Finney Adult Classes for April and May, 2015
In April, Pastor Steve will be teaching three classes on three notable Christians of the 20th Century: Thomas Merton, Mother Teresa and C. S. Lewis. In May, we will spend time with the Christian classic, Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis.
April Finney Class – Christian Writers
April 12 – Thomas Merton (January 31, 1915 – December 10, 1968)
The Trappist monk, Thomas Merton (“Brother Louise”) wrote some 70 books on spirituality and social justice. He lived a fairly wild life as a young man. He eventually became a member of Gethsemane Monastery outside Bardstown, Kentucky. He was an inspired writer. His first novel, The Seven Story Mountain, shares his life and his journey to become a monk. It sold 600,000 copies in its first year.
"But the man who is not afraid to admit everything that he sees to be wrong with himself, and yet recognizes that he may be the object of God’s love precisely because of his shortcomings, can begin to be sincere. His sincerity is based on confidence, not in his illusions about himself, but in the endless, unfailing mercy of God.” (No Man Is An Island, p. 204)
April 19 – Mother Teresa of Calcutta (August 26, 1910 – September 5, 1997)
Born in Macedonia, she eventually was called to India where she was a teacher in a convent. On a train to Calcutta, she heard a “voice,” asking her, “Why don’t you love me?” As she listened to the voice, she understood the voice was Jesus. He wanted Teresa to care for the poor as she would care for him. The request echoed Jesus in Matthew 25 who said, “As you care for the least of these, you care for me.” The publication of her letters, Come Be My Light,” revealed her inner struggle with depression and darkness.
Mother Teresa was once asked “How can she ever bind the draining wounds of a dying leper?” She said she can’t. But, she can bind the wounds of Christ. She said, “We are not here for the work, we are here for Jesus. All we do is for Him....We are not social workers, not teachers, not nurses or doctors, we are religious sisters. We serve Jesus in the poor. We nurse Him, feed Him, clothe Him, visit Him, comfort Him in the poor, the abandoned, the sick, the orphans, the dying.” (The Simple Path, pp. 93-94)
April 26 - C.S. Lewis (November 29, 1898 – November 22, 1963)
Clive Staples Lewis known as “Jack,” to his friends, was an Oxford and Cambridge scholar. He lived his early years as an atheist. At a particular moment in his life, he found himself becoming a Christian. He became one the best known Christian apologist of our times. His books varied from fantasy novels like, The Chronicles of Narnia, to his guidebook on faith, Mere Christianity. We will begin our study of Mere Christianity on May 3.
"Can it be that the more perfect the creature is, the further this separation must at some point be pushed? It is saint, not common people, who experience the “dark night.” It is men and angels, not beasts, who rebel....The “hiddenness” of God perhaps presses most painfully on those who are in another way nearest to Him, and therefore God Himself, made man, will of all men be by God most forsaken?" (Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer p. 44)
May Finney Class - Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis beginning May 3.
C. S. Lewis is one of the most well-known Christian writers of the 20th Century. Once an atheist, his critical reflections on Christianity led to his conversion. When Lewis uses the word, “mere,” he is not using it meaning, “insignificant.” He is referring to the basic, fundamental, and root beliefs of Christianity. The book is a helpful primer in explaining some of the essentials of faith and understanding.
Mere Christianity was originally heard on the radio. In February, 1941, Lewis was invited by the BBC to give a series of live radio talks on Christian faith. These talks were known as “Right and Wrong: A Clue to the meaning of the Universe.” He developed his own 15 minute lectures. Additional time was given for him to answer questions people sent him in letters. The live radio lectures were given in the August of 1941, Wednesday evenings - 7:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. They would be made into a book a few years later.
The books are available on-line or at your local bookstore.