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Living Faith: Church in Society

Living Faith Conversation Guide

We are living in an era in which we are deluged by words every day. Whether it’s through texts, television, social media posts or otherwise, it’s never been easier to make our thoughts and opinions public. At the same time, though, many people lament that our society has seemingly lost its ability to talk coherently with people holding different viewpoints. When it comes to the social issues that define the important contours of our lives, the divide feels especially pronounced. It’s as if we are constantly talking past each other, rather than to each other.

This moment is ripe for reclaiming the Christian practice of moral deliberation, which is just another way of saying “talking together.” It’s a critical time for us to learn and practice the art of public conversation about social issues. In the ELCA, we have undertaken this deliberative process together many times, both through our bi- and triennial Churchwide Assemblies and the action of our Church Council. Our social context and political system are in dire need of examples of how to undertake respectful, healthy, and holistic conversations about major issues. The church, too, is ever in need of refreshing its own understanding of how to have these discussions in a way that doesn’t divide, but instead builds up, the body of Christ.

When we talk about tough issues together, we grow together through the Spirit’s work in us. This is why a team from the Office of the Bishop and a host of experienced contributors from within the Rocky Mountain Synod are offering a new series to lift up the educational and devotional power of the body of theological teaching in our ELCA Social Statements. In Living Faith: Church in Society will be a revitalized curriculum to offer current and insightful perspective on seven of our Social Statements, with rich resources to help anyone in a ministry setting lead a teaching and discussion series about them.

God calls us into community, and through God’s active guidance we can build that community into one that extends God’s hands and feet into the world. We are activated - through Scripture, personal experience, church tradition and the gift of reason - to exercise the art of compassionate conversation about real issues that matter to our lives today. Living Faith seeks to foster that art. We invite you to join us on the journey!

This discussion guide can be utilized by any small group or faith formation leader.  Office of the Bishop staff are also available to join for one or more of your sessions. Contact Deacon Erin Power (Assistant to the Bishop), Kurt Rager (Lutheran Advocacy- NM), or Peter Severson (Lutheran Advocacy-CO) to schedule.