Thursday, July 24, 2008

three opportunities for spiritual growth

Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is,
and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.

Jeremiah 6. 16 (NIV)


I hope you are having a good summer. I want to make you aware of three opportunities that will take place in the fall, and to invite you to prayerfully take part in one or more of them, particularly if you live in the Charlotte area.

I believe there is a spiritual hunger in our world, and that Christianity provides the meaning and purpose that many people are seeking. I have taught Disciple for several years and am totally committed to it as the very best Bible Study that is available. Having said that, there are many other good ways of approaching the scriptures, and our church offers a number of these options. It is all good!

In the fall, I will be leading (or co-leading, in a couple of instances), studies that are grounded in scripture but take the adventure of the Christian life to a slightly different place. I want to let you know about the schedule, and, again, I ask that you consider taking part.

1. On Wednesday evenings in the fall, Robb Webb, a member of Providence UMC, a probationary deacon in our annual conference and a staff member of the Duke Endowment, and I will lead a study based on the book by N.T. Wright entitled "Simply Christian". N.T. Wright is one of the foremost biblical scholars in the world; he is also very engaged with the culture (he was recently on the Colbert Report: The sessions will begin with Holy Communion at 6:15, and the teaching component, which includes a video, will begin at 6:30-7:30. We are especially inviting young adults, and hope to have a group each week that goes out for a meal afterward. The dates are September 17-November 19. In the series Wright makes strong connections between God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and justice, spirituality, beauty, and relationships.

2. Also in the fall, Bill Jeffries and I will join the two rabbis at Temple Israel, Murray Ezring and Faith Cantor, in four evenings of Bible Study on the prophets of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). The dates are October 19 and 28, and November 11 and 18. This is a prelude to a interfaith study of the Book of Genesis that the four of us will lead in the winter of 2009. This interfaith study will be limited to twenty-five persons from Providence and twenty-five persons from the Temple. It will take place on Tuesday evenings, the exact dates to be determined. Sue Nealy ( is already compiling the list for the interfaith study.

3. The third offering will be four Wednesday mornings, September 10, October 8, November 12 and December 10, from 11:00-12:00 noon. Our topic will be daily (morning and evening) prayer, and this will be a practice, spiritual exercise-based group. To put it simply, you will learn a method of praying that will work for you! Our text will be a really wonderful new book by Robert Benson entitled "In Constant Prayer". It is published by Thomas Nelson and is available through Amazon or Cokesbury.

All of these classes are open to all, so please share this with interested friends. To sign up for group # 1 (Simply Christian/Wednesday nights) or group #3 (daily prayer), please write to Carol Grinham ( She will keep the list.

Again, I hope you can take part in one of these groups. And I am hoping that you are having a good summer.

The peace of the Lord,



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