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Discovering the Church Again for the First Time

Discovering the Church Again for the First Time
- A Seminar Series For Those Considering Membership in Holy Cross' Mission and Ministry -

I know, the title sounds like something Yogi Berra might say. A famous saying of his is that the future ain't what it used to be. Truth be told, neither is the church.

Whether you grew up in the church, grew out of or away from the church, or are truly coming to an understanding of the church for the first time, each of us finds common ground in our search or discovery of church. I avoid saying "the church" on purpose, fearing that such language continues a legacy of understanding where the church was a monolithic expression of God's vision for the world. History does not always tell a positive story about "the" church. In fact, because "the" church has often preferred to understand itself in isolationist terms, sequestered by a misguided notion of divine approval and sanction, it has exacted untold damage across the planet for centuries. In light of this history, it might be enough for some if the church were to now understand itself in a "corrective" position, seeking to re-imagine a "better" way of being "the" church. I would argue that not only is such an approach insufficient, it is simply more of the same thinking; the same thinking that led the church down a treacherous road to begin with.

Instead, we need to experience a conversion. It is a conversion of heart, mind, soul, and body. This conversion is not a return to some golden past; it is not a realization of things as they "really and truly" are; it is also not the false embrace of God's future, where we are still "unconverted" people using "converted" language.

The conversion of the heart, mind, soul, and body is a death and resurrection experience. It is the ultimate relinquishment of our right to put our stamp on God's vision for the world, even as God works in, with, through, and for us to bring about God's vision. It is the unashamed, unapologetic posture before God that seeks to listen and follow the voice of Jesus, and the willingness to do so even at great personal cost to us, our family, and our friends.

For the purposes of living the converted life, Discovering the Church Again for the First Time, consists of six (6) seminars, a New Members/Owners breakfast, and a Worship Gathering Celebration. Below is a schedule of the Fall 2011 offering of the classes.

Dinner will be served from 6:00 - 6:30 pm each evening. The seminar begins at 6:30 pm and concludes promptly at 8:00 pm.

Free, quality, onsite childcare is provided by a childcare professional from Holy Cross Lutheran School.

Seminar 1: "Welcome to the Church of the 21st Century"
Synopsis: A lot has changed since the birth of Christ. More than 2000 years have come and gone, but what is it exactly that's different about today? What does it mean to qualify "Christian" with "21st century"? Has anything been lost? Gained? Is it too early to tell? These are just some of the questions we'll be exploring in our first session.

Seminar 2: "The Church as Witness to the Resurrection"
Synopsis: The "empty tomb" is necessarily unavoidable for the follower of Jesus. We will explore what it means to be "empty tomb" people, noting the many ways in which our words and actions point to the game-changing reality that Christ is Risen. We'll explore, in essence, what Wendell Berry called "practicing resurrection."

Seminar 3: "The Cross Meets the 21st Century"
Synopsis: Where session one focuses on the changes that have occurred in the last 2000 years, and their impact on the church, this session will explore the myriad ways that the cross of the crucified Christ is still relevant, and impacting our lives and the world around us. Followers of Jesus are shaped by two fundamental images: the cross of Christ and the empty tomb. We'll explore the former for this session.

Seminar 4: "Sealed and Marked"
Synopsis: In this session we'll explore what it means to be sealed and marked in the waters of baptism. We'll explore what baptism has to say about being commissioned to love as Jesus loved and to go where Jesus goes.

Seminar 5: "Worship as Essential Witness"
Synopsis: In session 5 we will consider the implications of worship in terms of our formation as people of God. We will explore where worship fits into the larger plan of mission and ministry at Holy Cross, and why regular worship is so vital to both our community and to each person as individuals.

Seminar 6: "The Converted Church"
Synopsis: In this last Wednesday evening session we will consider what it means to be the Converted Church. We'll explore the dialectic between personal and social transformation, and how one informs and impacts the other.

Seminar 7: "New Owners Social and Gathering and Life Together as Holy Cross"
Synopsis: This will be a time for us to bring to bear all that we have discussed in the previous seminars, and seek to answer the questions: Now what? Why does this matter? What does it mean going forward to be a part of the community of faith known as Holy Cross? Where is my place? What is God calling me to? How do I begin to find God's voice in my voice? These are just a few of the questions we will seek to answer at this social and gathering.

Worship and Covenant
During worship we will ask you to make a covenant with God, with one another, your sisters and brothers at Holy Cross, and yourself, to strive to live the converted life. You will be welcomed into a family that, because it is bound by the waters of baptism and the promises of God, is thicker than blood, extends beyond familial boundaries, and understands itself as a movement rather than an institution. You will be welcomed into a community that is more interested in supporting you in your quest to hear and see God's leading in your life than in your service to preserve an institution. Finally, you will be welcomed into a community that so desires your presence that it will look to your needs before its own.

Welcome! We are Holy Cross Lutheran Church.

Questions/concerns/comments? Contact Pastor John Bost, Seminar Leader, at 925.447.8840 or click HERE to email.