Click here to return to Messiah College's homepage
Click here to return to the Created and Called for Community homepage

  Content Navigation:
Core Overview (PowerPoint)
Course Objectives
Structural Parameters
Course Syllabus
Creation Unit
  Study Guide/Instructional Goals
  Creation Project Grading Guidelines (PDF)
Community Unit
  Study Guide for Community Unit
  Persuasive Essay
  Rubric for Grading
Vocation Unit
  Study Guide/Instructional Goals
  Faith Journey Narrative
  Grading Rubric for Faith Journey

Related Links:

Community Unit

*click on the links for questions and information that correspond with each section

Kim Phipp's Inaugural Address on Created and Called for Community

Kim Phipps

Kim Phipps


Theology of Community

"As a crucial theological datum in Israel that cannot be reduced to a single uniform formulation, the covenant is as rich and plural as is any lively relationship.  It still lives as Israel, in its deep trust, adjudicated YHWH's harsh demands and deep commitments.  The covenant poses for Israel the difficult issue of fidelity from God and toward God.  Israel knows that fidelity on God's part is freely given, but is never cheap and never mocked."

Dialogue Questions:

  1. How do the prophets of Israel relate to the covenant?
  2. Why does Stanley argue here that a solid foundation for community can be found in the Bible?  Do you agree?
  3. What are some covenants of which you are aware?
  4. Can there be community without an agreed-upon, explicitly stated law, covenant, or common understanding of right and wrong?


Communities of Faith - Being Church (1) 

"The church is the place where Christianity moves from theory to practice, from theology to incarnate faith."



Slorenzo Church

Dialogue Questions:

  1. What have been your experiences as a member of the Church universal (i.e. the body of Christ on earth) and as a member of a particular church or local gathering of believers (i.e. “First Baptist Church of Springfield”)?  Which membership is more important to you and why?
  2. What does the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist mean to you?  What do you think about when participating in this part of worship?  How would you explain what you experienced to an outsider?
  3. How should “community” relate to “conformity” in the church?  Do you have examples? (e.g. music, dress, liturgical style)
  4. What does it mean for the church to participate in the “kingdom of God”?
  5. The authors write that “it is not the church’s role to rule.”  What is your response to this?  How does this statement relate to contemporary discussions and debates and religion and politics? 
  6. What do the authors say is the purpose of worship? (9)
  7. The authors assert that the Church must be a “prophetic voice” in the world.  What should the Church communicate to the world?


Core Convocation on Community

Thursday, March 6 - 9:45 a.m. Grantham BIC Church

Dr. Larry James - President and CEO, Central Dallas Ministries

Communities of Faith - Community (2)

"Many very generous Christians find themselves increasingly tired and dispirited not so much because the work is hard or the success slight, but because they feel isolated, unsupported, and left alone.  People who say, "I wonder if anyone cares what I am doing.  I wonder if my superior, my friends at home, or the people who sent me ever think about me, ever pray about me, ever consider me part of their lives," are in real spiritual danger.  We are able to do many hard things, tolerate many conflicts, overcome many obstacles, and persever under many pressures, but when we no longer experience ourselves as part of a caring, supporting, praying community, we quickly lose faith."

Henri Nouwen

Dialogue Questions:

  1. When have you experienced genuine, helpful compassion?
  2. How do the authors define “compassion”?  (101-102, 105)
  3. Illustrate what the authors mean by solidarity, servanthood, and obedience as the results of compassion.
  4. The authors write that “In the Christian community, we can fully recognize the condition of our society without panicking” (104). Why is this?
  5. “The Christian community mediates between the suffering of the world and our individual responses to this suffering.”  How have you seen this in action?
  6. “The primary sense of community is a deep sense of being gathered by God” (107).  When have you felt part of a community that embodied this?


Communities of Faith -Anabaptist Vision (3)

"The essential and distinguishing characteristic of this church is its great emphasis upon the actual personal conversion and regeneration of every Christian through the Holy Spirit......the Anabaptists were concerned most of all about "a true Christian life", that is, a life patterened after the teaching and example of Christ."

