Pathways

This year at CUMC adults will explore their personal spiritual journey and relationship with God. We began in the fall using the Bible and Animate Faith lessons from Sparkhouse. We then participated in a 4-week Advent Study called Not a Silent Night by Adam Hamilton. In January we begin using the Bible and Animate Bible lessons from Sparkhouse. While each person's discernment and journaling process will be individual, all are invited, if you choose, to share your reflections, experiences and questions in gatherings or in a Facebook group.

Our spiritual journey is not linear but circular, as we experience God in new ways throughout our lives. Some have been practicing their Christian faith for years, some are just beginning their journey, some are experiencing doubt or distance, and some feel as if they are beginning anew after life transitions. The key to spiritual growth is intentionality. As your pastor I ask each of you to set aside time during your week for this study and reflection.

All Bible readings, videos and journal pages are posted below. There are 3 opportunities to participate in Pathways groups:

 ·         Thursday afternoons, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm (bring a sack lunch if you like)

·         Thursday evenings, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm 

·         As your schedule allows, on Facebook. Go to the church’s Facebook page and request to join the Group called Pathways.

Please note that our Pathways group will not meet on Thursday, June 1.

Pathways Animate Practice Week 4 (June 8) - Sacraments: A Tapestry of Traditions

Rev. Leigh suggests these Bible readings: Exodus 12:21-28; Matthew 26:26-30; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, Matthew 3

Print the journal pages that correspond with this lesson here. The pages print best in landscape orientation.

This video features Phyllis Tickle, an Episcopalian lay member who was an American author and lecturer on spirituality and religion issues. After serving as a teacher, professor, and academic dean, Tickle entered the publishing industry. She was the founding editor of the religion department at Publishers Weekly, before becoming a popular writer. Phyllis Tickle died in September of 2015 at age 81. In this video she asks us to revisit the ancient meaning of the sacraments and consider what we are really up to as we take part in these practices.

Pathways Animate Practice Week 3 (May 25) - Worship: Seeking God's Presence

Rev. Leigh suggests these Bible readings: Isaiah 29:13-24; Psalm 100; John 4:4-26; Romans 12:1-2

Print the journal pages that correspond with this lesson here. The pages print best in landscape orientation.

Our video features Mike Slaughter, pastor of Ginghamsburg Church near Dayton, Ohio, and popular author of books on church leadership. Throughout the history of the faith, worship has taken all kinds of forms, from singing and dancing, to small groups gathering to pray and eat, to monastics centering their lives completely on God. The Apostle Paul even talks about caring for our bodies as an act of worship. It is important to print the journal (or you can pick on up in church) for this session, as there are exercises to do throughout the week.

Pathways Animate Practice Week 2 (May 11 & May 18) - Food: Eating with Jesus

Rev. Leigh suggests these Bible readings: Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14:3-21; Ecclesiastes 3:9-14; Mark 7:18-23; Acts 10:1-15

Print the journal pages that correspond with this lesson here. The pages print best in landscape orientation.

Our video features Sara Miles, who is the founder and director of The Food Pantry, and serves as Director of Ministry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco, California. She is also the author of City of God and Jesus Freak. Sara believes that French fries can be as holy as organic kale when they are shared in acts of love and fellowship. This point can get lost in our conversations about the "right" kind of food.

Pathways Animate Practice Week 1 - Prayer: Oriented Toward God

Rev. Leigh suggests these Bible readings: Matthew 6:5-14; Matthew 7:7-11; Psalm 17:1-6; James 4:1-3

Print the journal pages that correspond with this lesson here. The pages print best on legal paper, in landscape orientation.

Our first video features the contemporary author and theologian Brian McLaren, who offers four steps to developing a more meaningful prayer life. What role does prayer play in your life? What role would you like it to play? Who is prayer for?

Wondrous Encounters by Richard Rohr, Holy Week (to be discussed on Thurs. April 20)

Monday of Holy Week (John 12. 1-12) In the Gospel of John, we read the story of Mary of Bethany demonstrating a deeper understanding of the purpose and destiny of Jesus than any of his male Disciples can comprehend as she anoints his feet with expensive nard. This is a ritual that prophesies his inevitable death and burial and was an act of extravagance. What is the most extravagant action you can take in the name of Jesus?

