Tag Archives: Bethel Seminary

How can I find meaning in my work? A Twin Cities area October mini-conference addresses the question


Faith work t-shirtOne more post related to my faith-and-work activities. The Bethel Work with Purpose initiative team has put a lot of time and care into developing a well-resourced conference on work and vocation. The other day we sent out an invitation to pastors and seminary alumni, and I’d like to extend this invitation to Grateful to the Dead readers too. If this question of how our faith and work lives relate to each other, or questions about finding meaning and “a vocation” in work, engages you, please join us for this “mini-conference.” If you know someone who could benefit from the conference, please let them know:

Greetings,

I write to invite you to join us at MISSION:WORK, a mini-conference for workers and their pastors (seminary.bethel.edu/work-with-purpose), Thursday night, Oct. 10, and Friday morning, Oct. 11.

Recent Barna research shows that young adults of the Millennial generation who have remained active in their churches are three times more likely than those who “dropped out” to say they learned to view their gifts and passions as part of God’s calling (45% versus 17%). They are four times more likely to have learned at church “how the Bible applies to my field or career interests” (29% versus 7%).

The truth is: churches benefit in many ways from equipping their members–especially young adults–for applying their faith to their work. But “most churches,” says Barna president David Kinnaman, “leave this kind of vocation-based outcome largely at the door unless these students show interest in traditional church-based ministry.” Continue reading

Don’t do this in any academic paper at any level. Anytime. Ever.


Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones in action. Write like he would!

Friend Marc Cortez over at WesternThM has provided some wise and important advice for all academic writers at all levels on how not to kill your essay in the very first line. And yes, Indiana Jones figures in this sage wisdom.

A sample:

“So, I would like to try to explore the possibility of….”

Just stop.

This sentence and its ilk taint the beginnings of far too many otherwise good papers. Using a sentence like this to describe your paper is like building a solid table and then ripping one of its legs off. It may still be standing, but no one will want to use it. With one sentence, you’ve cut the legs out from under your own research paper. Continue reading

The revived Christian History magazine gets some press . . . and keep your eye out for the “Handbook of Christian Thought on Hell”!


Nice of Bethel University to recognize the re-starting of Christian History magazine. Yesterday Bethel posted the following on their internal website. Note the upcoming handbook (July) and issue (September) listed at the end of the article. The CH team is excited to be bringing them to readers; if you’re not on the mailing list, visit www.christianhistorymagazine.org and you can get on.

I’m especially excited about the little “Christian History Handbook of Christian Thought on Hell” that the intrepid Jennifer Trafton is putting together right now for printing next month. It will include a full timeline of Christian interpretations of the scriptural evidence on hell, profiles of key thinkers and their ideas, and a bibliography for further reading. (And I get to do the medieval profiles on folks like Anselm, Aquinas, and Dante.)

I hope many in the church who have been prompted by “the Rob Bell controversy” to look more deeply into this doctrine will find in this handbook a helpful guide to key ideas and sources. In keeping with Christian History‘s usual style, the handbook is intentionally descriptive rather than evaluative or argumentative (a rarity in this field), so, we hope, a particularly helpful resource for those looking for unbiased information on a controversial topic.

[UPDATE: Looks like the following is also on Bethel’s public website, here.]

Reviving Christian History

June 10, 2011 | 9 a.m.

By Heather Schnese

Chris Armstrong, professor of church history at Bethel Seminary
St. Paul, is managing editor of “Christian History” magazine

The magazine Christian History, formerly owned by Christianity Today International, ceased publication in 2008 due to recessionary pressures. But Christian History is now being published again thanks in part to Chris Armstrong, Bethel Seminary St. Paul’s professor of church history. Continue reading

Resources for Radical Living: The book and course, version 2.0–the revised case studies


This is the third in a series of posts on the Resources for Radical Living course(s) and book by Mark Van Steenwyk and me (Chris Armstrong). The first post presented the original version of the course. The second presented the revised structure of the course and book.

This third post presents the revised list of case studies.

Even more important, this post asks you, dear readers, to comment on these case studies and suggest any primary or secondary readings that you think will help Mark and me as we work on these new case studies and our students as they plunge into this challenging area of “radical Christian living.” Continue reading

Resources for Radical Living: The book and course, version 2.0–the revised structure


Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

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Last summer, Mark Van Steenwyk and I taught  a Bethel Seminary course called HS-ML729: Resources for Radical Living. Now we are preparing to teach the course again in Bethel’s winter 2011 term, in both a Masters and a DMin mode.

Version 2.0 of the course will be different from version 1.0, both in its basic structure and in the figures and movements we will be studying under the rubrics of the prophetic life, the compassionate life, the penitential life, the devotional life, and the communal life.

We will still explore, under each of these five thematic areas, two figures/movements from Christian history and today–making a total of 10 case studies. But both the framework and the case studies will change. This post outlines the new and, we hope, improved structure. The revised list of case studies (figures and movements) we will cover in version 2.0 can be found here. The first post in this series of three presented the original version of the course. Continue reading

Resources for Radical Living: The book and course, version 1.0


After a busy first half of the summer, Mark Van Steenwyk (of the Missio Dei community and the www.jesusmanifesto.com webzine) and I met a few days ago to update our “Resources for Radical Living” course in anticipation of teaching both a Masters and a DMin version of it this coming winter. Over several hours of woodshedding, we made some significant changes, which will also ripple through to our proposed book. I’ll post on the changes in a moment, but first, here are the basic rationale and structure for the course and book, including the figures and movements we used in the first iteration of the course:

[See also post 2 of this series, describing the revised structure of this course, and post 3, giving the revised set of case studies]

Resources for Radical Living

American Christians today—especially 20- and 30-somethings—are going to church and asking: “Is that all there is?” They are aware that those outside the church don’t want to hear about their religion unless they can see it in the way they act. They are aware of the critique leveled by such teachers as Ron Sider and Tony Campolo—that evangelical Christians just don’t look that different from the rest of the world in key areas of behavior and social practice. Continue reading

Sasquatches, unicorns, and . . . the history assignment that works


Re-post from the Christianity Today history blog:

Sasquatches, Unicorns, and . . . the History Assignment that Works

I’ve been teaching church history at Bethel Seminary for five years, and I think I’ve finally found one of these mythical creatures.

by Chris Armstrong

Unicorn_in_Captivity.jpg

The Fountain of Youth. The Pot of Gold. The Holy Grail. Every professor can add to this list one more legendary object of desire—and indeed, this may be the most elusive and valuable of them all: The Assignment That Works.

This is the piece of coursework that seems quite regularly, really almost magically, to elicit from students their best, most engaged and thoughtful writing.

I’ve been teaching church history at Bethel Seminary for five years, and I think I’ve finally found one of these mythical creatures. Continue reading