As part of the continuing education program of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Lifelong Learning and Advanced Degrees is adding a new studies series to its annual line-up of offerings in the Seminary’s Lay Institute of Theology. In addition to the fall and spring Bible studies, offered at the Seminary for more than 25 years to audiences that have numbered more than 100, a new winter series will be introduced on November 3, 2010.
Louisville Seminary Professor Emeritus David A. Steere, a nationally recognized leader in pastoral care and counseling, will present a study on the topic of confession, called “Try Honest Confession, It’s Good for the Soul.” The series will be held on ten Wednesdays between November and February, from 10:30 a.m. until noon, at the Laws Lodge on the Seminary campus. Tuition is $40 for the series, which runs November 10, 17, 24; December 1, 8; January 5, 12, 19, 26; and February 2.
After retiring from the faculty of Louisville Seminary, where he taught pastoral care and counseling for 34 years and founded the Marriage & Family Therapy program, Professor and Distinguished Alum David Steere (BD ’56) continued his ministry of marriage and family therapy in private practice. A chance encounter with a client awakened Steere’s interest in recovering the lost art of confession. A woman said the reason she came to Steere for counseling was because “she was a liar”—weary of telling everyone she was “fine” when she wasn’t, lying even to herself. Upon sharing her self-evaluation with Steere, she sighed with relief, and said, “There—honest confession is good for the soul.”
This conversation led Steere to examine classic confessions by Augustine, Saint Patrick, Leo Tolstoy, and Kurt Vonnegut, as well as those of women confessors such as Julian of Norwich, Margery Kemp, Karen Armstrong, and Elaine Pagels. He compared them with current confessions he was hearing from his clients. He concluded that traditional confessions of sin and confessions of faith are two parts of a full confessional process, which forms the core of vital spiritual experience.
Steere published these concepts in his book, Rediscovering Confession: The Practice of Confession and Where it Leads (Routledge), which was released in 2009. Participants in the study series will have the opportunity to partake in experiential exercises from the book.
“We are delighted to be expanding our Lay Institute of Theology with David Steere’s rich work on confessions, which bridges the disciplines of behavioral sciences and theological perspectives of life,” said Dr. David Sawyer (MDiv ’69), director of Lifelong Learning and Advanced Degrees and Professor of Ministry at Louisville Seminary. “This study will offer participants a refreshing approach to personal spiritual development and growth that is deeply rooted in the Christian faith and draws from the wisdom of Dr. Steere’s insights about the human condition.”
Before the new winter study is offered, however, the fall Bible study will be held on the campus, beginning September 22. Pastor-scholar John Gulden will return to offer an exploration of the various biblical references and meanings of “Kingdom,” in his six-week study, called “The Reign of God.”
Much of the Bible pertains to the establishment of nations and governance by rulers, said Gulden. In fact, he adds, “the one topic that is addressed by Jesus more than any other is the Roman Empire and competing claims for our allegiance. Our objectives will be to explore the story of Israelite kings, the nature of empires and their rulers, and the competing claims presented by ‘the reign of God,’ known also by many other names throughout the Bible. We will also dare to wrestle with contemporary issues of Church and State and their spiritual implications, and to grow in faith as we consider once again our citizenship in this mysterious and radical ‘reign of God.’”
The fall Bible study will be held on Wednesdays, from 10:30 a.m. until noon, September 22, 29; October 6, 13, 20; November 3, 2010, at the Seminary’s Laws Lodge. Tuition is $40.
Participants may register for both studies online at www.lpts.edu/lifelong-learning, or by contacting Laura March at 502.895.3411 or 800.264.1839, ext. 382.
Dates for the spring Bible study, led by The Rev. Janice Catron, are April 16, 23, and 30; and May 6, 13, and 20, 2011.