At the Redeemer, we know that asking deeper questions and exploring issues of faith helps us grow both as individuals and as a community.
Throughout the year, we offer a variety of speakers and learning series, providing opportunities to gather and learn together; details are provided here as well as through our eNews. A warm welcome awaits all who join – parishioners, friends and members of the wider community.
Marginalia – Sunday School for Grown-Ups
The Book of Ruth is the Old Testament’s underdog, a lot like the non-Jewish widow it’s named after. And for such a tiny book, this literary masterpiece has as a lot to say: about insiders v. outsiders, about the nitty-gritty of local work for justice, and about the God who spreads over the ruins of our lives a sheltering wing. Beginning January 19, join Nate Wall (our Scholar-in-Residence) and special guest Angie Hocking (our Pastoral Associate of Outreach & Community Engagement) for a three-week exploration of The Book of Ruth in Marginalia, Redeemer’s Sunday school for grown-ups, at 10 AM or 11 AM.
Redeemer Readers – Church of the Redeemer’s Book Club
The group will meet this year in the board room on the lower level for one hour at noon on Thursdays – October 24, December 5, January 30, March 26 and May 7. New members are always welcome and all are invited to attend as many of the five sessions as you can. The books selected for reading this year all illustrate the consequences in people’s lives of what they believe, or what those who have authority over them believe. We will be able to see how good and bad belief systems affect their practices and their lives.
The Books We Will Read
Our brochure for this season is available here.
Thursday, January 30: Honouring your Father – Westover, Tara. Educated. Toronto: Harper Collins, 2018.
This is the remarkable autobiography of a young woman raised in Nevada by an unorthodox Mormon father whose strongly held and unshakeable paranoid beliefs caused terrible damage to his children. It is also the story of her escape, first to Brigham Young University and then to Cambridge, an escape that for her was imperative but whose high price was the lasting destruction of most of her family relationships. The story is told in vivid and at times horrifying detail, but also without hatred and blame. It is an account of how one man’s destructive beliefs brought about so much harm, and how education and a new understanding has brought some healing.
Thursday, March 26: Surrendering the Intellect? And/or What does Loving your Enemies mean?
a. Anonymous. The Cloud of Unknowing. Transl. Carmen Acevedo Butcher. Boulder: Shambhala, 2018. Orig. ©2009 by CAB.
This is a fourteenth-century text is one of the great classics of English mysticism. It will enrich our own contemplative/mystical lives, and raise questions like: How important is contemplation to the spiritual life? Is mystical union with God possible? Is it for everyone? Is there Scriptural warrant for this? How does Christian mysticism differ from Buddhist mysticism?
b. Kohn, Sally. The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity. Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2019.
This is an excellent discussion of the process of how we learn to “love our enemies”, unpacking three important steps that we can take to make our world a better place. She reports on her visits to Rwanda, the Middle East and across the United States, talking with one-time terrorists and white supremacists, and contacting some of her own Twitter trolls. The book is America focused, but the problems of our modern world are universal, it seems.
Thursday, May 7: Wounds Beyond Healing? – Robinson, Marilynne. Lila. Toronto: Harper Collins, first Canadian edition, 2014.
This is the third book of the Gilead trilogy, covering much of the same time period as Gilead and Home. Lila has made an appearance in the earlier books, but here her point of view is central. After her bare-survival childhood she meets the minister John Ames, is baptized, proposes to him and marries him. How complete is her transformation? Where do we see the remnants of her past popping up? Her theology is good, but how complete a conversion can good theology and a loving community bring about?
All are welcome. Please join in.
Contemplative Radical: The Legacy of Thomas Merton
Amidst a monk’s life of silence and prayer, Thomas Merton (1915-1968) authored over fifty books. Deeply rooted in the contemplative tradition, he spoke prophetically on issues of war, race, and the economy. He was a chaplain to the peace movement of the 1960s. A pioneer of interfaith dialogue, he formed relationships with Buddhist, Hindu, Sufi , and Jewish mystics and theologians.
Four sessions were held between September 18, 2019 and January 15, 2020. Links to the audio of these presentations are below.
Thomas Merton: Global Visionary – with Michael Higgins. Audio of this September 18 session is here.
Woods, Landscape, City: The Prophetic Spirituality of Thomas Merton – with Paul Pynkoski. Audio of the October 16 session is here.
Thomas Merton and Wisdom-Sophia: Awakening to the Feminine Face of God – with Christopher Pramuk. Audio of the November 20 session is here.
We Are Already One: Indigenous Peoples and Race in Thomas Merton – with Paul Dekar. Audio of the January 15 session will be available soon.