The 2017 Fall Theological Seminar

Continuing a fourteen year tradition at St John’s, this year’s Fall Theological Seminar will also be featuring some innovations that, we hope, will make it easier for all of us to participate.

What Will We Be Reading?

The book that we will be reading and discussing is a New York Times’ bestseller entitled, The Benedict Option. Rod Dreher is the author; he is an Orthodox journalist, and he, in fact, spoke to our parish on this very subject back in 2008. The book focuses on how we can maintain our identity as Orthodox Christians and also interact with our culture in healthy ways. But since Christ the Lightgiver Bookstore is not yet up and running after the parish house remodel, you will need to order your own copy. Please go ahead and purchase the book and get started reading it, so you will be prepared to participate in this fall’s discussion in a thoughtful way.

How Often Will We Meet?

This will be the big change in our format: Not only will we be offering sessions at the parish on Wednesday night (at 7pm) and Saturday afternoon (at 3:30pm) as we have in the past, but, this year, we will also be offering Wednesday night sessions in Killeen and Georgetown and a Sunday afternoon session during Fellowship Hour. The Wednesday night session in Killeen will meet at 6:30pm in the Geico Office at 3400 E Central Expressway, Suite 103, and the discussion will be led by Randy Hardin. The Wednesday night session in Georgetown will meet at 7pm in the home of Michael and Linda Brown (30106 Hacienda Lane), and the discussion will be led by Michael Brown. The Sunday afternoon session will be led by Father Deacon Andrew Wilson and Michael Coleman; this is actually the College Group that has been meeting together for the past year or so, and they are graciously inviting folks who just don’t have any possible way to participate in the Wednesday night groups or the Saturday afternoon group to sit in with them at the picnic tables starting at 12:15pm.

Who Should Attend?

All of us should attend. The Benedict Option deals with a lot of important issues, but it’s not a difficult book to read. Also, while we do not offer child care for any of these sessions, one of the reasons we have so many options is so that couples can swap out when it comes to their participation: a husband can attend a Wednesday meeting, and a wife can attend the Saturday afternoon session—or one couple can look after the children of another couple on Wednesday nights and then the other couple can return the favor on Saturday afternoon.

Also, this is the sort of event that will appeal to a lot of folks who aren’t yet Orthodox and who aren’t yet ready to try Orthodox worship. By talking about issues that are common to all Christians and by getting to know some Orthodox people, these folks will have the opportunity to learn more about the Church, so please be thinking and praying about who you will invite to join you for these sessions.

What Does the Schedule Look Like?

We thought you would never ask. Here’s the rundown:

  • Week #1: Wednesday, Sept 20/ Saturday, Sept 23/ Sunday, Sept 24 Introduction & Chapter 1
  • Week #2: Wednesday, Sept 27/ Saturday, Sept 30/ Sunday, Oct 1 Chapter 2
  • Week #3: Wednesday, Oct 4/ Saturday, Oct 7/ Sunday, Oct 8 Chapters 3-4
  • Week #4: Wednesday, Oct 11/ Saturday, Oct 14/ Sunday, Oct 15 Chapters 5-6
  • Week #5: Wednesday, Oct 25/ Saturday, Oct 28/ Sunday, Oct 29 Chapter 7
  • Week #6: Wednesday, Nov 1/ Saturday, Nov 4/ Sunday, Nov 5 Chapters 8-9
  • Week #7: Wednesday, Nov 8/ Saturday, Nov 11/ Sunday, Nov 12 Chapter 10 & Conclusion

Don’t We Do This Every Year?

Of course, the unspoken coda to that question is “So, it’s no big deal, right?” Actually, it’s a huge deal. Because most of us live our Christian lives thinking about what we are going to do next year—which is a great way to put off making any sort of progress in our relationship with the Most Holy Trinity or in a relationships within our parish community, but it’s not, finally, a very satisfactory way to live because decades go by, and not only are we not the person we set out to be, but our parish is not the place we wanted it to become. So just decide that you are going to go ahead and buy the book and start to read it and that in the third week of September you are going to show up in Killeen or Georgetown or during Fellowship Hour or on a Saturday afternoon and that you are also going to see if that friend of yours from work would like to attend with you.

Your life—and the whole world—could be different.

No kidding.

an unworthy priest