Just Launched: Biblical Fracking with Frank Wade

We just launched Biblical Fracking with Frank Wade For Individuals and For Groups.

Left: Illustration by Sidney Paget from the original printing of “The Adventure of Silver Blaze” in The Strand Magazine.

In the story “The Adventure of Silver Blaze” by Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes is able to discern who stole a racehorse by considering what did not happen on the night of the theft. Specifically, the fact that a dog does not bark when someone breaks in to steal the racehorse suggests that the dog recognizes the thief. (Sorry if this is a spoiler. To be fair, you’ve had 128 years to read the story.) The account of the theft does not emphasize the absence of barking — it just says that a watchdog was there and that the place was silent, and Holmes, in wondering why the dog did not bark, arrives at the solution to the problem.

Sometimes, wondering about silence, or about what does not happen, or about what we are not told, can lead the imagination to look at problems, stories, and ideas in a new way. This is the principle at the heart of biblical fracking.

 

Left: Title page of Midrash Tehillim, a collection of rabbinic midrashim (plural for midrash) on the Psalms written in the eleventh century or earlier. This page is from a copy of Midrash Tehillim from seventeenth-century Prague.

Biblical fracking is a practice derived from the ancient Jewish practice of midrash, though priest and author Frank Wade, this course’s instructor who has adapted the practice for Christian use, is careful to assert that the two are not identical. Fracking scripture involves examining texts with an eye toward exploring questions that they raise and do not answer. The questions often address details about characters — like, how did the homeowner react when strangers removed the roof of his home to lower their friend down to Jesus in Luke 5? Why do we hear nothing of Peter’swife beyond knowing that she exists because Jesus heals her mother (Matthew 8)? What did Simon of Cyrene do after carrying Jesus’ cross to Golgotha?

For Christians, biblical fracking is not a substitute for traditional Christian forms of exegesis, but it can be a useful additional practice. It can lead to different ways of viewing or understanding text. It can raise questions in our hearts that can lead to new ideas about how we should live our lives. In this course, Frank investigates four different stories from the Bible and invites participants to frack them alongside him. We hope that in exploring the fissures and gaps in scripture, you will join Frank in finding spiritual treasure.

 

ChurchNext Lenten Resources

As you begin considering ways to approach Lent of 2021, we’d like to make you aware of the following resources from ChurchNext.

Classes 

Your church and families within your church may find the following classes helpful during Lent:

Introducing Lent with Maggi Dawn: This class offers people new to the church and anyone who wants a refreshed understanding of the season an overview of Lent. Author, priest, scholar, and teacher Maggi Dawn discusses Lent’s history in the church and ways that we observe and commemorate the Lenten season today.

Lent for Families with Kim Baker: In this class, longtime educator and priest Kim Baker discusses ways that families can celebrate a rich Lenten season together.

Walk in Love Part 2: Marking Time with Scott Gunn and Melody Shobe: This course is part of our Walk in Love series. It goes through the church year as a whole, including a lot of focused discussion about Lent and Holy Week. This class is another one that people new to the church might find particularly useful.

Making Sense of the Cross Parts 1-3: These three courses  offer David Lose’s examination of how to understand Jesus’ death on the cross in the context of our life experiences (part one), the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and death (part two), and theological interpretations (part three).

Curricula

ChurchNext offers several 5-week themed curricula and course series that we hope will enrich Lenten observances for both congregations and individuals.

The Five Core Practices of Being a Disciple with Christopher Martin: Do you long to grow in your relationship with Christ? Take a ‘lenten challenge’ and join The Rev. Christopher Martin on an inspiring and informative journey, in which he offers insights into discipleship that can be truly transformative. In this course he touches on various habits and disciplines that can easily be incorporated into our walk with Christ.

 

A Spring in the Desert with Frank and Victoria Logue: This curriculum, based on Frank and Victoria’s book A Spring in the Desert, examines the seven Christian virtues through the lens of the desert. Using historical accounts of the desert fathers and mothers, meditations based on plant life and imagery of the desert, and scriptural references to the desert, Frank and Victoria walk participants through the Lenten season.

 

 

God the Son: In this series of courses, scholars, authors, and theologians discuss the life of Jesus and particularly his death on the cross in terms of how different people have understood it over time.

  • In the first course, Who Is Jesus?, Jason Fout examines the life of Jesus, who he was, and how the church understands him today.
  • In the next three courses, Making Sense of the Cross parts 1-3, David Lose examines Jesus’ death through the lens of human experience, gospel accounts, and theological interpretation.
  • In the final course, Exploring the Biblical Christ, a variety of scholars discuss each of the evangelists’ and St. Paul’s understanding of Jesus.

 

 

Daily Spiritual Practices: In this series, priests and authors discuss various ways to make spiritual practices part of our everyday lives.

Lent for the Family: Looking for family resources  to celebrate a holy Lent? This series offers five courses on building spiritual practices on a familial level.

  • In Lent for Families, Kim Baker suggests creative ways for families to experience a holy Lent together.
  • Allison Liles talks about teaching about religion and worshipping at home (both during and outside the context of the pandemic) in Teaching Kids at Home.
  • Approaching Scripture offers Vicki Garvey’s excellent introductory approach to understanding scripture as a library of different kinds of resources that can be very helpful in teaching older elementary-aged kids, middle-schoolers, and teens about scripture.
  • In Start a Family Devotional Time, Anne Kitsch describes ways to do daily family devotion with the family.
  • Finally, in Holy Habits for Children, Valerie Hess offers ideas on helping children build basic Christian spiritual practices into their lives.

Just Launched: Teaching Kids at Home with Allison Liles

We’ve just launched Teaching Kids at Home with Allison Liles For Individuals and For Groups.

As Covid-19 continues to preclude group events, we miss corporate worship and the service of the Holy Eucharist. They are a critically important part of our lives as Christians. But if the pandemic can bring us closer together in our family units and get our children engaged in seeing how adults in their lives live our their faith in good times and bad, we can find some good in this experience. It may offer us a chance, when worshipping together again in person, to integrate our faith more fully into our daily lives; to weave it through all that we do.

In this class, Allison Liles offers guidance on how to make time at home, both during and after the pandemic. She covers biblical history of teaching kids at home and emphasizes reasons it’s more important now than ever to live out our faith in our families. That means teaching kids about prayer, worship, and the Bible. She talks about effective ways to create worship spaces at home that bring worship into day-to-day activities rather than keeping it a Sunday event. She discusses daily prayer and Sunday worship as well, and how to make those engaging for kids. She also offers resources for parents to use to find creative ways to bring Christianity into their families’ daily lives.

This course is ideal for parents trying to engage Christian education and worship at home, both during and after the pandemic, and for Christian educators who want to support them.