Tuesday of Holy Week (John 13. 21-33, 36-38) Jesus addresses two of his Disciples, Judas and Peter, both of whom are about to betray him in varying degrees. Rohr does not condemn either of them, just as Jesus did not, and says, “The more love and hope you have invested in another person, the deeper the pain of betrayal is.” Have you ever been so disenchanted or disappointed in a dear friend that the thought of betrayal has entered your mind? How does it make you feel?

Wednesday of Holy Week (Matthew 26. 14-25) In considering the question of how much did Jesus know about his own destiny, Rohr says, “His victory is a dramatic reliance upon God, a mammoth leap of faith, not a Superman stunt by a man who knows the full outcome ahead of time.” Do you agree with the author? How much do you think Jesus could foretell about the upcoming events of Holy Week?

Thursday of Holy Week (Holy Thursday) (John 13. 1-15) In discussing the ritual of foot-washing as Jesus humbles himself before his followers, the author says, “Jesus makes the movement to the human and personal quite concrete.” How important is ritual in your life? What traditional practice of the Christian religion means the most to you?

Friday of Holy Week (Good Friday) (John 18.1 - 19.42) Reflecting on the events of Good Friday, Rohr says, “Jesus dies for us not in the sense of in place of us, but rather in solidarity with us.” He calls the cross event an act that transforms our very soul. Can you clear your mind this Good Friday and sit in silence for a few minutes considering the state of your soul in relationship to your understanding of Jesus’ death on the cross?

Saturday of Holy Week (Luke 24. 1-12) Rohr titles this last Holy Week reflection Liminal Space. This is a term referring to pausing at the threshold of significant events in our lives. Saturday always was and is the Holy Day in the Jewish tradition. Even Jesus in his death rested in the tomb awaiting God’s next movement in the eternal plan. Rohr eloquently states, “Remember, hope is not some vague belief that ‘all will work out well,’ but biblical hope is the certainty that things finally have a victorious meaning no matter how they turn out.” How do you define hope in this church?

Wondrous Encounters by Richard Rohr, Palm Sunday (to be discussed on Thurs. April 13)

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a slave, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Creator.

1.       Rohr’s title for this lesson is Waxing and Waning. Waxing means growing larger; waning is getting smaller. These terms are often applied to the phases of the moon, that humble sphere that can only reflect the light of the center of our solar system. In reference to this humility, Rohr says, “Trust in the down, and God will take care of the up.” What do you think he means by this (in reference to Jesus and in reference to us)?

2.       Rohr discusses Jesus as representing God’s total solidarity with humankind and God’s love of the human situation as if to say, “Nothing human is abhorrent to me.” How should this affect our own attitude about our constantly trying to achieve lofty goals and prove ourselves before God and other people? What do you think God wants of us?

3.       If nothing human is abhorrent to God, is there anything human that should be abhorrent to us?

4.       Rohr talks about the two halves of life with life’s fulfillment or death being the goal of the second half. He quotes C.G. Jung, saying, “The negation of life’s fulfillment is synonymous with the refusal to accept its ending. Both mean not wanting to live, and not wanting to live is identical with not wanting to die.” How can refusing to acknowledge the inevitability of death influence the way we live?

5.       In discussing human solidarity with the life cycle, Rohr says it also allows solidarity with one another, “with no need to create success stories for [ourselves] or to create failure stories for others. Humanity in Jesus is freedom to be human and soulful….” Why do we feel the necessity to tear others down in order to build ourselves up? How can Rohr’s definition of the “big picture” of our lives change this tendency?

6.       In the Tuesday reading, Rohr discusses Jesus being our spiritual vaccination, the “healing icon of love to all of history.” Vaccinations are never painless or comfortable. What does this imply to a follower of Jesus?

