IWS welcomes Dr. Christine Pohl for a June 13-14, 2016 seminar, during our summer on-campus intensive. This event is open to the public, but requires registration.

Christine D. Pohl (Ph.D. in Ethics and Society, Emory University) is Associate Provost and Professor of Christian Ethics at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. She has taught at Asbury for twenty-seven years in the area of Christian Ethics. Prior to teaching, she was active in ministry at the congregational level, in parachurch work, and in work with refugees.

Given her research and insightful perspectives, Dr. Pohl is in demand as a speaker nationally and internationally. Topics of expertise include recovering the practices of hospitality and community, ministry with the homeless, people with disabilities, and refugees.

Pohl’s major publications are Living into Community: Cultivating Practices that Sustain Us (2012); Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition (1999); Friendship at the Margins: Discovering Mutuality in Service and Mission, with Christopher L. Heuertz (2010), Living on the Boundaries: Evangelical Women, Feminism and the Theological Academy, with Nicola Hoggard Creegan (2005), and Responding to Refugees: Christian Reflections on a Global Crisis, with Ben Donley (2000).

Bookstore Spotlight
Preview Dr. Pohls’s books in the IWS Bookstore.

Register now online or by mail.

Seminar Description

Cultivating Community and Worship: Practices that Define and Sustain Us

Although contemporary followers of Jesus often say that we long for richer experiences of Christian community, we often struggle with the practices that build up and tear apart our common life. For a number of reasons, we have failed to cultivate the skills and practices that make community life good and sustainable. This seminar will explore four practices that are at the heart of community living and Christian worship, consider the characteristics of contemporary culture that undermine them, and explore ways in which we can strengthen these practices for worship and community.

Seminar Objectives

  • To examine the practices of gratitude, promising, living truthfully, and hospitality, and to understand their close connection to the character and practices of God.
  • To recognize ways in which these practices (and their deformations of grumbling/envy, betrayal, deception, and exclusion) are often at the heart of the strengths and difficulties in congregational and community life.
  • To build our capacity to identify and strengthen the role of these practices in undergirding relationships and in moving through communal disagreements.
  • To develop skills in recognizing and addressing the intersections of practices and their deformations in community life.

Seminar Schedule

Monday, June 13 Tuesday, June 14
7:30 am Breakfast 7:30 am Breakfast
8:30 am Chapel 8:30 am Chapel
9:15 am Seminar Session 1
Gratitude: The Heart of Worship, The Heartbeat of Community
9:15 am Seminar Session 5
Truthfulness:
Living and Loving the Truth
10:30 am Break 10:30 am Break
10:45 am Seminar Session 2
Addressing the Difficulties and Strengthening the Practice of Gratitude
10:45 am Seminar Session 6
Addressing the Difficulties and Strengthening the Practice of Truthfulness
12:00 pm Lunch (provided) 12:00 pm Lunch (provided)
1:00 pm Seminar Session 3
Fidelity: The Power and Importance of Making and Keeping Promises
1:00 pm Seminar Session 7
Hospitality:
The Grace and Challenge of Making Room
2:15 pm Break 2:15 pm Break
2:30 pm Seminar Session 4
Addressing the Difficulties and Strengthening the Practice of Promising
2:30 pm Seminar Session 8
Addressing the Difficulties and Strengthening the Practice of Hospitality
3:45 pm Free 3:45 pm Free
5:30 pm Dinner 5:30 pm Dinner
6:30 pm Practicum Presentations 6:30 pm Healing/Communion Service

Session Descriptions

DAY ONE

Session 1—
Gratitude: The Heart of Worship, The Heartbeat of Community

Karl Barth wrote that if the essence of God is grace, then the essence of human beings as God’s people is our gratitude. Gratitude belongs at the center of our worship and also at the center of our life together. Communities that practice gratitude are life-giving and beautiful, but the practice of gratitude is often overlooked or squeezed out by other concerns.

Session 2—
Addressing the Difficulties and Strengthening the Practice of Gratitude

Gratitude is important to community, but we often encounter its deformations in the forms of entitlement, envy, and grumbling or complaint. These are community killers. Gratitude is undermined in other ways as well, and it is crucial to be intentional about how we can strengthen the individual and corporate practice.

Session 3—
Fidelity: The Power and Importance of Making and Keeping Promises

When we make promises, we stabilize our commitments and make the future a little less uncertain. Communities are formed by promises and the covenantal nature of our worship and our life together depends on making and keeping promises.

Session 4—
Addressing the Difficulties and Strengthening the Practice of Promising

Despite the importance of promises and promising, many values and commitments in contemporary culture threaten the practice in church and in relationships more generally. Experiences of betrayal and broken promises in families, congregations, and communities are common and devastating. Strengthening fidelity and rebuilding community after betrayal are crucial.

DAY TWO

Session 5—
Truthfulness: Living and Loving the Truth

Choosing truthfulness in a culture of spin and exaggeration is difficult, and yet living and loving the truth are central to following Jesus. Learning to speak the truth in love is fundamental to building good communities and relationships, but often we struggle with the particular applications of this important practice.

Session 6—
Addressing the Difficulties and Strengthening the Practice of Truthfulness

Recognizing that living truthfully and speaking the truth in love require wisdom, discernment, and the other practices, we will explore ways to strengthen the practice and to address the dangers and consequences of deception, dishonesty, and hypocrisy in community.

Session 7—
Hospitality: The Grace and Challenge of Making Room

Paul writes in Romans to “welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you.” Hospitality is a practice that builds community and also expands it. Appreciating the importance of hospitality requires that we also take seriously the challenges that arise in welcoming people. We simultaneously seek to offer hospitality and to maintain a valued identity, cultivate community, and deal with limited resources.

Session 8—
Addressing the Difficulties and Strengthening the Practice of Hospitality

In a culture of fear and overwhelming busy-ness, calls to practice hospitality can seem risky and overwhelming. Closing the door can seem safer and more practical. But the Gospel opens outward, and learning to use the other practices in negotiating some of the difficulties can open up new ways of dealing with the challenges that arise in offering welcome.

Make it a Spiritual Retreat

You are welcome to craft your own schedule to incorporate additional time on campus to take in chapel sessions, visit classes, read and research in the library, or spend time alone with God. You may plan to come early and stay longer if you’d like. Let us know how we can help.

Ancient-Future Faith Network logoWe have the privilege of hosting the Ancient-Future Faith Network  Fifth Annual Convocation at IWS, June 15-16, immediately following the seminar. Speakers will include Dr. Carla Waterman and several IWS alumni. You are encouraged to include this inspiring event in your plans. Click here for details.

Registration

Cost: $175 ($25 early registration discount applied before May 1)
Includes lunch on Monday and Tuesday

Register now online or by mail.