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Jul  2013 16
The Intersection of Religion & Politics

Exploring the Intersections of Religion & Politics

Wichita, Kansas, July 15, 2013 – The ongoing lecture/conversation series titled FaithLife Connections (FLC), will return to Hillside Christian Church (8330 East Douglas, 67206) in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, August 24, 2013. 

Created by Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Okla., and featuring the seminary’s faculty, FaithLife Connections is designed to help laypeople develop the tools to connect faith with daily life.  The second presenter in the Wichita area will be Dr. Joe Bessler, Robert Travis Peake Associate Professor of Theology at PTS. His discussion topic will be “Exploring the Intersections of Religion and Politics.

“In our day together we’ll explore the intersection of religion and politics by noticing how major political speeches such as Convention Addresses are structured in ways that overlap with the structure and topics of Christian faith and theology. In addition to noticing that overlapping structure, we’ll consider several explanations for why that overlap exists, what we in the church might learn from the practice of political discourse, and why we in the church should be concerned about that overlapping tendency. By exploring these overlapping connections and tensions between the religious and the political, lay leaders will see better the importance of distinguishing our religious convictions from our political commitments. If time allows, we can also explore how the relation between “religion and politics” is quite different than the relation between “church and state,” said Bessler.

The program will begin at 9:00 a.m. with Bessler’s presentation followed by a local panel that will respond and share perspectives that will include conversations from the attendees. After lunch together, a second presentation will be made with more time for discussion including recommendations on materials and resources, the program will conclude at 3:00 p.m.  Anyone, of any religious tradition or of no tradition, who seeks to make connections between faith matters and daily life, is welcome to attend.

“Persons seeking to follow the way of Jesus in today’s world face profound challenges. At PTS, we believe that faculty and students – including both laity and clergy – should seek to understand the challenges, to relate resources from Christian traditions to develop creative, hopeful individual and communal strategies for ways in which Christians could respond to those issues. PTS has developed FLC to reach out to people of faith who seek similar ends,” said John Imbler, Coordinator of FLC.

Designed to run for three and a half years, seminary faculty with topics of expertise and interest, will rotate to participating congregations so seven different topics will be discussed over the course of the program.  FLC will be hosted by seven congregations in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) covenant regions, those include: Denver, Colo.; Columbia, Mo.; Wichita, Kan.; Kansas City, Mo.; Fayetteville, Ark.; Edmond, Okla.; and Tulsa, Okla.  Within the three and a half year span, a congregation will host a weekend event twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. 

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