7.       In the reflection on Thursday, Rohr says that though the inspiration always comes from God, our relationship with the Creator must be bi-lateral to work. What does he mean by that?

8.       In the Friday reading, Jesus boldly quotes the Psalm that proclaims, “We are all gods!” He explains that just as he is one with the Creator, so can we be. How does this make you feel as a spiritual being? How can you truly believe what Jesus has promised us?

Wondrous Encounters by Richard Rohr, Lent 5 (to be discussed on Thurs. April 6)

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

1.       Light and darkness are used as metaphors for life and death, but in reality, light and dark do not always mean life and death. Would you consider yourself to be a day person or a night person?

2.       The Gospel writer makes sure the Lazarus miracle is placed just before Jesus makes his final journey to Jerusalem to eventually face his own death. How have your own experiences with the deaths of friends and loved ones shaped your own views of death?

3.       The stone in the story is the symbol of our fear of death, the obstruction of denial we place between ourselves and those things that we fear the most. What stones in our lives need to be rolled away? What fears need to be faced and conquered?

4.       In instructing the onlookers to “roll away the stone,” Jesus is inviting them to join him in making the resurrection happen. How can we follow Christ’s teachings to create a culture of life and resurrection today?

5.       In the Monday reading, the author points out that the vast majority of Jesus’ healings were of people their society excluded, the ones who were considered the least worthy. What drives so many people who profess to follow Jesus and yet continually exclude specific persons from their churches?

6.       Tuesday’s reading talks about the “regressive restoration of the old persona” that often happens when we risk renewal in our lives. Rohr says, “We go back to nostalgia for the past and victimhood for the future in lieu of courage or guidance.” From what transformation do you hold yourself back? Do you want to be healed? From what transformation do we hold back as a church? Do we want to be healed?

7.       In the Saturday reading, Rohr observes that the fundamentalist religious thinker wants to believe that all controversies can be resolved by an appeal to an authority, deferring to a higher power who can remove all personal responsibility. Why is this an attractive option to so many people? What is so frightening to us about the decision to take charge of our own lives?

Wondrous Encounters by Richard Rohr, Lent 4 (to be discussed on Thurs. March 30)

John 9:24-27: 24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.” 25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” 26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

1. The author’s title for this lesson is “Light is About Seeing Correctly.” The theme is being able to recognize the truth. He says, “Because humans cannot see their own truth very well, they do not read reality very well either.” Do you see any difference between truth and reality? Do you know people who take liberties in defining both?

2. As imperfect beings, each of us has “blind spots.” Can you think of any people or groups who seem to have difficulty seeing beyond their narrow point of view? Can you look within and find one of your blind spots? Would you have the courage to ask another?

3. Rohr quotes Gregory of Nycea who said, “Sin is always a refusal to grow.” Faith formation among adult Christians is declining, at least in the mainline churches. Do you think it is because we feel we have all the answers? Or do we feel no compelling need to grow, assuming God’s grace? Or are we lazy? Or overwhelmed by lesser choices?

4. In the Monday reading, the author explores “groupishness,” asking, “Why is my group always better than your group?” Have you ever thought God was exclusively on your side, supporting only your team or organization?

5. In the Tuesday reflection, Rohr wisely observes that “…refusal to forgive actually destroys and imprisons the one who refuses.” Is forgiveness ever a problem in your life? What has helped you to overcome a difficulty to forgive and move on?

6. In the Wednesday reading, the author observes, “Great things cannot fall into your lap immediately or they would not be great things.” In our dreams for the church or in your own dreams, can you relate times when you experienced impatience, wanting your dream to come true “right now?” How have you handled those feelings? What brings you peace?

7. In the Thursday reading, we observe the truth that individuals or groups have their own specific definitions of what is evil. In Haiti, when the people were under slavery, they turned to their voodoo faith, and were able to gain their liberation. Many evangelicals blame this embracing of voodoo as a “pact with the devil.” Where do you see the devil in this story?

8. In the Friday reading, Rohr analyses Jesus Great Commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” In your own interpretation and understanding, are these two separate commandments or only one?

