Friday & Saturday, April 28-29
South Campus Sanctuary
1320 Cambridge Blvd
Columbus OH 43212
Because this is a Jesus Seminar on the Road event through the Spiritual Searcher ministry, the registration is handled by the Westar Institute. To register online, please click ‘register now’ button above . Ticket sales are available on Sundays April 2, 9 and 23 before / after Worship Services at both campuses.
The lunch pre-order is separate from registration.
Saturday (optional) Lunch is provided by Freedom a la Cart. Pre-orders handled by the Burkhart Center (separately from the Westar Institute). To pre-order boxed lunches, click here for online payment form (open till April 26!)> View the full description of boxed lunch options below. (To mail in your order, send checks payable to First Community Church, Attn: Natalia Jones, 3777 Dublin Road, Columbus OH 43221 no later April 17)
These two scholars, both “Fellows” of the Westar Institute, are experts in the New Testament and early Christianity, and will present lectures and discussion. As we finalize specific details of this Spiritual Searcher weekend, our working title of “Alternative Christianities” acknowledges that Drs. Lillie and Miller will be exploring the many and varied types of Christian groups and beliefs in early Christianity—that there was never just one “Orthodox” church that grew out of the Jesus movement. They will then explore what this might mean for the followers of Jesus in our day in an “emerging” environment.
The Westar Institute is the home of the original Jesus Seminar group that included people like Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan and John Shelby Spong and many others. Our Spiritual Searcher event is what is known through Westar as a Jesus Seminar on the Road.
Celene Lillie, Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary, is Director of the Tanho Center for a new New Testament and the author of the new book, The Rape of Eve: The Transformation of Roman Ideology in Three Early Christian Retellings of Genesis (2017). She is also director of translations for A New New Testament (2013).
Robert J. Miller, Ph.D., Claremont Graduate School, is Rosenberger Professor of Religious Studies and Christian Thought at Juniata College in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Helping Jesus Fulfill Prophecy (2016) and Born Divine: The Births of Jesus & Other Sons of God (2003).
Schedule & Topics
Friday, April 28 | 7 pm – 8:30 pm | Christianity Outside the Empire
Christian tradition is more than a single story. Though it tends to represent Christianity only from inside the Roman Empire, at least one text, the Gospel of Thomas, represents a Christian experience from outside the Empire. Thomas shows little awareness of issues central to the texts that eventually became the New Testament. What is the origin and experience of this unique community in the larger picture of early Christianities? (Miller & Lillie)
9:30 am – 10:30 am | Varieties of Spirituality
The 1945 discovery of the Nag Hammadi library proved that earliest Christianity was not really “Christianity,” at all. It was a movement filled with dozens of gospels, romances, treatises,
apocalypses, and letters. Terms like heresy and gnosticism reduce and hide this rich variety of spiritual practices. How can we talk about Christianity in light of these previously unknown texts, and how do their insights speak to our world today? (Lillie)
11 am – noon | Wisdom-Centered Communities
Jesus was many things to his early followers. The biblical gospels portray him as messiah, miracle worker, martyr, and savior, but also as a teacher of wisdom. Most early Christian communities
focused on Jesus the crucified savior, but a few developed into wisdom-seekers. The Gospel of Thomas opens a window into this fascinating alternative form of ancient Christianity. (Miller)
Lunch break from noon till 1:30pm; Optional boxed lunches (at $15 per box) will be provided by Freedom a la Cart catering. Details and pre-order form below.
1:30–2:30 pm | Practices rather than Beliefs
Where did the notions of orthodoxy (“right belief”) and heresy (“wrong belief”) come from? They are not only troubling but historically inaccurate. In fact, ancient pluralism offered far more ways to discover and participate in the church than just dividing groups into believers and dissenters. What are some of those possibilities, and how can they be fostered in today’s communities? (Lillie)
3-4 pm | Alternative Christianities
A period of discussion, questions, and responses with Miller and Lillie.
- Individual Rate $75
- Pre-registration Rate (by April 14) $60
- Additional Family Members $50
- Friday Evening Lecture $20
- Saturday Morning Workshop $30
- Lunch will be provided by Freedom a la Cart
- Saturday Afternoon Workshop $30
Refunds are available until two weeks before the event if requested in writing, minus a $10 administrative fee. No refunds will be given after that date. Call Bill Lehto at the Westar main office line: (651) 200-2372
Saturday Lunch Options (available only thru separate online form or at the Sunday pre-registration tables on April 2, 9 and 23):
If you plan to attend the Saturday Workshop Session(s) and would like a boxed lunch, we will have Freedom a la Cart catering with the following options at $15 per box. (Includes – chef’s seasonal side, salty snack, sweet treat).
TURKEY TANGO (Hand carved turkey breast, chimichurri, roasted red pepper sauce, mayo, crisp lettuce)
PRETTY BIRD (Locally-sourced Ohio roasted chicken breast, mango compote, blue cheese, sage mayo, crisp lettuce)
HAMALETTA (Hand-carved ham, salami, provolone, artichoke pate, housemade olive salad, almond aioli)
RED GOAT [v] (Arugula, goat cheese spread, roasted vegetable tapenade)
BURLY BOHEMIAN [vegan] (Herbed polenta patty, arugula, roasted vegetable mix, roasted red pepper sauce)
Call Spiritual Searcher Office at 614 488.0681 ext 105
or email Natalia at NJones@FCchurch.com