Brave Church / Hard Topics

We're trying a new midweek offering for the fall of 2022: Brave Church/Hard Topics. Using the book Brave Church: Tackling Tough Topics Together by Elizabeth Hagan (2021), we'll explore topics that Christians often find difficult to discuss each other, either because they are too personal or too controversial. This fall, topics include sexual orientation, domestic violence, mental health, and Christian nationalism. We hope that participants will not just learn different perspectives related to the issues but also how to have productive conversations around hard topics. The intent is not so much to change what we think (though it’s certainly ok for all of us to grow in our understanding) but rather how we engage in conversation on these topics with people who have similar or different opinions.

The class will meet on Zoom from Sept. 22 - Nov. 17 on Thursday evenings from 7:00-8:30pm. You can get the Zoom link from the weekly E-News emails or by contacting the office at Grace.

Facilitators: Pam Evett, LInda Hitchens, Cheryl Outland, and Nelson Thurman.

BC Book

Class Schedule

Each week, we'll explore a topic, either using a chapter from Brave Churchor other materials. We'll provide links to the other materials in the schedule below so you can prepare in advance of the class. We'll also include questions we'll explore based on the readings. Additional materials may be added as we move forward, so please check back often.

9/22    Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces

Read: Chapter 1: Let's Talk in Brave Church

Scripture Passage: Acts 2:1-12

    • How might this passage guide how we become a community over these sessions?

Questions for Discussion (based on p. 16-17)

    • In what ways do you feel safe in your current faith community [Grace]?
    • In what ways do you feel encouraged to step into a brave space to engage in respectful, loving dialogue?
    • In what ways do you feel unsafe in sharing your perspective?

Covenant Rules: See p. 20-23 of Brave Church

    • “RULE 1: We will accept conflict and commit to the way of kindness.
    • “RULE 2: We will take responsibility for how our own words are received.
    • “RULE 3: We will ask permission before we challenge someone’s views on a subject.
    • “RULE 4: We will show respect for one another and graciously receive feedback if someone feels disrespected.
    • “RULE 5: We will use ‘I’ instead of ‘you’ statements. We will not accuse or attack.”
    • RULE 6: Give everyone who wants to speak an opportunity to do so.

You can download the covenant with more detail here:  Brave Church Covenant

Here is the chat log for the discussions on this topic: BC-HT Chat Log 9-22

9/29  Sexual Identity/Sexual Orientation (Part 1)

Read: Chapter 6: Let's Talk About Sexuality in Brave Church

Resources on Sexual Orientation and Sexual Identity:

Questions for discussion:

    • Have you ever felt like you didn't fit in or were not welcome in your community, school, or church?

Read: What Does the Bible Say About Homosexuality?

Bonus Material: Sermon "I'm Not So Sure About...Homosexuality and Gender", in which Rev. Amy Morgan, First United Presbyterian Church, Loveland, CO, addresses the scripture passages used in judgment of homosexuality. If you want to follow along with the video, her sermon begins at 42:20.

Questions for discussion:

    • How do make sense of the different interpretations of the Bible on homosexuality?
    • What guides you most? What do you struggle with?
    • Have you thought that your interpretation of the Bible was unpermitted or devalued by your faith community?

Here is the chat log for the discussions on this topic: BC-HT Chat Log 9-29

10/6  Sexual Identity/Sexual Orientation (Part 2)

Read: Chapter 6: Let's Talk About Sexuality in Brave Church

Selected Presbyterian (PCUSA) Resources:

10/13  Mental Health

Read: Chapter 3: Let's Talk About Mental Illness in Brave Church

10/20  Domestic Violence

Read: Chapter 4: Let's Talk About Domestic in Brave Church

10/27  Christian Nationalism (Part 1)

Reading Materials: TBD

11/3  Christian Nationalism (Part 2)

Reading Materials: TBD

11/10  Christian Nationalism (Part 3)

Reading Materials: TBD

11/17  Let's Keep Talking: What's Next?

Read: Chapter t: Let's Keep Talking in Brave Church