In April, as we wrap up the semester, Grace Hour will turn its focus to Paul’s letter to the Romans.
If you grew up in an evangelical protestant tradition, you are probably accustomed to reading Romans as Paul’s definitive treatise on the problem of faith v. works (but, then why did Paul keep writing after chapter 4?). If you grew up in a liturgical tradition, you have sat in a funeral listening to the words of Romans 8 trying to have Paul’s confidence: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38-39). Famous theologians like Luther and Wesley and less well-known followers of Jesus have had their hearts set afire and their lives changed by spending time “in Romans”. This April, we will take up Beverly Roberts Gaventa’s invitation to linger there and to take in the theological scenery, breathing the graced air as we dare to see ourselves and the world around us with courageous honesty.
Being “in Romans”, as Gaventa puts it, is bound to upset some of our assumptions, regardless of what we grew up hearing about this letter and the man who wrote it. One thing that will make this study of Romans different from studies you may have participated in previously is that we will spend a significant amount of time in the often-ignored second half of the letter. Pick up your Bible and a copy of Gaventa’s text When in Romans (optional), and join us for dinner and conversation at Bohemeo’s on Tuesday nights, 7-8:30 pm. As usual, dinner is on Canterbury.
The Road Map for the Romans Series at Grace Hour
April 3: Unpacking our Paul Baggage and Assessing the Horizon
April 10: A Tour of Romans 1-8
April 17: The Heart of the Letter: Romans 9-11
April 24: Ethics for the Liberated