Philosophy & Theology

Faith & Reason Newsletter Spring 2012

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The Texas Lutheran University Theology & Philosophy Newsletter Spring 2012 • Volume 15 Issue 2 Our 2012 Theology Symposium: "Unity Through Knowledge: The Body of Christ in Seguin" Ashley Buhrts, Sophomore Theology Major This year was an exciting year for the Theology Department here at TLU. Alex Cook and I, with some assistance from Dr. Beck and other members of our Theology faculty, planned and implemented a very successful symposium titled, "Unity Through Knowledge: The Body of Christ in Seguin." We had six speakers and student responders over the course of February 7 – 9, 2012, each representing the positives and negatives of each person's own Christian denomination. I learned much from each of them, as well as from our moderator, Jeremy Roy, the Director of Pastoral Care at the Guadalupe Regional Medical Center. Chaplain Roy did a great job of respectfully keeping the speakers within the bounds of their time limits. He had very insightful input on many of the topics, and he helped the students and the members of the audience relate to what the speakers were saying. It would have been interesting to see him as one of our official speakers. Father Robert DeLong from Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church proved that not all priests have been priests the majority of their life, as he had been a priest for only a little over a month when he spoke at the symposium. He was a very good example of the fact that priests are people, not some sort of holy robots. The most touching part of his speech was his story of street preaching, and how a person has never truly heard the gospel until they have heard it on the street from a thirteen year old child. Pastor John Roberts from Friedens United Church of Christ taught me that the United Church of Christ is very different from the Church of Christ. The United Church of Christ congregation in which he serves is accepting of everyone, no matter who the person is. As a visiting person said to him, "This church is just Six Flags over Jesus!" Pastor Roberts and Pastor Jim Taylor from Mosaic Community Church of the Emerging Church faith brought in their own theme to the symposium, which is the call in Matthew 25 to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, nurse the sick, and generally help people. Pastor Roberts also provided a very appealing chapel sermon on Wednesday morning. He spoke about how we are on a construction project to rebuild the church. We make heaven come to earth by fulfilling Matthew 25. When we fulfill that call to help people and make heaven come to earth, we restore Christian unity. I had never thought about it in that way before I heard him speak. He stated that everybody needs God, and we all have a role to play, because through us is how God's will can be done. Pastor Taylor serves in a very unique church in that it only meets once a month for a worship service, but the congregation meets many times a week to fulfill Matthew 25 by providing a health clinic and participating in many ministries to help people. When the congregation does meet for a worship service, it is a service where everyone can talk about whatever is on each person's mind. It is more of a discussion than a preaching session. His presentation was very interesting, and I feel that Pastor Taylor and Pastor Roberts have opened the door to much discussion about Matthew 25 here at TLU. On Thursday night, Pastor Tim Bauerkemper of the Lutheran Mission of Seguin (now Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church) did a great job of pointing out disharmonies among people in the Lutheran Christian faith and how they have never been totally united, but that many Lutheran Christians are increasingly serving God together with other Christian people. Father Kevin Dellaria of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church very eloquently spoke about the different hierarchies and rules among Episcopalians, and how not every church of his tradition clings very closely to the official rules. Many people do not know about the different authorities of the Episcopalian church, so this was very good to hear in his speech. Our last speaker of the night, Pastor Charles Purnell from Wesley-Harper United Methodist Church, was very informative about the United Methodist Church's history, and he did a great job of explaining how his church is united with the other Methodist churches in this county. Overall, we were very pleased with this year's Theology Symposium. Next spring we will be hosting another Theology Symposium, which will be a continuation of this year's theme. We are planning to bring in a more diverse group of speakers to hear about denominations that many people rarely have a chance to hear about. We believe that hearing the positives and negatives of different denominations will help to promote Christian unity and strengthen the body of Christ. We hope to see a great turnout at the continuation of this Theology Symposium during the spring 2013 term!

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