Westdale United Church presents a Fall Book Studies Series designed for both those who have read or haven’t read the books
Sundays 7:30-9:00 p.m. from Oct. 20 to Nov. 10, 2013
All sessions take place at Westdale United Church, 99 North Oval. Tickets are $5 (cash only) at the door; students are free.
Event co-ordinator: Richard Allen, 905-628-5954, email@example.com
Oct. 20: BOOK 1: Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate by Terry Eagleton
About the book: Eagleton demolishes what he calls the “superstitious” view of God held by most atheists and agnostics and offers in its place a revolutionary account of the Christian gospel along with a stinging assault on the betrayal of this revolution by institutional Christianity.
About lecturers Raymond Hobbs and Richard Shields: Raymond Hobbs is an internationally recognized author in Old Testament literature and theology who has read all of Eagleton’s books. Richard Shields has been a teacher and counsellor in local Catholic schools, teaches pastoral theology at St. Michael’s College in Toronto, and is a progressive voice in the Catholic church.
Oct. 27: BOOK 2: Religion for Atheists by Alain deBotton
About the book: A non-believers’ guide to the uses of religion from a philosopher turned popularizer. What if religions are neither all true nor all nonsense? This book argues that we can benefit from the wisdom and power of religion–without having to believe in any of it.
About lecturers Jeffery Donaldson and Janet Kilgannon: Jeffery Donaldson teaches in McMaster’s Department of Literature and Cultural Studies and is a published poet steeped in the Northrop Frye tradition. Janet Kilgannon has an MA in music and the arts, is an omnivorous reader, and has traveled widely in Europe searching out the arts, when not being principal of her school or busy as a social activist.
Nov. 3: BOOK 3: The Scapegoat by Rene Girard
About the book: A classic study of religion and violence in the biblical record and beyond that applies Freud’s and Levi-Strauss’s theories on human behaviour to demonstrate how religion functions to keep violence outside society by deflecting it onto a scapegoat whose sacrifice restores the social order. Using a rich variety of resources from Greek to biblical, primitive to modern, Girard cites the Gospel Passion as a myth with the power to break the evil of collective violence and the corporate murder it conceals.
About lecturers Paul Dekar and Andrew Crowell: Paul Dekar is a theology professor who has taught in Canada and the United States. He has published numerous books on issues of peace and violence. He is a past president of the American Fellowship of Reconciliation. Andrew Crowell has graduate degrees in philosophy and theology, is minister of Westdale United Church, is a board member for the Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity, and is actively engaged with the Israel-Palestine question.
Nov. 10: BOOK 4: Waiting for Gospel: An Appeal to the Disheartened of the Protestant Establishment by Douglas John Hall
About the book: Canada’s foremost Protestant theologian offers a clear, well-thought, intelligent faith discussion for people who are discouraged by the life of the church these days. This book offers tremendous food for the “dispirited,” which may include most anyone who hopes for open-minded dialogue about the state of the church.
About lecturers Orville James and Lorna MacQueen: Orville Kerr has led a multi-track team ministry for sixteen years at Wellington Square United Church in Burlington that aims at Christ-centered spiritual regeneration. He has degrees in Science Divinity and Ministry and lectures occasionally at Queen’s Theological College. Lorna MacQueen is a minister and staff member of the United Church’s Hamilton Conference with a long history of developing lay leadership. She is frequently called on to lead retreats and workshops on such themes as mindfulness meditation, daring discipleship, and the challenge of change.