UPDATE: The Banned Questions mp3s are now available
All of us have questions, we just aren’t always sure we can bring them up in church. Here at Brentwood, we want to change that. Based on a new series of books by Chalice Press (including one that Phil contributed to), we are providing a forum where you can ask questions you’ve often wondered, but weren’t sure you were allowed to ask, especially in church.
–On Wednesday, July 20th, at 6:30 p.m., we will have a panel of religious scholars and/or ministers respond to the questions you bring to the table. Along with Phil, the panel will consist of Mark Given (professor of religious studies at Missouri State University) and Matt Gallion (pastoral resident at National Avenue Christian Church and religious studies grad assistant at Missouri State University). If you want to submit your question(s) in advance, post them in the comments section below or send an email to Phil. You will also have a chance to write down your questions during the event and pass them on to the panelists.
–On Wednesday, July 27th, at 7:00 p.m., we will welcome Christian Piatt, editor of the Banned Questions series of books, who will share the story behind the Banned Questions series, as well as respond to questions you might have. In addition to being an author, Christian is co-founder and music minister of Milagro Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Pueblo, Colorado where his wife serves as pastor.
You will also be able to purchase Banned Questions books on the 27th and have them signed by Christian during a “meet the author” after session. We will also give away autographed copies to three lucky participants!
Why a series of books (and events) on banned questions? Here is Christian’s response:
When I was younger, I had a Bible thrown at my head during a Sunday school class for asking too many questions. Granted, I was probably more provocative than your average adolescent, but I really did have a lot of legitimate questions about God, my faith, Jesus and the Bible. The message I got at the time was that church isn’t the place for such questions.
Seriously? If we can’t ask the tough, keep-you-awake-at-night questions within our faith communities, then what good are they? I left organized religion behind for about ten years, until I found a place where my questions not only would be heard and tolerated, but also respected and wrestled with. Beyond that, the good people at Chalice Press had either the nerve and/or the lack of judgment necessary to offer me a book series to help others struggling with these same questions.
In these pages you’ll find fifty of the most provocative, challenging or otherwise taboo questions that many of us have wondered about but few have actually asked. I assembled an incredible team of respondents to offer their views on these hard questions. Their responses range from the personal to the profound, and from sarcastic to deeply touching. I’m deeply grateful for each of them, and for their commitment to sharing their hearts, minds and experiences.
The goal of this book is not to resolve these difficult issues once and for all, but rather to open up an ongoing dialogue that allows us all to talk more openly together about what we believe and what we don’t, and perhaps more important, why we believe it.
I strongly believe that any faith worth claiming should stand up to rigorous examination, and should also be open to change over time. I hope that this collection is one step in your continuing journey as a person of faith, whatever that may look like to you.
We are thankful to our friends at National Avenue Christian Church for partnering with us in order to make this event possible.