2012 Lyceum Papers

Lyceum 2012: The Church in the Future

Title: Electronic Media and the Future of Religion (PDF | DOC)
Author: Rev. A William McVey

Today we live with the influence of television plus the Internet, iPods, iPhones, iPads, digital cameras, etc. Where does institutional western religion go in order to reach out successfully in a postmodern culture?

Title: Mega Church: God’s Great Work or the Evil Empire? (PDF | DOC)
Author: Rachel Simpson

The era of church as entertainment is winding down. Some have likened it to the housing or dot com bubbles, asking, when will it burst? Research supports what we hear in anecdote after anecdote, the simple fact that folks want to be involved and have responsibility in their spiritual development.

Title: Preaching the Word of God in the Church of the Future (PDF | DOC)
Author: Jennifer L. Sacks, M.A.

People hunger for something they cannot describe or name. They come to church because they seek to satisfy a spiritual hunger. They long to find a spiritual direction, the kind which comes from a relationship with God. It is the call of the church, and specifically its preachers, to feed that hunger, in fact, to discern the hunger a congregation cannot name and to address it weekly.

Title: Technology, Transience, and the Growing Crisis of Identity: Why Proponents of Inclusive Faith Need to Be Unapologetically Assertive (PDF | DOC)
Author: William Earle Klay, Ph.D.

The discovery of electronic computing in the mid-20th century has opened an unprecedented period of rapid scientific discovery. The discoveries of science are now being used by a highly creative form of capitalism in which a globalized economic system has emerged. Each in itself—science and capitalism—is a dynamic and powerful force for change. Perhaps most important from the perspective of conjecturing about the future of religion is that changes now underway in society are threatening our sense of who we are—our “identity.”

Title: The Science of Spirituality (PDF | DOC)
Author: Chuck Turner, Ph.D.

Is there any such thing as progress in spiritual understanding? Or does each generation just revise old beliefs to fit with passing social trends? If there is genuine progress, it is probably based on objective evidence, like progress in other kinds of knowledge. In fact, we can surely take a lesson from physical science: Knowledge grows from research and inference, based on hard facts.

Title: Turkey Worship and the Church in the Future (PDF | DOC)
Author: Thomas W. Shepherd, D.Min.

Nobody knows when our biological ancestors experienced their first moment of prayer. Most likely the event came before language itself, experienced nonverbally in feelings of exultation and apprehension for the majestic beauty and terrible dangers of the natural world. Individual spirituality and community-based religion appears to be universal. Anthropologists have noted that cultures without religion have never existed. There is even growing evidence that religious impulses gave rise to civilization itself.

Title: Unity’s Developing Tradition of Reinventing Church (PDF | DOC)
Author: Rev. Eric E. Page

Our modern word “church” holds several meanings: a building for worship, the worship itself, a group of people gathered for worship and a community, denomination or organization of Christians. Unity reinvented the understanding of church and Unity’s history also suggests some ways Unity can thrive as it serves new generations.

Title: U2 in a Unity Church: The Theology of U2 in Metaphysical Perspective (PDF | DOC)
Author: Jeanmarie Eck

The church of the future may be taking place in the sold-out stadiums of concert tours of internationally acclaimed rock band, U2. Music journalists, Christian ministers and fans alike have depicted the U2 concert experience as highly spiritual, even liturgical. There are an abundance of theological writings, spiritual blogs and fan sites dedicated to analyzing the religious themes and biblical imagery apparent in U2’s lyrics.