Got questions? We do too. Catechumenate is a place to go deep, with other people.

Apr. 17: What's this year been about?

I mean, for you? Have you grown? Struggled? Changed your mind? Tonight in Catechumenate, we're going to go deep and try to make some sense of it all. And like we do every week, we'll be doing it together. While tonight isn't the last Catechumenate for the semester, it is the last one in which we'll be meeting in our small groups. So, even if it's been a while since you've been, think about coming back and reconnecting with that group one more time. As always, we gather for food at 6:30pm, and the main event is at 7.

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Apr. 10: What do we do with doubt?

Is it a thing to overcome? To pursue? To accept? Could it be that doubts help drive us to depths we've yet to explore? This evening in Catechumenate, we're going deep on doubts. Those moments when we find ourselves unable to suspend our disbelief: they can feel so disruptive. But it's also possible that beyond and beneath that disruption, there is a peace that surpasses understanding. Maybe? If you haven't been to Catechumenate before, there's nothing stopping you from joining us now, even as we approach the end of the semester. Come because tonight's question interests you, or come and see if you might want to make a habit of it next fall. We meet at 6:30pm in the Wick for food and coffee, and then at 7pm, we share a short presentation and conversation in small groups. We'll finish a little after 8.

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Apr. 03: Which stories bear repeating?

When you gather with friends or family, are there certain stories that get told again and again? Are they funny? Sad? For the people who share the story, does the telling and the listening together change something? This evening in Catechumenate, we're going to do some storytelling. Together, we'll go deep on the stories that are important to each of us, and to the families and friends that help make us who we are. Got a good story? Bring it. We want to hear it. We'll gather for snacks at 6:30 p.m., and the main event starts at 7. After a short presentation, we'll break into small groups made up of students, colleagues, and community members. See you there!

Mar. 27: Holy Week 2024

This week is one of special reverence for many Christians. Catechumenate will gather around a catered, family-style meal in the Wick. Unlike most weeks, we'll begin our program during dinner, so come on time! Students, faculty, staff, and community members will connect over the meal and then look forward to the stories that are made present in the ensuing Holy Week worship. We'll be done a little after 7:30pm.

Mar. 20: What is courage?

How does it relate to fear? To vulnerability? How do we get it? And what does it look like when it shows up in your life or the lives of others?
After two weeks off, Catechumenate is back! We'll gather for snacks, coffee, and connection at 6:30 p.m. At 7 p.m. we'll take up the topic of courage, how it shows up in the gospel accounts of Jesus' life and ministry, especially toward the end. Then, we'll kick the conversation into small groups of students, faculty, staff, and community members where, among other things, we'll reflect on the people who have really demonstrated courage to us.

Feb. 28: Does life require sacrifice?

Or can you have it all? Are there causes, values, and people to which you are so devoted, you'd be willing to give something up in order to remain faithful to them?
These questions and others, prompted by a text I heard last week in church (and, if I'm honest, by listening to a little too much Lizzo) are the topic of Catechumenate tonight. We'll gather in the Wick for Mountain Goat pizza, salad, and dessert at 6:30pm, so come early and enjoy the fellowship. Then at 7pm, I'll give a short presentation before we kick into small groups made up of students, faculty, staff, and community members.

Feb. 21: Who are your people?

And who do you want to surround yourself with? Tonight in Catechumenate we're going deep on the question of belonging, where we find it, the people who give us that sense of being known and valued, and how we give that gift back to others by drawing the circle a bit wider, day after day. As we continue making our way toward Easter, I'll also go a little deeper into Jesus' story and some of the specific ways, according to the narratives we have about him, that he seemed to create belonging among folks who had previously existed at the margins.

Feb. 14: What do you want your life to be about?

...and if someone told your story, how would they tell it? Tonight at 7pm in the Bairnwick Women's Center, Catechumenate will pick one of the themes of Ash Wednesday - specifically, how the brevity of life impacts how we live today.

Feb. 07: How do we know what we know about God?

