Just Launched: Citizenship as a Spiritual Calling

Jesus the Homeless. Statue by Timothy Schmalz.

I was hungry and you gave me food
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
I was naked and you gave me clothing,
I was sick and you took care of me,
I was in prison and you visited me.’

Matthew 25:35-36


We just launched Citizenship as a Spiritual Calling For Individuals and For Groups.

To contemporary, mainline Protestants, the idea that active civic engagement has any connection to spiritual discipline may seem incongruous. The notion that our Christianity belongs anywhere near our politics can even feel suspicious in a country that both over-politicizes religion and demands a separation between church and state. The relationship between our responsibilities as citizens and our Christian practices, in short, is complex for most of us.

In this class, Richard Hoehn suggests that, like it or not, our Christian beliefs should motivate robust political activism in a society governed by the people and for the people. Jesus says that the way we treat the least of his people is the way we treat him and even gives examples: food, drink, welcome, clothing, healthcare, prison. In our system, we decide to what extent the government will provide food security; whether regulations will protect clean water sources; how we will welcome immigrants and refugees; if (and how) sick people will gain access to healthcare; what laws will govern how prisoners are arrested; and how we treat prisoners when they are in custody. The state is the arm of the people. We can’t say that our responsibility to care for one another ends where the state begins when we are the state.

Richard, therefore, asks us to consider civic engagement as a spiritual calling. In his first lecture, he connects Christian values with civic responsibility. In his second lecture, he discusses examples of people living out the spiritual call to active citizenship and describes what that engagement looks like. Next, he suggests ways to build civic engagement as a spiritual discipline like any other spiritual discipline. Finally, he talks about congregations specifically, and how they can be a tool for civil discourse across political divisions.

This course is ideal for anyone interested in considering the relationship between our lives as citizens and our call to follow Christ.


Just Launched: Contemplative Knitting with Julie Cicora

We have just launched Contemplative Knitting with Julie Cicora For Individuals and For Groups.

The Church has some wonderful contemplative prayer practices that have been around for hundreds and even thousands of years. Sitting quietly in prayer, walking the labyrinth, praying with beads and other practices are tactile ways for us to delve into silence to discover God.

Julie Cicora has been knitting for more than 50 years. When she discovered that she could connect her passion for knitting with her need for silence in order to deepen her relationship with God, it helped her to develop a consistent prayer practice.

In this course, Julie explains what creating a contemplative practice out of your passion (in this case, knitting) looks like. She discusses best practices for getting started, as well as how to stay on track with your practice when life gets in the way. Finally, Julie connects our practices to the Church seasons and offers creative ways in which we can get in the flow of life with our contemplative creative practices. The benefits of such a practice are manifold: a deeper relationship with God; a pleasurable, tactile practice; and a way to serve others.

This course is ideal for any Christians who like to knit and/or want to learn how to establish a new contemplative practice. For a preview, please click below.