Wondrous Encounters by Richard Rohr, Lent 3 (to be discussed on Thurs. March 23)

John 4:7-19: When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a]) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” 16He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 17 “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” 19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” 25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

1.       The conversation Jesus has with the Samaritan Woman at the Well is the longest dialogue in the NT. Jesus is teaching her (and us) a great deal about breaking with old traditions and adapting new ways of thinking. What old tradition in your life has been most difficult to leave behind?

2.       Jesus’ publically conversing with this foreign woman who followed another faith system was scandalous to his disciples on many levels. Can you think of a time in your past when you would not have wanted to be seen in public talking to “certain people?” How about now?

3.       Jesus makes it obvious in this conversation that the dogmatic claims of various conflicting faith systems are of no interest to God. Why do many of us today feel it necessary to identify with and spread specific doctrines?

4.       In the Monday reading, once again the idea of reaping what you sow (or “karma”) is introduced? Read the scripture in more than one translation and note the different words that are used. What is your interpretation? Where is Grace found in this scripture?

5.       In the Wednesday reading, Rohr discusses the fact that people who constantly avoid changing themselves often set out on a destructive path to change the world. Can you think of some examples of that in today’s society?

6.       In the Thursday reading, Rohr references the Rich Man and Lazarus story, observing the tendency of the extraordinarily wealthy to be completely oblivious to the sufferings of the profoundly poor. How does each of us reflect that tendency in the way we live our lives?

Wondrous Encounters by Richard Rohr, Lent 2 (to be discussed on Thurs. March 16)

Luke 9: 32-34 ”Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.) While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.” 

1. The author’s title for this lesson is “The Third Something.” He is referring to the mystical images of the Old Testament figures, Moses (who represented the strictness of the Law) and Elijah (who represented the future visions of the Prophets) with Jesus appearing as the third entity who completes the vision. When Jesus appears, why do you think the other two fade away?

 2. In the color spectrum in art and video design, white is the inclusion of everything, all colors combined. This light spectrum was also understood in the first century. Jesus appears in dazzling white here. Peter and his companions experienced a “holy moment” when they were exposed to this vision. Peter expressed emotions that were both joyful and inadequate. When do you feel as if you have been chosen to witness or be a part of great things? Have you felt ready or lacking when these revelations have happened?

 3.  The author says that this sort of experience needs to happen only once and that we can never predict it or program it, but that we should expect it. Do you think you have had your mountaintop experience yet, or is it still to come?

 4.  When do you feel great beyond belief and when do you feel like just another dot in the Universe?

 5.  In Monday’s reading, the author refers to the love of Jesus being beyond all boundaries, for “those who did not make it, those who do not fit in, the outsider, the criminal, the vulnerable and the weak.” Which of these, your neighbors, have you had the most difficulty loving?

 6.  In Wednesday’s reading, the author says that “the spiritual journey is more like giving up control than taking control.” Can you think of a time when this was true in your life?

 7.  In Friday’s reading, the author gives respect to the eastern notion of “karma” and parallels it with biblical teachings about the same kind of “reward and punishment” situations. Can you tell a story from your life that centered on “what goes around, comes around?”

 8.  In Saturday’s reading, Rohr makes observances about Jesus’ most difficult Commandment: “love your enemy.” What is a practical way in today’s world to actually follow this commandment?

Wondrous Encounters by Richard Rohr, Lent 1 (to be discussed on Thurs. March 9)

Mark 1:12-13: “The Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness where he stayed for forty days. There he was put to the test by Satan. He was with the wild beasts, yet angels ministered to him.”

1. What (if any) are the things in your life that are good in moderation or in the right context, but that you sometimes abuse? To give you more insight into your own temptations, print the brief Enneagram sample test here, complete it, and bring it with you on Thursday.

2. The story tells of Jesus being tempted by Satan in one of the rare times the entity is mentioned. Who or what is Satan to you?

