In addition to Dr. Willie James Jennings' lecture, we invited a panel of faculty -- Dr. Eric Barreto, Dr. Amy Marga, and Dr. Christian Scharen -- to "think out loud" with us on the pedagogical implications of his work for our mission together at Luther:
reflects on the benefits of an "
ethnography of hope
" at the
. She quotes Thomas E. Frank, a seasoned observer of church life, noting that he "writes about turning to ethnographic practices of listening as a way to escape what he perceived to be market-driven perspectives prevalent in church-improvement literature. He found most of that writing to be largely prescriptive, tending to depict a congregation 'as a franchise in a service industry, completely missing the remarkable
Dr. Christian Scharen
, in his book
Faith as a Way of Life: A Vision for Pastoral Leadership
, writes compellingly about the challenges of discerning God in the midst of popular culture.
Unlike certain Christian communities who want to put a box around specific forms of culture and label them "safe" or "unsafe," Dr. Scharen argues for God's ability to speak to us through a variety of media -- the challenge is discernment.
Here's an excerpt:
"Sin understood as acting badly and grace as the power
Dr. Christian Scharen reflects upon the need for deep attention to culture as a way of discerning the big questions people are really asking: