New Fall 2017 Courses
Title: Capitalism, Neoliberalism, and Christianity
Teacher: David Hilfiker
Dates: Tuesdays from 7pm-8:30pm, Oct. 3rd - Dec. 5th
“Capitalism, Neoliberalism, and Christianity” is a critical look at our economic system in the light of Christian values. The class will examine the basic assumptions of free-market capitalism (that underlies our mixed-capitalist economic system) along with the economic strengths and weaknesses of the capitalist model. We will then explore the conflict between the fundamental assumptions of capitalism and values crucial to our Christian faith.
In the present, capitalism has been hijacked by the neoliberal radical free-market theology that fundamentally distorts the capitalist model. Capitalism is not just an economic system; its assumptions have seeped their way into our political and moral thinking in ways that most of us don’t recognize. While capitalism is easily the most powerful engine for economic growth in human history, there are crucial issues that it cannot handle: inequality, environmental destruction, care of the vulnerable, and so on.
Furthermore, neoliberalism has become a primary tool of oppression, fundamentally attacking and eviscerating American democracy. Christians in their role as citizens must understand what capitalism can and cannot do and how neoliberalism threatens our country. Finally, we will examine possible futures: What is the likely future if we continue with the current economic system? What are the alternatives to free-market capitalism? Is it too late to upend the capitalist project?
David Hilfiker was trained as a Family Practitioner and spent seven years in a rural Minnesota clinic and ten years at Community of Hope Health Services, an inner-city clinic in Washington, DC. David's family lived for five years at Christ House, a 34-bed medical recovery shelter for homeless men. In 1990, David left Christ House to found Joseph’s House, an eleven-bed home and community for formerly homeless men with AIDS, where his family lived until 1993. He continued working there until 2005. No longer in active medical practice, David works toward the creation of a just society through teaching, writing and speaking. David is also the author of several published works.
Title: Christian Ethics for the day-to-day*
Teacher: Ray McGovern
Dates: Tuesdays from 7pm-8:30pm, Oct. 4th - Nov. 29th
Moral theologians often describe ethical behavior in words like these: “We are called to do good and avoid evil.”But wait.If Jesus of Nazareth followed that guidance, he could have died comfortably in his bed.Jesus did not avoid evil, he confronted it – and is counting on us to do the same.
We will take a close look at how Jesus behaved, share of our own personal experiences, and try to figure out what we are called to do when evil stares us in the face. Our sharing will be supplemented by films and guest speakers, including whistleblowers. Readings/assignments will be distributed weekly.
Ray McGovern leads Speaking Truth to Power/Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the Church of the Saviour. A former CIA analyst of Russian affairs, he holds a Certificate in Theological Studies from Georgetown University. His website is raymcgovern.com.
*This course fulfills one of the COS core membership requirements.
Title: Faith and Money: Making the Connection
Teacher: Mike Little
Dates: Wednesdays from 7pm-8:30pm, Oct. 4th - Nov. 15th
Money is an emotionally charged issue, often generating anxiety and guilt mixed with gratitude. What is your relationship to money? Do you love it? Hate it? Do you abuse it? Ignore it? What does the Bible say about money? What does Jesus teach about money? What does our culture say? Do you live with a sense of abundance or a sense of scarcity? We will help each other wrestle with these questions and more as we explore the biblical, personal, and cultural dimensions of our relationship to money.
Our time together will be spent in exercises, small group discussion, sharing of weekly written reflections, as well as specific practices that help us discover how we can live in God’s economy of enough for all.
Mike Little is the Director of Faith and Money Network. Mike fosters relationships with individuals and churches, leading reflections and discussions on the role of money in our lives as people of faith and in our work as the community of faith. Mike has spent more than two decades working with Church of the Saviour ministries and is co-pastor of Bread of Life Church.
Title: Confronting Racism Discussion Group
Teachers: Julian Forth and Zach Spoerl
Dates: Wednesdays 7pm-8:30pm, Oct. 11th - Nov. 29th
This group is being formed in order to encourage those who are carrying forward the work of racial justice in their faith communities. We know this work can be hard, discouraging, and often unsupported by the very people you are hoping to work with. We have met with many people who feel they are part of a very small group within their church/non-profit/community committed to confronting racism. This group is meant to accompany these people on their journey, offering weekly teachings to empower their work, as well as space to process and decompress from the difficulties along the way.This course is inspired by the recent lecture given by Dr. Drew Hart at the Festival Center.
This group will be facilitated by the Festival Center's Executive Director Julian Forth, and Soteria Director Zach Spoerl.
About Soteria Community School
Rooted in the inward/outward tradition of The Church of the Saviour, the Soteria Community School (formerly the Servant Leadership School) offers a unique approach to theological education that emphasizes an integrated process of personal and social transformation. Spiritual practices are paired with serious study, as intentional relationships across cultural divides come alongside immersion in movements for justice. Located in the diverse Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC, it empowers people from all walks of life for their next step in our shared journey.
Developed in partnership with faith communities and organizations on a similar path, the School’s programming is organized around six themes: call in community, prayer and contemplation, Scripture and the Christian tradition, economic and earth justice, liberation from oppression, and peace and reconciliation.