Readings in Faith and Culture

Every semester the Study Center offers reading groups that explore either important works of historic and contemporary Christian thought or works of scholarship that explore contemporary social change. Groups typically meet three or four times a semester at the Study Center. Sometimes the group will read an entire book together, sometimes a group leader will present a book as a recommended resource and no prerequisite reading is needed.

Unless otherwise indicated, these reading groups meet in the Christian Study Center classroom.  Copies of these books are always available in our library located upstairs in Pascal’s Coffeehouse at the Christian Study Center.

Fall 2017 Program

Reading Groups

All groups meet in the Christian Study Center classroom. Enter through Pascal’s Coffeehouse on 112 NW 16th St.

  • “Technology and the Self” – A Reading Group for Undergraduates

    Led by Todd Best and Tim Schubert, Tuesdays, September 19th, October 17th, and November 14th, period ten (5:10 – 6:00 p.m.)

    Is technology neutral, or does it want to take us somewhere? Where might we take technology ourselves? What is technology’s imprint on our humanity? Are we more than our technology? Are there ways it might be getting in the way? Are there ways it could be harnessed to enhance human experience? This undergraduate reading and discussion group will look into these questions and more as we consider our relationship to technology.

    Take a moment to consider how newer technologies such as a smartphone, a PC or an e-reader have impacted you in recent days, over the last few years, since you’ve been in school. An honest, sober assessment should astound you. But for most people, that act of contemplation yields only modest wonder and discretion because our adoption of technology of all kinds is enthusiastically embraced with little thought about all the consequences. We see technology as our friend;  it has convinced us of its worth so often and for so long that we may not fully grasp all the ways our individual and communal lives have been altered – for better or for worse. This fall semester, the Christian Study Center will host a discussion/reading group to explore some of the subtler impacts of our growing dependency on technology. We will consult with a range of writers, thinkers, and artists using various readings along with podcasts, blogs, and video clips to explore the full scope of several forms of technology on culture, and then discuss how we might use these forms more thoughtfully and responsibly to greatest advantage.

    Attendees should read, listen to, and/or watch listed sources in advance of the date listed (see https://techandhuman.wordpress.com/ for materials).

 

  • Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion by Alain de Botton (Vintage Books, 2012)

    Led by Richard Horner, Wednesdays, September 20th, October 18th, November 15th, period eight (3:00 – 3:50 p.m.)

    Alain de Botton wants to move to what he calls Atheism 2.0. In other words, he wants to move beyond the argument for atheism and explore what an atheist culture would look like. While he assumes that atheism is true (in a way that may frustrate theists), he also argues that atheism needs to learn how to do for people what religions have always done in the past (in a way that may frustrate atheists). De Botton willingly acknowledges the positive role that religions have played in building communities, promoting kindness, shaping educational institutions, giving us great art, etc., and he admits that he is “curious as to the possibilities of importing certain [religious] ideas and practices into the secular realm.”

    Alain de Botton is thoughtful, wonderfully articulate and readable, and his views are well worth thinking about—and talking about with others across a broad range of viewpoints. The broader the range of participants in this group, the better it will be, so do join us for reading Alain de Botton’s Religion for Atheists this semester.

Church and Culture Roundtable

Resource presentation and discussion especially for clergy and ministry leaders.

Meets in the Christian Study Center classroom. Enter through Pascal’s Coffeehouse on 112 NW 16th St.

E

Reclaiming Conversation

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle (Penguin Press, 2015), led by Chipper Flaniken, pastor at City Church of Gainesville, Wednesday, October 11th, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

E

Spiritual Friendship

Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love in the Church as a Celibate Gay Christian by Wesley Hill (Brazos Press, 2015), led by Alex Farmer, Rector at Servants of Christ Anglican Church, Wednesday, November 8th, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Spring 2017: Resource Presentation and Discussion

No reading required.

Tuesday, January 31st

1 p.m. in the CSC Classroom

Jacob Larson, Pastor at the Vineyard, presents Yuval Levin’s The Fractured Republic: Renewing America’s Social Contract in the Age of Individualism (Basic Books, 2016), discussion to follow. Parking is available at First Lutheran Church (1801 NW 5th Avenue).

Tuesday, February 21st

1 p.m. in the CSC Classroom

In conjunction with Scorsese’s film, Silence, Tim Hayse, Pastor at Christ Community Church, presents Silence, by Shūsaku Endō (Taplinger Publishing Company, 1969), and Silence and Beauty: Hidden Faith Born of Suffering by Makoto Fujimura (InterVarsity Press, 2016), discussion to follow. Parking is available at First Lutheran Church (1801 NW 5th Avenue).

Fall 2016: Resource Presentation and Discussion

Open to all, but of special interest to clergy, campus ministers, and church leaders.

No reading required.

Power

Wednesday, October 12, 1-2 p.m., Christian Study Center Classroom
Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power by Andy Crouch (InterVarsity Press, 2013),
Led by Chipper Flaniken, Pastor at City Church
 

Pluralism

Wednesday, November 9, 1-2 p.m., Christian Study Center Classroom
Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving through Deep Difference by John D. Inazu (University of Chicago Press, 2016),
Led by Chris Musgrove, Director of CRU at UF

Spring 2016: Presentation and Discussion for Everyone

Open to all, but of special interest to clergy and campus ministers.

