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Study guides
7/1/2014
July 2014:

Economic and income inequality

As we live into the 21st century, our nation is undergoing dramatic changes in social and economic life. Many people are working harder just to stay even, and security is more tenuous in employment and retirement. Yet statistics show that the wealthiest among us are doing better than ever. Is there a better way?

Your download includes three pages of exercises and discussion questions, plus a copy of the article from The Lutheran.

Exercise 1: The golden rule
Exercise 2: Problem of the poor
Exercise 3: Job shifts
Exercise 4: The American dream
Exercise 5: Income inequality
Exercise 6: Public vs. private
Exercise 7: Tax fairness
Exercise 8: Minimum wage
Exercise 9: Money choices
Exercise 10: Social Security

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7/1/2014
July 2014:

Same table

The presence of convicted sex offenders in our communities and our congregations raises conflicting issues for Christians. While we are commanded to love our neighbor, welcome the stranger and tend to the imprisoned, we are also entrusted to protect our children and defend the most vulnerable in our midst. How would your congregation find a way between these two responsibilities? Ministering to any “returning citizens” who are released from incarceration demands thoughtful deliberation and preparation, but outreach to those who are convicted sex offenders involves particular risks and requires extra effort. The best advice is to proceed with caution, study carefully, debate openly, and develop firm policies and procedures.

Your download includes three pages of exercises and discussion questions, plus a copy of the article from The Lutheran.

Exercise 1: Captive to sin
Exercise 2: Sinner and saint
Exercise 3: Open worship
Exercise 4: Paid the dues?
Exercise 5: Safety and protection
Exercise 6: Policies, precautions
Exercise 7: Model response

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6/1/2014
June 2014:

Accessing church with social media

In the beginning there was email, and we saw that it was useful. Now there are hundreds of ways to communicate by text, voice, photo or video—not only via computer but with all sorts of portable electronic devices. Social media has transformed how we communicate with one another, providing both challenges and opportunities for Christians.

Your download includes three pages of exercises and discussion questions, plus a copy of the article from The Lutheran.

Exercise 1: My social media
Exercise 2: Media inventory
Exercise 3: Media mission
Exercise 4: Ministry potential
Exercise 5: Connections
Exercise 6: Newspeak
Exercise 7: Media survey
Exercise 8: Sacred media?
Exercise 9: Out of it?

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6/1/2014
June 2014:

Duty & delight

It’s been called the toughest job that humans can possibly take on—raising children. What could be more important than nourishing, forming, guiding and teaching our youngest family members to be healthy, strong, compassionate adults? Yet parenting isn’t taught in schools or colleges. Mothers and fathers kind of muddle through—with God’s help.

Your download includes three pages of exercises and discussion questions, plus a copy of the article from The Lutheran.

Exercise 1: Parental 'mission statement'
Exercise 2: Metamorphosis
Exercise 3: Parent lessons
Exercise 4: Duty
Exercise 5: Delight
Exercise 6: Sacrifice
Exercise 7: Tall cedars
Exercise 8: Gifts of God
Exercise 9: Setting limits
Exercise 10: Scripture reflections

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5/1/2014
May 2014:

Connecting God's love

About one in four adults has a mental illness in any given year,” according to the Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/basics/risk-factors/con-20033813). “About half of U.S. adults will develop a mental illness sometime in their lives.” They are our family members, co-workers and friends. Not only those who live with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, dementia or major depression, they are all of us who cope with less debilitating issues, such as phobias, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsion, anxiety or panic. Mental illness is part of the human condition that challenges us in our desire to fulfill Christ’s command to love one another as ourselves.

Your download includes three pages of exercises and discussion questions, plus a copy of the article from The Lutheran.

Exercise 1: Definitions
Exercise 2: In our midst
Exercise 3: Stigma
Exercise 4: Shame
Exercise 5: Fear
Exercise 6: Hard to love
Exercise 7: Learn more

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5/1/2014
May 2014:

Lutherans, Catholics forget who's who in rare ecumenical community

For centuries following Martin Luther’s excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church in 1521, it was unthinkable that Lutherans and Roman Catholics would worship together and form community. Yet Lutherans and Roman Catholics of Mission of the Atonement in Beaverton, Ore., have developed an organic congregation based not on the things that divide them, but that which unites them. We can learn much from them.

Your download includes three pages of exercises and discussion questions, plus a copy of the article from The Lutheran.

Exercise 1: Christian bonds
Exercise 2: One in Christ
Exercise 3: Laws of love
Exercise 4: Strength in differences
Exercise 5: Eight points of light
Exercise 6: Full communion
Exercise 7: Love is a choice
Exercise 8: Beyond JDDJ
Exercise 9: Unity at 500?

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4/1/2014
April 2014:

Tradition

In three years Lutherans will celebrate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg—the Oct. 31, 1517, event that began the Protestant Reformation. No wonder Lutheran churches are steeped in tradition. The challenge for us is to use our traditions as a springboard into the future rather than a shackle keeping us in the past.

Your download includes three pages of exercises and discussion questions, plus a copy of the article from The Lutheran.

Exercise 1: What's tradition?
Exercise 2: My favorites
Exercise 3: Picture this
Exercise 4: Bridge to the past
Exercise 5: Family traditions
Exercise 6: Change is hard
Exercise 7: Worship wars
Exercise 8: Into the future

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4/1/2014
April 2014:

Locked up, locked out

Reality tells us that life is sometimes hard, giving us bad breaks, misfortune and big problems to solve. Under the best of circumstances it can take all we have just to find or keep a job, make a home and raise a family. For people who have served a prison sentence or tangled in the criminal justice system, the obstacles can be insurmountable. But God’s people can help.

Your download includes four pages of exercises and discussion questions, plus a copy of the article from The Lutheran.

Exercise 1: We're No. 1
Exercise 2: Close to home
Exercise 3: Words's worth
Exercise 4: What is prison for?
Exercise 5: Fit the crime
Exercise 6: Done the time
Exercise 7: Family matters
Exercise 8: 'The Scarlet Letter'
Exercise 9: Poverty connection
Exercise 10: Four-pronged approach

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3/1/2014
March 2014:

Maneuvering today's rocky vocational road

Employment hasn’t recovered from the 2008 economic crash. Many people are still looking for work, and many who have found work had to take jobs that pay much less than the ones they lost. As communities of Christians, we can help our unemployed brothers and sisters find jobs, train for new ones and envision a world with sufficient, sustainable livelihood for all.

Your download includes three pages of exercises and discussion questions, plus a copy of the article from The Lutheran.

Exercise 1: Unemployment woes
Exercise 2: Let's help
Exercise 3: 'Do justice'
Exercise 4: Labor pains
Exercise 5: Work rewards
Exercise 6: Livelihood for all
Exercise 7: Work ethic
Exercise 8: Falling fortunes
Exercise 9: Consumer choice

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3/1/2014
March 2014:

Entertaining unsettling questions

Do you believe the old expression that the only stupid question is the one that goes unasked? Notice that was a question in itself? Wait! So was that one. Fact is, questions are the way we learn things. More than that, the best of questions help us see our current reality in a new light. Good questions can help us get out of old ruts and live in new patterns of life. Religious questions can bring us closer to God. What questions do you have?

Your download includes three pages of exercises and discussion questions, plus a copy of the article from The Lutheran.

Exercise 1: 'Holy questions'
Exercise 2: Unsettling questions
Exercise 3: Lingering questions
Exercise 4: Revolutionary questions
Exercise 5: Daring questioners
Exercise 6: Jesus' questions
Exercise 7: What is this?

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December issue

DECEMBER issue:

Advent: Waiting together

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