Harold S. Bender

Harold S. Bender

Dialogue Questions:

  1. According to Bender, what are the three central teachings of the Anabaptist tradition of Christianity? 
  2. What aspects of the “Anabaptist vision” have you witnessed?  In what contexts?
  3. What is your religious tradition?  In what ways has it been similar or dissimilar to the model of Anabaptist Christianity that Bender presents here?
  4. Bender concludes with the observation, “The Anabaptist vision was not a detailed blueprint for the reconstruction of human society, but the Brethren did believe that Jesus intended that the Kingdom of God should be set up in the midst of earth, here and now.”  What would this look like today?


Communities of Faith and National Allegiance

"The question of citizenship is essentially a question of competing loyalties, all of which may demand our wholehearted -- and perhaps contradictory -- allegiance....But I want to look for ways to be creatively Christian and creatively American, drawing on the best from both traditions."

Lee Camp     Keith Graber-Miller

                                                               Lee Camp                         Keith Graber-Miller

Dialogue Questions:

  1. How does the author criticize the practice of infant or paedo baptism?
  2. What is your view of baptism?  What do you think its role is in the life of believers and in the church?
  3. In what ways can the church break down the sorts of barriers Paul lists in Galatians 3?  Have you experienced these barriers being broken down in the church?
  4. How do you respond to the author’s quotation by Adolph Hitler?  Could a person have been a good German and good Christian in 1940s Germany?  In contemporary Germany?
  5. Is patriotism “self-centeredness write large?”  Why or why not?


Campus Community

"Is it possible, in higher education, to create conditions that can help all of us grow our own identity and integrity, to become strange attractors of community, each in his or her own way?"

Parker J. Palmer

Parker J. Palmer

Dialogue Questions:

  1. How has your Messiah education nurtured openness and connectivity?  How has it not?
  2. What personal virtues do you consider necessary for the formation of community?
  3. Reflect on and discuss Boyer’s legacies of a campus community.  Has Messiah College been this kind of community for you?  If not, how could it reach this point?
  4. Students often say the term “community” is over-used to the point of being trite.  Do you agree?
  5. How do Boyer’s six principles relate to the virtues, community development, and soul formation that Parker Palmer discussed?

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.

Dialogue Questions:

  1. Why did King’s critics argue that he shouldn’t be in Birmingham?  How did King respond to these critics?
  2. What does King mean by the phrase, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”?  Do you agree with him?  Why or why not?
  3. What role does the church play in King’s letter?
  4. What role does the nation play in King’s letter?
  5. Why does King seem hopeful and confident despite the painful and frustrating times in which he lived?
  6. What seemed to be some of the greatest challenges to building a national community in the 1960s?  How were these challenges addressed?  What seem to be some of the greatest contemporary challenges to building national community?  How do you think these contemporary challenges might be addressed?


Community in the United States

"As we have seen, something has happened in America in the last two or three decades to diminish civic engagement and social connectedness.  What could that "something" be?"

Boy bowling alone

Bowling Alone

Dialogue Questions:

  1. What does Putnam mean by “civil society”?  Why does he suggest it’s important?  How is civil society changing in the US, according to Putnam?
  2. What does Putnam mean by “social capital”?
  3. According to Putnam, what makes for healthy, vibrant communities?
  4. What is the role of churches, labor unions, school groups, and civic and fraternal organizations in American life?
  5. How can true community be created in the contemporary United States?

International Similarities in the Family as a Community

"In these wonderful stories, Wang Anyi has done even more than create a vivid gallery of how some human beings intensely lived through years of enormous upheaval....Through the magic of art, she has enmeshed us in these lives and carried us into understanding the circumstances, humanity, pain, and promise fo those years." Tillie Olsen

Wang Anyi

Wang Anyi

Dialogue Questions:

  1. How did China’s Cultural Revolution affect some of the characters in Anyi’s story (especially Chen Xin, Chen Fang, No. 3, and mother)?
  2. What does it mean for Chen Xin to live a good life? 
  3. How would you describe the family portrayed in this story?  What attributes are similar to those in your family and what attributes are different?
  4. What are some universal experiences in this story?
  5. Can we ever leave and then return to find home exactly as it was when we left?


Persuasive Essays on Community


Compiled and Designed by Shelby White and Brittney Bailey   


Messiah College | One College Avenue | Mechanicsburg PA 17055 | 717-766-2511
Comments or questions? Contact the WebMaster.
© 2013 Messiah College