Absurd or not, people do talk about God, who or what God is, who or what God isn't. So what is the basis for that knowledge? Sacred texts? Personal experience? Philosophical reflection? And what role does community play? Is there something to learn about God from one another?

Jan. 31: What Good is Silence?

This evening, Dr. Sid Brown, professor of religious studies, will join Catechumenate for a conversation with me about meditation in both the Buddhist and Christian traditions. Following up on last week's question, "What needs to change?", you're invited to go deep with us as we consider the impact silence and contemplation can have on individuals...and on individuals' ability to engage deeply and in a sustained way with a world in need of healing.

Jan. 24: What Needs to Change?

Maybe it's something on campus, in your community, in your family, in the world. Or maybe in this new year, you're seeking a new direction for yourself. I wonder, how would the world look differently if you could wave a magic wand and make a change? And, since you don't have a magic wand, what role do you have in the change?

Nov. 29: What gives you hope?

When the challenges of the present seem too heavy to bear, what's the thing, as Emily Dickeson wrote "...with feathers - that perches in the soul - And sings the tune without the words - And never stops - at all."

Nov. 15: What's the difference between love and justice?

Love has such positive associations, but the word "justice" calls to mind judges, politics, and the massive challenge of how the world's 8,000,000,000 humans live in some semblance of peace with one another and the planet of which we are a part. What's love got to do with that?

Nov. 08: What do we do with our grudges?

The ones we hold against other people, the ones we hold against ourselves...what do we do? What should we do? When things go wrong, how do forgiveness, reconciliation, and boundaries relate to one another?

Oct. 25: What do we mean when we say "love"?

Are there different ways to love? Is love always good? Mark Hopwood, associate professor of philosophy, said recently that love is like a lot of philosophical concepts: "You think you understand it until someone asks you to explain it, and then you realize that you don't."

Oct. 11: What's the point of prayer?

What's the point of prayer? What do we think we're doing? What do we think happens as a result? Are there different reasons to pray? Different ways to pray?

Oct. 4: Feeling exhausted?

Have you ever come to the end of a weekend feeling more exhausted than you entered? Have you wasted away an afternoon doing nothing, only to realize at the end you're still not rested? This evening, we're talking about rest in Catechumenate. What's the purpose of it, how do we get it, and how is it connected to our spirituality? So, come catch your breath in All Saints' Chapel with us.

Sept. 27: In what do you put your trust

When someone says "I believe in Bigfoot" the word "believe" might be functioning differently than when one says, "I believe in God." Folks smarter than me have noticed that in the first case the word has a lot to do with existence, but in the second case, the word belief has much more to do with things like trust and commitment. Which raises even more questions: what do you trust? Who do you trust? How do you know they are trustworthy?

Sept. 20: How do you read the Bible, and why would you?

How do you read the Bible, and why would you? This evening at Catechumenate, we'll dip into the weird, funny, inspiring, and provocative world of biblical narrative. There are as many ways of approaching the Bible as there are people who pick it up, and tonight is an opportunity to embrace that diversity and go deep together. After a brief presentation, in our small groups we'll take a look at one text you're almost certain to hear this Sunday in Episcopal, Catholic, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches. It's a parable - a story told by Jesus - that provokes interesting questions about fairness, mercy, justice, equity, and probably some stuff that you'll notice that I haven't.

Sept. 13: What's the difference between spiritual and religious?

Is it a matter of degree?  About rules and institutions?  Is there a difference?  This evening, we'll be going deep on the practices and habits that sustain us, give us a sense of peace, a sense of connectedness to the world around us and to something larger than ourselves. Are they spiritual? Are they religious? Are they both?

Sept. 6: What's the character of a good community?

How does a community serve you? How does it serve others? I'll kick off the week's discussion with an invitation to imagine a community that you want to be a part of and the values and practices that would inform it. We'll consider the reality of humans as social creatures and consider how we can shape our togetherness in ways positive and negative. Like last week, the content I present will be informed by my own religious identity as a Christian; and like last week, you're invited to bring your own religious or spiritual identity with you.