We will round out our spring dialogues with a thoughtful, serious and at times, just plain fun topic about the sacred relationships we carry between animals, creation and ourselves in the context of our faith traditions. The talk may span serious environmental issues all the way to why we love our furry pets so darn much. Bring pics of your fav animal in your life, or let’s face it...while you’re at it, bring your fav animal GIFS, too. ;)
Mon, May 8: Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation: This spring we have walked through textual interpretation, the awkward vulnerabilities of our faiths, and now we shall waltz into some somber, timely territory. We will gather to reflect on the difficult realities of navigating our faith traditions and our beliefs, experiences and communities - including our interreligious one! - when it comes to learning about/reconciling our own/communicating/supporting/struggling with/advocating/standing for where we land when it comes to gender identity and sexual orientation.
We people of faith are, well, weird. We believe beautiful things that bring our life meaning beyond what words can accurately contain in their goodness. But the stuff we believe is also crazy, and the attempts we make to give our traditions structure and community can get awkward, to say the least. Join us for a night where we celebrate stories where living faithfully just gets plain hilarious.
Example: One of my faith communities once held a worship service in which Easter candles caught the altar on fire. A congregant took his shirt off and scurried to the front of the worship room to put on the fire with said clothing. He emerged with no salvaged top to wear, but a safe sanctuary indeed. Who needs a shirt on Easter anyway?
Tough Text, Inspiring Text, Divine Text:
Most of us have our favorites, and most of us have ones we just don’t quite know what to do with. Did the Bible that tells me to say a sweet, quiet “yes” to Jesus also just say something about dashing babies against rocks? Take a deep breath and join us for a fascinating, vulnerable conversation of insight into our mysterious sacred texts and how we both wrestle and rejoice with them.
What is an idol, and what is so wrong about idolatry? Faith traditions identify the dangers of idolatry - and what even counts as idolatry - very differently. Are images or statues poignant reflections of something else we worship, or are they too limiting to honor deities, or are they inevitably fake gods-in-the-making? Do we trade in God for idols of money, being liked, material goods? Why and how? Certainly not least, there lies the difference between Jesus as a prophet and Jesus as God Incarnate. It is a stark line indeed. Come learn and share about this tricky topic we all face.
Mon, Feb 13: Relationships and Faith. It’s that time of year we may seek to embrace or avoid. It’s a good time to stop and reflect on the many ways our faith traditions ask us to approach romance differently, how that’s changed over time, where the similarities of our fragile hearts lie and how different the paths, rules and objectives have been/can be among our various belief systems. What’s so great or wrong with singleness, dating, marriages, kids?! Bring some extra chocolate with you for this one!
Mon, January 30: What Changes? What Stays the Same? There is a new year, a new president, maybe a new you! What in your faith tradition is built to last, and what is elastic? We will explore our constants versus what is always “being made new” in our faith traditions, along with the structures that set up our religious institutions to support those constants and changes.
Mon, January 16: Civil Rights. What is your faith tradition’s history of wrestling with movements like the Civil Rights Movements? What the good, bad and ugly about your texts, traditions, structures and how that has confused, hurt and hopefully helped civil rights issues (or how we even decide what they are)?
Need a little hope in humanity this season?
Celebrate the joyous momentum of being cheerful givers together!
Join in on The Church Lab’s Annual Advent Conspiracy Event!
Sun, Dec 18, 2016 / 2:30-4:30pm in The Church Lab living room
For questions or deets: email@example.com
What is The Church Lab’s Advent Conspiracy Event?
This event is an opportunity to hear and, as applies, share stories of life changing local and global causes. At this event, we- as we are able- bring money and/or volunteer time to offer. We create a giving “snowball” to make one big dent toward one local and one global cause, which we vote on after hearing about amazing organizations that are making the world a better place.***
We are looking for people who are ready and passionate to share stories about their favorite causes! See below for the very simple submission parameters. That said, many will come without a story and want to join in on the giving and listening. We hope to see you there regardless!
This year we have exciting news! The Church Lab is giving a jumpstart to the snowball with a $1,000 total pledge as our STARTING POINT this year. Woot! That’s $500 to a local cause and $500 to a global cause.
Who Can Join In?
*Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by Thurs, Dec 15, to join in!
Any TCL dialoguer (one-time or “regular”), TCL donor, or friends and family of those bunches are very invited to join us! This includes online guests, who are equally welcome to join in, share, vote, donate, etc! Please be aware that the Church Lab is a diverse (right and left alike), interreligious community.
Youngins’ are welcome! In fact, any youth or children present will join Pastor Carrie in the final vote, and they are the tie breakers and “final” judges!
What To Bring:
- Snacks to share (if you’re not an online guest)! TCL has plates, utensils, napkins, cups, tea and hot chocolate options covered.
- Mandatory: Listening ears!
- Not required but encouraged: Generously bring money or available 2017 time or resources to pool as a donation that together makes a good dent toward a cause! There is no amount too small! Seriously!
Here’s what you do in addition to the things above:
- If you’re sharing a story for your cause, it’s simple! Do the following:
- Please submit the following no later than 8am on Thurs, Dec 15: Send email@example.com a 1-3 paragraph description of your cause and why you are compelled to share about it. Please make it double-spaced at 12pt font, with no more than one page’s worth of copy, and no less than a ¼ of a page. Please indicate at the top if it’s local or global. We will have to cap the amount of stories shared, so bring your A-game with your submission! We will let you know ahead of time if we are expecting to hear your story.
- Please no later than Fri, Dec 16: provide to the same e-mail address any images or online info you’d like to be chromecast while you talk about your cause at the event. You do not have to provide anything like this if it doesn’t fit with the story you’re sharing about your cause.
- Prepare a passionate, informative 5 minute presentation about your cause and go for it at the event on Sun, Dec 18!! Leave another 3-4 minutes max for q&a. Presentations will be timed so as to guarantee equal time for all story sharers.
***Note- Nobody has to donate to the snowball, or at all. If you hear about a cause you like and we do not vote to snowball it this year, we still think it’s great if you donate to that cause! In fact, we’ll provide info for you to donate money or time to all causes discussed at the event, for when you’re ready.