Session Descriptions: The Bible and Spirituality

To read or not to read? It’s a question so many of us wrestle with as we seek to live faithfully in a world constantly in tumult. Despite the seemingly endless barrage of evidence to the contrary, we believe the Bible can be a tremendous resource for the life of faith and the work of justice. We hope you’ll join us for a weekend of delving into these topics and questions together. Click here for more information about the Fall Retreat and to register.

Session 1 | The Messiness of Scripture: Why Is Reading the Bible So Hard? (Pete Enns)

Based on his work as a biblical scholar, podcast host, and author of popular books on the Bible, Pete Enns will talk about why reading the Bible is so hard, why it has wreaked so much havoc in the world, and why it’s more important than ever to engage in deeper, better readings of the Bible.

Session 2 | The Bible and the Life of Faith: Rethinking Faith According to Life’s Evidence (Pete Enns)

How can we read the Bible in a way that acknowledges world tragedies, devastating personal losses, the incomprehensible vastness of the universe next to the fragility of our planet, and many other sobering realities of our world? Pete Enns will talk about his latest book, Curveball, his personal journey of faith, and some of the titanic questions he has wrestled with along the way. 

Session 3 | Reading the Bible with Jesus: How the New Testament Points Beyond the Old Testament (Jennifer Kaalund)

How did Jesus read the sacred texts of his religious tradition to confront the issues of his day? And what does a book from the ancient world have to say to our world today? By examining how the New Testament is inextricably linked with issues of politics, history, economics, and culture, we will learn how reading the scriptures can help navigate contemporary challenges like poverty, climate change, and systemic racism.

Session 4 | Spiritual Practice and Beauty: How the Bible Points Beyond Itself (Wendy Farley)

How can spiritual practice become a powerful ally in the work for justice? And how can we faithfully expand ‘spiritual practice’ to include more of life in the world? In this session we will talk about the practice of beauty, frequently found in the Bible, as a way of opening to the divine and to the sacred worth of all beings, to nourish the soul even as we delve deeper into the loveliness and heart-break of the world.

Session 5 | The Bible and the Future: Where Do We Go from Here? (Pete Enns)

What does an ancient book filled with mystery and contradictions have to do with our world today and where we’re headed tomorrow? How might the Bible speak to our longings and our world’s needs? We will grapple with reading the Bible in a chaotic, uncertain world.

Session 6 | The Bible as Source of Hope: Good News in Unlikely Places for a Hurting World (Peter Choi)

How do we shake the overwhelming sense that wrestling with a difficult book (or library of books) like the Bible is an exercise in futility? In a world of so many needs, is reading an ancient text a luxury most of us can ill afford? This session will introduce practical techniques and tools for reading the Bible as an act of resistance to deepen hope and further justice. 


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