E

The Church and Culture Making

Tuesday, February 9th, 1:00 – 2:15 p.m., Christian Study Center Classroom

Presentation and discussion of Culture Making: Recovering our Creative Calling by Andy Crouch (InterVarsity Press, 2008), led by Ryan Fields, Associate Pastor at Creekside Community Church.

E

Crazy Busy: A Short Look at a Big Problem

Tuesday, April 5th, 1:00 – 2:15 p.m., Christian Study Center Classroom

Presentation and discussion of Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung (Crossway, 2013), led by Chris Musgrove, Director of CRU at UF.

Fall 2015: Presentation and Discussion for Everyone

Open to all, but of special interest to clergy and campus ministers.

Being the Church in a Secular Age

Tuesday, October 13, 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.
Christian Study Center Classroom

As a follow up to the 2015 Summer Institute, this group will pick up on James K.A. Smith’s distillation of the work of Charles Taylor,  How (Not) to be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor (Eerdmans, 2014). Ryan Fields, Associate Pastor at Creekside Community Church, will lead this session with a short presentation and facilitation of discussion.

Hear audio that inspired this event

If 'you are what you love,' then ...

Tuesday, November 10, 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.
Christian Study Center Classroom

As a follow up to the 2015 Summer Institute, this group will pick up on James K.A. Smith’s theme of “you are what you love” as it applies to the concept of discipleship. Chris Musgrove, Director of CRU at UF, will lead this session with a short presentation and facilitation of discussion.

Hear audio that inspired this event

Spring 2015 Resources: Presentation and Discussion for Everyone

Wednesday, February 25, 1 p.m.,
CSC Classroom.

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work by Matthew Crawford led by Richard and Phoebe Miles, co-founders of the Cade Museum for Creativity + Invention and leaders of our Undergraduate Seminars on Faith and Vocation Creating Wealth for the Community / Entrepreneurship track.

Tuesday, March 31, 1 p.m.,
CSC Classroom.

Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity by Eugene Peterson led by Ryan Fields, Associate Pastor at Creekside Community Church in Gainesville, FL and co-leader of our Undergraduate Seminars on Faith and Vocation Christian Ministries track.

Fall 2014: Building a Robust Theology of Vocation

Our Fall 2014 readings in faith and culture were in keeping with the Center’s initiative on faith and vocation and enlarged the inquiry to include people outside the university community. Clergy, campus ministers, and lay leaders joined in conversation and developed a robust theology of work within a trinitarian framework. This working/reading group aimed to seek a fuller trinitarian understanding of work that is rooted in the person and work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Readings included selections from a range of Christian traditions in the conviction that these traditions can ultimately complement and enrich one another.

  • September 30 – Establishing a Trinitarian Frame (excerpts from Dorothy Sayers and R. Paul Stevens)
  • October 14 – Human Work and the Work of the Father (excerpts from Ecclesiastes and Wendell Berry)
  • November 4 – Human Work and the Work of the Son (excerpt from Gregory Wolfe)
  • November 18 – Human Work and the Work of the Spirit (excerpt from Miroslav Volf)

Other 2014 Readings

Flannery O’Connor Spiritual Writings, Robert Ellsburg, Editor

While Blaise Pascal has provoked me to think about thought and C. S. Lewis has enriched my thinking about desire, Flannery O’Connor has transformed how I think about imagination. I only wish I had found her thirty years earlier than I did. A culture that is as full of possibilities, inventiveness, and creativity as ours does raise the question: How shall we think about imagination? Have you ever stopped to wonder what imagination does? Here is your chance to do so, and this will be only one of several points at which O’Connor will deepen your understanding of human experience and enrich your life.

Readings for Lent

Desiring the Kingdom by James K.A. Smith

In Desiring the Kingdom Smith makes us re-examine our most familiar behaviors in order to see their liturgical character and transformative nature — whether for good or ill. His perspective goes beyond an intellectual world-view and informative pedagogy to a formative one that aims for the heart, so that mind can follow with greater resolve. This book offers encouraging and helpful counsel as we consider the ways that our practices as embodied creatures change us. Smith shows us that following Christ is more than knowing rightly; it starts with loving rightly.

Recent Authors and Books Read By This Group:

  • James K.A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom
  • Norman Wirzba, Food and Faith (Cambridge, 2011)
  • Tim Keller, Generous Justice (Riverhead Trade, 2012)
  • Louis Menand, The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University (Harvard, 2010)
  • George Marsden, The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship (Oxford, 1998)
  • G. K. Chesterton
  • T. S. Eliot
  • Flannery O’Connor
  • Walker Percy
  • Dorothy Sayers
  • Studies and reflections on contemporary culture
  • David Brooks, Bobos in Paradise (Simon and Schuster, 2001)
  • Stephen Prothero, American Jesus (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004)
  • Wendell Berry, Life is a Miracle (Counterpoint Press, 2001)

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