The Conversation

Fall 2017 – Happiness, Don Knuth, Luther

Sunday Adult Forums, 9:15-10:15 in the Library: we dig deep with an open spirit into theology, scripture, societal issues, wisdom for living.   The childcare center is open downstairs during this time.  Grab a cup of coffee on the way in, if you like, and join us!

“For Van Gogh, oleanders were joyous, life-affirming flowers that bloomed “inexhaustibly” and were always “putting out strong new shoots.” In this painting of August 1888 the flowers fill a majolica jug that the artist used for other still lifes made in Arles. They are symbolically juxtaposed with Émile Zola’s La joie de vivre, a novel that Van Gogh had placed in contrast to an open Bible in a Nuenen still life of 1885.” – Caption at the Met

Aren’t we all trying to be happy?  Or does that word “happiness” sound like something superficial?  Self-centered, in a world which needs our attention and love?  Should people of faith be happy in this life?

Other topics this Fall include Don Knuth’s new composition for organ, Lutheran and Catholic approaches to scripture.

Forum schedule – check the website and bulletin for updates:

September 10 – no forum, rally day intergenerational event.

September 17 and 24 – Mark Bertelsen and Pastor Bernt on happiness and joy in the Bible, Christian spiritual / theological traditions and American culture.

October 1 – Holly Pearson, “The Book of Joy.” In their 2016 book, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu address the question of how to find joy in the face of life’s inevitable suffering. Although the authors come from different faith traditions, they share joy practices and much more.”

October 8 – We’ll learn more about Theresa, who attends FLC and is an undergraduate at Stanford.

October 15 – Don Knuth will give us an update on his composition Fantasia Apocalyptica, which will be premiered this January in Sweden.  “Fantasia Apocalyptica is a multimedia work for pipe organ, accompanied by several video tracks. It can be regarded as a somewhat literal translation of the Biblical book of Revelation into music,” says Knuth – you can learn more about it here and more about the premiere here.

October 22 – starting at around 9:30am, Jon Dechow leads the following discussion: “Ecumenical Aspects of Luther’s Interpretation of the Bible (as addressed in current Catholic/Lutheran dialogue).” Topics include: the Catholic/Lutheran dialogues and the rapprochement over “two biblical faiths” or two compatible “languages of faith”; treating also such questions as: What did Luther know about Judaism and “Christianity” in Rome in the 50s of the first century when the apostle Paul’s Galatians and Romans were written?  Does the NT Letter of James include an intentional polemic against the writings of Paul? ).” If you like, pick up a copy of Dechow’s article, “Origen’s Shadow over the Erasmus/Luther Debate, p.1” ahead of time – available now on the piano in the library – which he will make reference to in the discussion. (Part 2 to be distributed at the forum).

October 29 – On this Reformation Sunday and 500 year anniversary, Susan Scott will be leading a fun inter-generational “jeopardy” activity involving both children and adults – meet in the fellowship hall.

November 5 – Jon Dechow leads the second part of his discussion, “Ecumenical Aspects of Luther’s Interpretation of the Bible (as addressed in current Catholic/Lutheran dialogue).”

November 12 – taking up again the topic of happiness, Mark Bertelsen and Nick Larsen lead us in discussion of a recent TED talk: “Doesn’t everyone deserve a chance at a good life?”

Future dates include the opportunity for FLC members of all ages to share their struggles and questions about joy and happiness, a Ted Talks video entitled “Doesn’t everyone deserve a chance at a good life?”   We’re hoping to move into discussions of the theological side of nobel laureate Bob Dylan and other songwriters.