What I Believe: Compare Eight Major World Religions and (Re)Construct Your Meaning Making System
A six-session class taught by Rev. Kelly Dignan
Three cohorts met in 2020. If you are interested in this program, email Kelly - firstname.lastname@example.org
This class is for you if you want to construct or reconstruct a personal theology (or meaning making system) and learn about the world's religions. Both help us get grounded, especially when we're living in what feels like ungrounded times. Each session begins with a time of meditation to help us get centered in our hearts and remember that while spiritual work involves the head, it eventually comes back to the heart.
Our primary text is God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World by religion scholar Stephen Prothero. He argues that persistent attempts to portray all religions as different paths to the same God overlook the distinct problem that each tradition seeks to solve. He offers a survey of Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Confucianism, Yoruba Religion, Taoism and Atheism and helps the reader become more religiously literate. You’ll be asked to buy the book or get it from the library. Kelly will provide chapter summaries.
The first four sessions will focus on the book and the major world religions. Kelly will offer insights into their mystical branches and include a section on indigenous spirituality. The sessions will consist of discussion, not lecture, and there will be questions to help us explore each religion more deeply. You will consider your own theology throughout the course using the western construct of a systematic theology (found below). The last two sessions will be devoted entirely to constructing your theology.
Traditionally, theology has to do with the study of God or divine things, but there is another definition as well: The study of the meanings, values, and convictions from which we live. We are all theologians. We can develop our own theologies (meaning-making systems), and we do it best with others in community. Plus, our theologies change over time, so having a group to ponder with is a beautiful thing. We will have a “covenant” in place to create a safe and brave space for conversation because it’s likely none of us will end up with exactly the same theology. If you are in the midst of a spiritual and theological shift, you may experience some heartache, so Kelly will offer spiritual support, and the group will hold you in love.
Please email Kelly to register, pay and receive the detailed course outline. email@example.com
"Kelly created an incredible “What I Believe” course. She’s steeped in faith knowledge and carefully guides each of us to clarify our own beliefs as well as deepen our daily practices. I highly recommend this course." Kim
"This is a fabulous class. You will love it!" Diane
Elements of a Systematic Theology
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