3. Rohr interprets the temptations as the misuse of power for purposes less than God’s purpose. List some examples of some of your ideas of the modern misuse of his three divisions of power: a. Practical everyday power b. Religious power c. Political power

4. In facing our own wild beasts and demons, what, if anything, can we learn from Jesus’s example?

5. In the Friday reading, Rohr writes about punishing our bodies as a way to avoid touching our purse, our calendar or our prejudices. What are some examples of fasting we can practice during Lent which change our lifestyles rather than just punishing our bodies? From which of these practices could you most benefit?

6. In his Ash Wednesday reflection, Rohr states, “New beginnings invariably come from old false things that are allowed to die.” What things must our congregation allow to die, in order that we might experience a new beginning?

Pathways Animate Bible Week 7 (Feb 23) - Grace: Love Is the Bottom Line

Rev. Leigh suggests these Bible readings: John 3:16-21; Deuteronomy 20:1-20; Mark 7:25-30; Galatians 3:26-29; 1 Corinthians 13.

Print the journal pages that correspond with this lesson here. The pages print best in landscape orientation.

This video features Jay Bakker, a preacher, speaker, writer and church-planter. Jay is the son of 1980s televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. The Bakkers' ministry ended in scandal, leaving Jay, a teenager at the time, to witness the backlash against his parents. That experience led Jay to forsake his faith for a time. A turning point came when he broke through the messages he had heard about the Bible, many of them destructive, and looked into the Bible for himself. Do you know people who might resonate with Jay's experience of being pushed away by the church? What keeps them from embracing faith?

Pathways Animate Bible Week 6 (Feb 16) - Interpretation: Scripture Reads Us

Rev. Leigh suggests these Bible readings: Luke 10:38-42; Luke 15:11-32; Deuteronomy 5:4-21; Colossians 3:18 - 4:1; Matthew 20:1-16.

Print the journal pages that correspond with this lesson here. The pages print best in landscape orientation.

This video features Will Willimon, well-known Biblical scholar and Professor at Duke Divinity School. He is also former Bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church, former Dean of Duke Chapel, and author of many books and Biblical commentaries. "The Bible is often bafflingly complex and mysterious," he says. To understand, we must dig deeper. Context, source, genre - all change the meaning of the text. Interpreting the Bible is a lifelong endeavor. Does that excite you or scare you away?

Pathways Animate Bible Week 5 (Feb 2) - Genre: Rhythm of the Text

Rev. Leigh suggests these Bible readings: Genesis 11:1-9; 1 Kings 6:2-10; Jonah (Book of); Psalm 40:1-3; Amos 9; 1 Corinthians 1:1-17; Revelation 5.

Print the journal pages that correspond with this lesson here. The pages print best in landscape orientation.

This video features Jose Morales, who is Executive Regional Director of the Central Rocky Mountain Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He is also a DJ who spins house and techno music at a club in Denver. The Bible is filled with different writing styles (genres): myth/allegory; legalistic; poetry; proverbs; stories; letters; and apocalyptic, among others. Just as we are drawn to different styles of music, we are drawn to different writing styles. Which genres are you drawn to in the Bible? Which to you struggle with? How does knowing the genre change the meaning of the text?

Pathways Animate Bible Week 4 (Jan 26) - Gospels: The Unexpected Good News

Rev. Leigh suggests these Bible readings: Matthew 1:1-17; John 1:1-5; Mark 16; John 4:4-26; Luke 19:1-10; Matthew 5:43-43; John 8:1-11. What are the stories in the Gospel that speak most to you of Good News?

Print the journal pages that correspond with this lesson here. The pages print best in landscape orientation.

This video again features Nadia Bolz-Weber, who is ordained ELCA (Lutheran) clergy and the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. She is a bestseller author, including the New York Times bestseller Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People (Convergent, 2015). A former stand-up comedian turned pastor, perhaps she is best known for her sleeve tattoos, her tendency to swear, and her ability to see God in the people and places that others might miss. In the video, she offers her take on the message of the Gospels, and suggests that we consider our expectations of "Good News".

