Presbyterians have always been a people of theological conversation. We have built it into our polity, gathering in councils to take counsel with one another. We gather in other settings to engage one another in theological conversation: small groups, Sunday School classes, lectionary study groups, support groups, and other settings. Theological conversation is central to our principles of governance: in the councils of this church those called to serve in leadership gather to reflect together, in order to discern what is faithful.
The Theological Conversations Series is a tool to help those seeking such theological conversation. It is particularly designed to help those serving in leadership to engage in theological reflection. Each conversation provides a reading that can be distributed in advance or read (silently or aloud) when a group gathers. The reading will explore a topic that invites conversation. There will also be a set of questions along with the reading, offering conversation starters.
Theological Conversation 5: “Polity Matters” by Charles Wiley, Coordinator of the Office of Theology & Worship. We both treasure and chafe at our polity. Ranging from theological reflection to practical wisdom, “Polity Matters” points us to the gospel of Jesus Christ that undergirds and shapes our polity, suggesting ways we can live our polity today better to serve as witnesses to the gospel.
Theological Conversation 4: “The Nations Will Bring Their Glory” by Kevin Park, associate dean for Advanced Professional Studies and assistant professor of Theology at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga.
Theological Conversation 3: “The Rivers Flow: Transformation, Leaders, Congregations” by Karen Russell, a Teaching Elder and Program Manager for the Company of New Pastors. Russell invites us to explore change and transformation, to imagine leadership - pastoral and congregational - through the lens of pilot and crew guiding a towboat and barges carried by river waters.
Theological Conversation 2: “Our ‘Presbyterian Virtues’” by Dean Thompson, a Teaching Elder, President and Professor of Ministry Emeritus, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Thompson reflects on distinctive characteristics of the Presbyterian way of being part of the church, inviting us to claim and ever better live our distinct identity.
Theological Conversation 1: “Mary, the Magnificat, and Race” by Cindy Cushman, a Teaching Elder, Interim Pastor of Chapel Hill United Church of Christ, and Coordinator of the Small Church Residency Program in the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Cushman reflects on Mary’s song of hope and change in the context of our nation’s on-going struggle with racism.
Read the Presbyterian News Service story about this new initiative.
Further Theological Conversations will be available on an occasional basis.