Theologies of Creation (1)
Creation of Adam by Michelangelo
- There is a seven-fold repetition of “It was good/very good” in Genesis 1. What does this suggest about who you are? About what the world is? And about what God intended?
- How do the two chapters suggest that creation has a purpose? What is this purpose?
- How does the Creator cause things to come into being?
- What are four similarities between the two creation stories in Genesis?
Theologies of Creation (2)
"The sovereign yet related Creator foreshadows a constant biblical picture of a God whose power is expressed in vulnerability to the world's suffering, whose mysterious otherness comes close to us in intimate relationship. For those who know such a God, the exercise of power must always be tempered by caring relationship."
Bruce C. Birch
- What is your understanding of “dominion” (1:28)? How do you see this term in context of the first creation narrative?
- Birch states: “Christian social concern requires not only that we ask what we should do in a broken world but also that we ask who we are to be” (1). What is the “ethic of doing” and what is the “ethic of being”?
- Reflect on the balance between sovereignty and relatedness in the character of God.
- Where do you see evidence of the brokenness of creation? What are some examples of this in our families, institution, and global communities?
James Weldon Johnson
- How does Johnson depict the relationship between God and God’s creation?
- How is God spoken of anthropomorphically (in human terms)?
- How do you respond to Johnson’s poem? Is it an appropriate/faithful creative rendering of Scripture? Why or why not?
Theologies of Creation - God, Creation, and Human Nature (3)
"We exist interdependently with everyone and everything around us."
Douglas Jacobsen Rodney J. Sawatsky
- What are some examples we have seen of gracious Christianity in action?
- What does gracious Christianity mean for the ways we relate to our family? How does graciousness affect the way we interact with our roommates and floormates? in political debate? in church?
- How might it be possible to have both strong convictions and deep commitments?
- How would you describe the Trinity to someone who was unfamiliar with the idea?
- What does God’s character tell us about how we ourselves should live in the world?
- What words or images compose your image of God? What do you hear in your church? in you family? among friends?
Creation and Humanity
"We respect the image of God which is present in everyone."
Messiah College Walkway
- What does it mean for you to understand yourself as being “made in the image of God”?
- What does it mean to understand that all of humanity is made in God’s image?
- What are some ramifications or examples of the injunction to “choose life”?
- How do the authors define sin? How is this similar/dissimilar to your definition?
- How important is freedom in the life of the Christian? What is the relationship between freedom and responsibility in the life of the Christian?
Monday, February 11 - 7:00 p.m. Grantham BIC Church
Valerie Smith - Associate Professor of Theatre
Co-Chair, Department of Theatre
Stewardship of Creation (1)
- What does it mean to cultivate, keep and name? How would these activities be properly expressed toward creation in our world today?
- What are the proper responsibilities of an “image of God” to creation? Why is it necessary for humans to bear the image of God before acting responsibly toward creation?
- How has the physical world around you changed since you were a child? Are there experiences your parents had which you have not been able to? Are there experiences which you have had that your parents were not able to?
- Of the environmental problems described in this chapter, which one affects you most directly? Is there a way your influence and actions can contribute to a solution to this problem?
Stewardship of Creation (2)
"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you." Frank Lloyd Wright
Chesapeake Bay Watermen
- What impressions emerged as you watched and thought about the video?
- What are the environmental challenges? How are they resolved?
- What are similar environmental problems that have affected communities with which you are familiar? Does this episode provide any lessons for solving other environmental conflicts?
- What should be the relationship between “economic goods” and “environmental goods”? How should we think through this relationship when they seem to be at cross purposes?
"All creatures live by God's spirit, portioned out to them, and breathe His breath. To "lay up...treasures in heaven," then, cannot mean to be spiritual at the earth's expense, or to despise or condemn the earth for the sake of heaven. It means exactly the opposite: do not desecrate or depreciate these gifts, which take part with us in the being of God, by turning them into worldly "treasure"; do not reduce life to money or to any other mere quantity."
- Do you agree with Berry that Christians should rediscover pleasure in work? If so, what would this mean in practice? If not, why not?
Stewardship of Culture
"Art has the power to help us transcend the fragmented society we inhabit."
- What does it mean to be a “steward of culture”?
- How does Wolfe view imagination? What’s its role in life? How do you respond? How important is imagination for you?
- What is “Christian humanism”? Is it a good thing or bad thing? How might it differ from “secular humanism”?
- Is there virtue in contemplation or does it distract us from changing the world?
- Who are significant contemporary Christians writers and artists who influence not just Christians, but the broader culture? Why do they have such influence?
- Respond to Wolfe’s concluding question: “How committed are we as Christians to nourish our faith and renew our society by becoming stewards of culture”?
"Story is seldom true if we try to control it, manipulate it, make it go where we want it to go, rather than where the story itself wants to go."
J. R. Tolkein Madeline L'Engle
"Most of what makes life work living lies beyond the world of provable fact."
- How does L’Engle use the concepts of “story”, “myth”, and “truth”? According to her, how do they relate to one another? How do you respond to L’Engle’s descriptions of these concepts?
- The Bible is a metanarrative with subplots and stories. Which biblical stories animate your life?
- What is your story? Who are the main characters in your story?
- What in your life is like Niggle’s painting?
- As the author, what might Tolkien be trying to communicate?
- Have other people responded to your creativity like Parish and the Town Councilmen? How have their responses affected your creativity?
- Are you more like Niggle or Parish when it comes to artwork? How might this story help you understand both perspectives better?
- How do Niggle’s creative gifts have a higher purpose than he himself imagined?
- Do you see any religious dimensions to the story?
Monday, February 25 - 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Sharing of Creation Projects in Hess, Naugle, and Witmer Residence Halls
Creativity and New Creation
"And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see; or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read."
- What connection does Walker make between Gardening and Art?
- Walker writes, “Perhaps in more than Phillis Wheatley’s biological life is her mother’s signature made clear” (par. 50). How, in defining the legacy of African American women, does Walker suggest that their children are part of their creative output?
- How do you respond to the following quotes: “And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see: or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read” (p.93) and “Yet so many of the stories that I write, that we all write, are my mother’s stories” (p.93). How have your own parents and grandparents affected your sense of identity and creativity?
- How did Walker’s mother use her imagination and creativity? Do you have friends or family that engage creativity in similar ways? [gardening, wood working, baking, quilting, etc.]
Compiled and Designed by Shelby White