practice of contemplative prayer can look like, including spending some time in silent prayer and reflection on our experience together in the class.

**Kelly Langford is a stay-at-home mom of 4 elementary and middle school children, and a part-time hospital chaplain at UW Medical Center. She is currently very grateful to be rediscovering contemplative prayer and even manages to practice it despite this unique and full season of life. She is finding it necessary to her survival moreso than she ever realized, and is excited to walk alongside others who share an interest in deepening or exploring their prayer lives.

April 18 – Michael Paulus – “Recovering the Apocalyptic Imagination in the Book of Revelation”

The book of Revelation, often misread if read at all, is one of the strangest books in the Bible. It is also one of the most important books, revealing—with the end in view—how God is making all things new through Jesus Christ. Addressed to seven first-century churches, Revelation presents a vison of how these historical cities participate in a larger narrative about two spiritual cities. Both of these cities are present in the churches’ cities, but they have very different destinies: The deformed city of Babylon is falling as the transformed city of New Jerusalem is arriving. Revelation can help us see how our present cities participate in this same narrative, manifesting the evils of human empires as well as the greater glory and power of God’s kingdom.

**Michael Paulus is dean of the library, assistant provost for educational technology, and associate professor of information studies at Seattle Pacific University. He and his family have been involved at Bethany since moving back to Seattle in 2011. Michael recently completed a doctorate in theology and technology, with a dissertation exploring the apocalyptic imagination as a resource for thinking about the future of artificial intelligence.