Pathways Animate Bible Week 3 (Jan 19) - Testaments: One Story, Two Parts

Rev. Leigh suggests these Bible readings: Genesis 6:1-17; Genesis 8; Genesis 9:18-27; Exodus 16:1-16; Matthew 1:17-23; Matthew 4:1-11; Romans 3:9-20. What do these passages tell us about God? What do they tell us about the way we should approach the Old Testament?

Print the journal pages that correspond with this lesson here. The pages print best in landscape orientation.

This video features Rachel Held-Evans, an Episcopalian lay member, popular author and blogger. Her most recent book A year of Biblical Womanhood, is a New York Times bestseller. In the video, she suggests that God's love and grace are threads throughout the Old Testament, even in the midst of dark and violent stories. How can this idea give us hope in the midst of the darkness and violence of our time?

Pathways Animate Bible Week 2 (Jan 12) - History: From Parchment to Pixel

Rev. Leigh suggests these Bible readings: John 1:1-5; 1 John 5:1-12; a favorite Bible passage of your choice. Please read each in at least 3 different Bible translations. You can find many translations online at www.biblegateway.com/versions/ - use the search engine at the top. Bring your translations to class if possible.

Print the journal pages that correspond with this lesson here. The pages print best in landscape orientation.

This video features Phyllis Tickle, an Episcopalian lay member who was an American author and lecturer on spirituality and religion issues. After serving as a teacher, professor, and academic dean, Tickle entered the publishing industry. She was the founding editor of the religion department at Publishers Weekly, before becoming a popular writer. Phyllis Tickle died in September of 2015 at age 81. In the video, she spoke of the Bible's accessibility throughout the history of Christianity, and how the Bible's meaning in our lives may be affected by that access. Seismic changes came with the invention of the printing press, and with the internet. How does the Bible fit into your spiritual life and belief? 

Pathways Animate Bible Week 1 (Jan 5) - Canon: Mining for the Word

Rev. Leigh suggests these Bible readings: Exodus 4:24-26 (read first); Exodus 4 entire chapter; 2 Timothy 2; Genesis 1; John 1:1-18

Print the journal pages that correspond with this lesson here. The pages print best in landscape orientation.

The first video of this series features Eric Elnes (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary), a pastor, speaker, and media host. He is the author of The Phoenix Affirmations: A New Vision for the Future of Christianity and Asphalt Jesus: Finding a New Christian Faith on the Highways of America. His interactive weekly webcast Darkwood Brew has gathered people from around the world for an engaging exploration of Convergence Christianity. In the video, he says that a literal interpretation of the Bible actually weakens the power of the Bible rather than strengthening it. He describes a process of canonization that is far messier, subjective, and ongoing that we might imagine.

Pathways Animate Faith Week 7 - Church: An Imperfect Family

Rev. Leigh suggests these Bible readings: Luke 15:11-32; Acts 2:42-47; Romans 12:9-17; Matthew 12:49-50

Print the journal pages that correspond with this lesson here. The pages print best on legal paper, in landscape orientation.

Our seventh video features Bruce Reyes-Chow, an American Teaching Elder of the Presbyterian Church. He confesses the thought we all have had at times - it can be hard to get up on Sunday mornings! And yet, church is where we nurture our spiritual health and grow to become the person we are meant to be. What could be more important? Reyes-Chow compares the church to a family that changes us - at times dysfunctional, but ultimately beautiful. 

Pathways Animate Faith Week 6 - Bible: A Book Like No Other

Rev. Leigh suggests these Bible readings: Hebrews 8 (which references Jeremiah 31:31-34); Isaiah 40:8-9; Hebrews 4:11-16; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; Matthew 13:1-23

Print the journal pages that correspond with this lesson here. The pages print best on legal paper, in landscape orientation.

Our sixth video features Lauren Winner, historian, author and Assistant Professor of Christian Spirituality at Duke Divinity School, where she writes and lectures on Christian practice, the history of Christianity in America, and Jewish–Christian relations. Dr. Winner was born to a Jewish father and a Southern Baptist mother, and was raised Jewish. She converted to Orthodox Judaism in her freshman year at Columbia University, and then to Christianity while doing her master's degree at Cambridge University. She is an ordained Episcopal priest. In the video Dr. Winner focuses on questions of Biblical relevance: Is the Bible worth reading over and over? Is it crazy for me to hope that through years of rereading this Bible I might one day get to see a bluer sky?

