Have you ever wondered why people still argue over what the Bible means, or seem so inspired by the principles and stories inside? Are you still pondering what’s worth a lifetime of study and work, which has the real potential and hope to transform our world? Or maybe you just really want to know what exactly the Scriptures say about…?
Well, here’s your chance to find out a bit more. “Considering the Clergy” – 7pm to 8:30pm in the Aye Pod café of Moray College – is an open evening on Monday 11th February 2013, for anyone interested in finding out more about Theology studies, whether just for their own interest, or as a stepping stone to ordained ministry.
Why study theology?
Across Scotland, there are currently a large number of churches vacant (i.e. without ministers). In Elgin, the High Church is just one example of the vocational opportunities clearly there. As these churches generally provide high-quality pastoral care for their members and adherents, not to mention hosting charity events, free youth clubs and such like, there is a significant knock-on effect for the local communities when minister-leaders cannot be found. Moreover, there are real opportunities for innovation, from Street Pastors (hopefully arriving in Elgin on 13th April 2013) to Christians Against Poverty, a debt-counselling service which recognises the importance of life-affirming communities and relationships in unpicking these complex problems.
Theology – basically the study of God, focusing on the Bible – is also a fascinating subject. Scriptures have shaped so much of what has happened in world history, from the civil rights’ struggle against racism (led by the Baptist preacher, Martin Luther King) to the modern vegetarian movement (inspired by the Reverend Cowherd – one to “google”). Most Christians believe in the power of timeless truths and practices, revealed by God to people that can seem bent on self-destruction but are also capable of amazing brilliance.
Followers find that only this faith can truly satisfy individual’s deepest needs and provide a vision for the world – God’s beautiful creation – as it should be. Similarly, they find strength to keep enduring in tough times in remembering the astonishing sacrifice of Christ, who persevered through one of the most agonising forms of execution, the Roman cross, and even reached to forgive those who condemned Him to death. This – Christians believe – was not some horrendous mistake, but part of God’s redemption plan, bringing the best of outcomes (resurrection) even out of what is the worst of evils known to man. From doctrines of “penal substitutionary atonement” to “eternal glory through temporary suffering”, Christ’s living legacy is monumental with the number of books written on the subject only scratching the surface.
Whilst awful atrocities have been perpetrated in the name of this religion, these arguably stem from that fundamental moral sickness the Bible calls sin. Likewise, problems often result from the Scriptures being distorted, twisted out of context or the meanings of words misunderstood, providing yet more reasons for the Bible to be properly studied and appreciated in a rigorous, academic environment that is also committed to supporting students of whatever background or ability in their learning.
Who’s going to be there?
There will be several short talks, each followed by opportunities for questions, designed to give you a wide variety of insights into Theology studies and church ministry:
- A member of staff from Moray’s UHI partner in Dingwall, Highland Theological College, will explain what non-denominational means and their offer of courses at all levels. Their Access Course (actually administered through Moray College) is used either as a route onto the BA, or as a stand-alone course, often studied “for interest only”, which many ordinary church members have found very useful in helping them find out more about the faith.
- three local ordained minister (Steven Thomson from the Church of Scotland, Colin Morrison from the Free Church and Graham Swanson from the Baptist Union) will do short five minute presentations about their work.
- a student perspective from one church youth worker (Lewis Campbell) who studied the Access to Theology course remotely from Moray College and used some of our Video Conferencing and networking technology
So how does it work?
No questions are off-limits, including those that might be considered controversial, because Christians believe in a respectful, tolerant search for and pursuit of the truth. Afterwards, there will be a chance for everyone to stay and talk further over light refreshments.
The format of the evening will be an open seminar, which means visitors can drop in and out as they need to, depending on their schedules. We appreciate that people have busy lives and, as long as you are considerate towards everyone else in the room, some coming and going is understandable.
Please, if you are interested, put this date in your diaries and we look forward to introducing you to “Considering the Clergy”. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.