I don’t do this very often, and the reason I’m doing this is because I believe in it so much. I have a colleague, Brad Nassif, who singularly combines evangelical and Orthodoxy piety, and Brad is now offering a seminar for local churches. I’m urging you to consider inviting Brad (and Barb and Melanie if you can) to your church for a Saturday morning seminar on Christian spirituality.
A number of churches are interested. Here’s a brief about Brad’s ministry:
Ancient Spirituality for Busy Folk
How would you and your church like to discover some early sources for living the Christian life today?
Christians all over the map — especially evangelicals — are discovering an old source for Christian living in our modern world: the ancient wisdom of the earliest spiritual writers. Sometimes called the “desert fathers,” these early Christians were absorbed with living a life of loving God and loving others. To do this they devoted themselves to prayer and fasting, to good works, and to solitude.
This seminar will examine the nature of earliest Christian spirituality. We’ll provide portraits of some of some of the great personalities — the fathers and mothers — of the 4th-6th centuries, and the book that contains some of their wisdom known as The Sayings of the Desert Fathers. Most of the time will be spent exploring key themes in ancient spirituality that are taken directly from their writings, and suggest how those themes may relate to our daily lives in the 21st century. Depending on time, a sample of topics include:
Spirituality and the Workplace
The Goal of Christian Living: To Love as God Loves
“Athletes of God: ‘Training’ and Ordering the Passions
The Word in the Desert: Scripture and the Quest for Holiness
The ‘Cell’ is Your Teacher
“Abba, give me a word that I may live!”
Before coming, you are encouraged (though you don’t have) to purchase and bring with you a copy of Sayings of the Desert Fathers, Translated by Benedicta Ward (Cistercian Publications, revised 1984).
Bradley Nassif teaches Biblical and Theological Studies at North Park University (Chicago) and is a member of the Antiochian Orthodox Church. He is author of the forthcoming Westminster Handbook to Eastern Orthodox Theology (Westminster John Knox Press, 2009). Click here to e-mail Brad or call him at 773.244.6213 to contact him about speaking to your group.