Grace's Adult Education Committee is busy planning Sunday morning programs for the fall of 2020, with both special guests and expert speakers from our congregation. Programs will take place online via Zoom. Links to these programs will be shared on the Grace website and in the Sunday Is Coming weekly email newsletter.
Here's a preview of fall programs:
Race for a Vaccine: Synthetic Biology and COVID
Ted Anton, DePaul University
Synthetic biology changes the DNA of living organisms to offer new medicines and healthier food and energy sources. This science fiction-like tinkering was generating controversy before COVID-19. Now a group of researchers are at the forefront of a global crisis. This talk addresses the spiritual and social concerns of cutting-edge science straight out of movies like Jurassic Park.
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The Truth About Conspiracy Theories
Rush University Medical Center, ret.
Conspiracy theories are currently being used to persuade people to buy into explanations involving politics and health but are based on falsehoods that stretch reality. There are reasons that people fall for such deceptions along with the related myths, fake news and gaslighting. This presentation by Grace member Jim Kerns considers how they develop, how Christians might be susceptible to such thinking, the danger they pose and how to gracefully interact with friends and family who might be holding these views.
The Presidential Election
Amy Black, Wheaton College
We are entering an incredibly divisive campaign season in the midst of a global pandemic. How might we prepare for the election, and how can we demonstrate love for God and neighbor along the way? Dr. Amy Black, Professor of Political Science at Wheaton College, will discuss some findings from political science that help explain why politics are so contentious and offer some thoughts on how we can model Christian virtues as we approach the upcoming election. We'll leave ample time for Q&A.
Locality Is Morality
Stephen G. Ray, Jr., Chicago Theological Seminary
Why does evil flourish more in some places than in others? Discussions about ethics and morals are not simply national conversations. People choose between good and evil each day at the local level. This talk explores how local differences impacted both the Holocaust and lynchings in the Deep South, helping us understand how we can fight racism in America today, right where we are.
Comedy and the Need for Grace
Andy Pederson, Concordia University
Comedy as a genre is often thought of as "less than" because we enjoy the laughter, and anything we enjoy must not be good for us. Comedy can also be crude or offensive, thus making it seem less enriching than drama or tragedy. But comedy, rightly viewed, is the clear expression of humankind's need for grace. Jerry Lewis once said, “Comedy is a man in trouble,” and that is what we see when we watch or read comedy—someone who cannot be saved by their own merits. In comedy, we see ourselves, says Andy Pederson, and “there is, to my mind, nothing more realigning than understanding the need for salvation, and that I can't do that on my own.”
The Radical Martin Luther King Jr.
Jonathan Eig, Author
A former Wall Street Journal reporter, Eig has written five books, including "Ali: A Life," a highly acclaimed biography of Muhammad Ali. There are few recent full-scale biographies of Martin Luther King, and Eig will talk about his extensive work on a new one. The "radical" King, who called for economic and social justice, is often sanitized as a "unifying" figure in corporate and political statements (by both parties) in light of George Floyd's death and Black Lives Matter. King's radical legacy needs to be remembered today.
Faith and Mental Health
Molly Arnoldt, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois
Molly Arnoldt, senior development director of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, will lead a discussion of faith and mental health challenges in light of Covid-19, along with an LSSI mental health expert. The programs of LSSI have been deemed essential during this unprecedented time. Arnoldt said, "More than 50,000 people depend on LSSI and we continue to be there for them as we operate within the guidelines provided by Gov. Pritzker and the Centers for Disease Control to ensure the safety of clients and staff."
Best Books of the Year
Elizabeth Palmer, Christian Century