|TIME:||7:00 – 8:30 pm|
Gathered around the table in his home, Martin Luther talked freely and openly with his colleagues and students about matters of faith, theology, and varied aspects of daily life. In an effort to cultivate this kind of spirited discussion, Pastor Brocker invites you to gather for Table Talks in the Fellowship Hall from 7:00–8:30 pm on September 28, October 24, November 30, January 25, February 27, March 22, April 26, and May 31. These conversations are especially intended for those eager to dig deeper into pressing theological, ethical, and faith issues.
Thursday, September 28, 2017: What Your Church Can Do After Charlottesville
The nation is still reeling in the aftermath of the deadly racial violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August. President Trump has been taken to task by leaders in his own party and numerous other leaders for not being more forceful in calling out white supremacists, Neo-Nazi groups, and the Ku Klux Klan. In this Table Talk, we want to focus especially on the church’s response to Charlottesville and other incidents of racial violence. How are people of faith called to respond? To begin, we will read Jim Wallis’s August 24, 2017, Sojourners article “What Your Church Can Do After Charlottesville: 5 Steps Forward” (http://sojo.net/articles/what-your-church-can-do-after-charlottesville-5-steps-forward). Wallis is the author of America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America.
Tuesday, October 24, 2017: Is It Time for Common-Sense Gun Laws?
Once again the nation is reeling from a mass shooting—this time the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. The devastation the shooter Stephen Paddock wrought in Las Vegas has triggered a groundswell of people crying out for gun control measures. We have heard this cry before, but very little has been done. Is this the time for common-sense gun laws to be enacted? What can be done without violating our Second Amendment rights? What do we as people of faith have to contribute to the struggle over gun rights/violence? To begin this Table Talk, we will read Thomas Friedman’s New York Times editorial, “If Only Stephen Paddock Were a Muslim” (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/03/opinion/stephen-paddock-las-vegas-terrorism.html). If you prefer, go to the New York Times website and search “Friedman Paddock.”
Thursday, November 30, 2017: What Makes a Patriot?
In an evening conversation on a visit to Switzerland in 1941 during the height of World War II, German Lutheran Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was asked by Willem Visser't Hooft, General Secretary of the nascent World Council of Churches, "What do you really pray for in the present situation?" Bonhoeffer responded, "If you want to know, I pray for the defeat of my country, for I think that is the only possibility of paying for all the suffering that my country has caused the world." Getting involved in the conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler was, in effect, a way for Bonhoeffer to put this prayer into action. Bonhoeffer was eventually charged with treason and hung by the Nazis on April 9, 1945. Was he a traitor or a patriot? To begin this Table Talk, we will read Peter Marty's October 25, 2017 Christian Century editorial, "What Makes a Patriot?" He writes of how in America "we revere a strange alliance of patriotism, militarism, and sports." He addresses the decision of some NFL players to kneel during the national anthem. Are they being unpatriotic? An online version of the editorial is available at https://www.christiancentury.org/article/publisher/military-doesnt-own-american-flag.
Thursday, January 25, 2018: Churches Struggle to Welcome and Protect
In the wake of the shooting deaths of 26 people at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Spring on November 5, many churches are rethinking security. Here at St. Andrew, we hosted a “Security Threat Training Event” for staff, lay leaders, and other interested people in early December. Churches are struggling to balance our call to be a welcoming place with the need to protect the people who are already here. What will that balance look like at St. Andrew? How can we be a church both welcoming and secure? To begin this Table Talk, we will read the transcript of a November 9 NPR discussion entitled “Churches Rethinking Security in the Wake of Sutherland Springs Shooting” (https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=563133685). You may also want to read “What Duty Does a Church Have to Protect the People Who Are There?” (http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article183117716.html).
Tuesday, February 27, 2018: Is It a Sin to Build a Nuclear Weapon?
The nuclear arms race and the concept of "mutually assured destruction" were an everpresent reality of my growing up years. But I do not ever remember in my lifetime hearing world leaders talking so much about actually using nuclear weapons. The way President Trump and Kim Jongun of North Korea have threatened to employ nuclear weapons has heightened anxiety among many in their own nations and around the world. I was not old enough to remember the Cuban Missile Crisis, but that may have been the last time people had this level of anxiety about nuclear weapons actually being used. A number of years ago, Father Richard McSorley wrote that "It's a sin to build a nuclear weapon."
In this Table Talk, we will discuss the use of nuclear weapons from a faith perspective. Is it a sin to use nuclear weapons? Is it a sin to even build one? We will begin by reading Jim Wallis's Sojourners' article, "Trump Threatens Both Nuclear War and the First Amendment," which you can find online at https://sojo.net/articles/trump-threatens-both-nuclear-war-and-first-amendment.
Thursday, March 22, 2018: To Be Announced
Thursday, April 26, 2018: To Be Announced
Thursday, May 31, 2018: To Be Announced