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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Study guides
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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2/1/2014
February 2014:

Fear not

Lutherans have work to do when it comes to sharing our faith, and yet personal stories of God and invitations to church are still the best ways to spread the gospel. It’s sometimes hard to break the ice, but as ELCA pastor and writer Dena Williams shows, with creativity and a little bravado you can talk about Christ to anybody.

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

Exercise 1: Fearful?
Exercise 2: Ashamed of the gospel
Exercise 3: Share your faith
Exercise 4: Spread the word
Exercise 5: Best kept secret?
Exercise 6: God stories
Exercise 7: The hard sell
Exercise 8: Everyday evangelism squad
Exercise 9: Train and educate

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2/1/2014
February 2014:

Two women named Ida

Women in America have made great gains in the 94 years since they received the right to vote. More and more hold leadership positions—as evidenced by our recently elected presiding bishop, Elizabeth A. Eaton, the first female to hold that post. And yet women still suffer greatly from discrimination, objectification, oppression, prejudice and abuse. Ingrained attitudes are hard to change, but they can be with awareness-raising and advocacy—things ELCA social statements aim to do.

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

Exercise 1: Patriarchal culture
Exercise 2: Sexism
Exercise 3: Objectification
Exercise 4: Domestic abuse
Exercise 5: Kairos moment
Exercise 6: Gender of God
Exercise 7: God images
Exercise 8: Language

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January 2014:

Renew and renovate

Our denomination faces unprecedented challenges today. Social, technological and economic upheavals in the last 50 years have totally changed the religious landscape, and many of our congregations suffer from dwindling participation and shaky finances. But if we focus on growing people, we won’t have to worry about growing our churches.

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

Exercise 1: Attendance dropping
Exercise 2: Does church = building?
Exercise 3: The Great Commission
Exercise 4: Baptismal vows
Exercise 5: Your growth plan
Exercise 6: Feed my sheep
Exercise 7: Passion points

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1/1/2014
January 2014:

'We are all geeks'

Science and religion have had a rocky relationship for centuries, but especially since Copernicus (b. 1473) and Galileo (b. 1564) faced official church censure for challenging the biblical view that the sun revolved around the earth. The heliocentric solar system was only one of many scientific discoveries to spark outrage in certain church circles. Today, Christians on the extreme still fight vociferously against long-accepted mainstream scientific principles, such as evolution, the age of the earth and climate change. Lutherans haven’t been a big part of those debates. In fact, Lutheran scientists are working to help raise awareness and understanding of the harmony between science and faith.

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

Exercise 1: Different, interrelated
Exercise 2: Religious scientist?
Exercise 3: Christians anti-sicence?
Exercise 4: The Bible
Exercise 5: Creation proclaims God's glory
Exercise 6: Science and ethics

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Older adults: Assets to our church

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