Pathways Animate Faith Week 5 - Salvation: Abundant Life Now

Rev. Leigh suggests these Bible readings (don't panic - they are very short!): Exodus 15:2; 2 Chronicles 6:41; Psalm 27:1; Matthew 11:28-30; Mark 8:34-38; Luke 1:67-79; Luke 19:1-11; John 3:16-21; Acts 13:44-52; Romans 1:16-17

Print the journal pages that correspond with this lesson here. The pages print best on legal paper, in landscape orientation.

Our fifth video features Shane Hipps, pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Mennonite, and former advertising executive whose accounts included Guinness and Porsche. He is also an author whose books include Cats Don't Bark: A Guide to Knowing Who You Are, Accepting Who You Are Not, and Living Your Unique Purpose (Center Street, 2015). In our last session we focused on the cross - just exactly what happened on the cross? How does salvation or reconciliation to God work? In this week we explore more about salvation itself - what is it, when is it and where is it?

Pathways Animate Faith Week 4 - Cross: Where God Is

Rev. Leigh suggests these Bible readings: Mark 8:27-38; John 1:1-18; John 3:10-21; Philippians 2:1-11

Print the journal pages that correspond with this lesson here. The pages print best on legal paper, in landscape orientation.

Our fourth video features Nadia Bolz-Weber, who is ordained ELCA (Lutheran) clergy and the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. She is a bestseller author, including the New York Times bestseller Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People (Convergent, 2015). A former stand-up comedian turned pastor, perhaps she is best known for her sleeve tattoos, her tendency to swear, and her ability to see God in the people and places that others might miss. In this video, she offers her perspective on the cross and how we might make sense of the crucifixion of Jesus.

Pathways Animate Faith Week 3 - Jesus: The Revolution of Love

Rev. Leigh suggests these Bible readings: Matthew 18:21-35; Matthew 5:43-48; Luke 10:25-37; Matthew 25:31-40; James 1:19-27; James 2:14-26; James 3:4-10

Print the journal pages that correspond with this lesson here. The pages print best on legal paper, in landscape orientation.

Our third video features Mark Scandrette, Christian author and speaker, and founding director of ReIMAGINE: A Center for Integral Christian Practice, based in San Francisco. Fearing that his sermons were not making an impact, he began to focus on Christianity as a practice rather than a belief system. His focus is not only on What would Jesus do? but How do we follow the Jesus way of life?

Pathways Animate Faith Week 2 - Religion: Spirituality is Not Enough

Rev. Leigh suggests these Bible readings: Matthew 23:1-28; Acts 2:42-47; Romans 12 (The Message by Eugene Peterson has a great paraphrase of Romans 12 that you can read here); Hebrews 12:1-2 

Print the journal pages that correspond with this lesson here. The pages print best on legal paper, in landscape orientation.

Our second video features Lillian Daniel, author and pastor of First Congregational Church in Dubuque, Iowa. Rev. Daniel is author of Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don't Belong To: Spirituality Without Stereotypes, Religion Without Ranting. In the video she pushes back on the idea that it is possible to be spiritual but not religious, a claim made by a growing number of people who are not church-affiliated. What led you to the church? What intentional spiritual practices would you adhere to faithfully if you did not have the encouragement of other people of faith?

Pathways Animate Faith Week 1 - God: Faith is a Quest

Rev. Leigh suggests these Bible readings: Genesis 1; Genesis 2; Isaiah 49:13-16; Matthew 25:31-46; 1 John 4:7-16

Print the journal pages that correspond with this lesson here. The pages print best on legal paper, in landscape orientation.

Our first video features the contemporary author and theologian Brian McLaren, who speaks of embarking on a journey to God. Who is this God? What images form in your mind when you think about God?