“Got Virtue? The Liberating & Mirthful Depth of Christian Belief” Series

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Join us at 7 p.m. on Tuesday evenings in November and December for the second series in the 2012-2013 year at the Rattlesnake Bar and Grill with the presentations beginning at 7:30 p.m.  We hope to see you there!

Is it possible to become a virtuous person? If so, how do you obtain the virtues in your life? Or to put in another way, how do you “get virtue”? It’s an old question, one that, for example, the philosopher Aristotle dealt with extensively in the Nicomachean Ethics around 350 B.C. He articulated and expanded upon an intuition that is held by many people, namely that virtue is acquired through habit, that is, through practicing the virtues until they form a virtuous character.  For many people such a path to a virtuous life, however, seems long, difficult, and perhaps even the cause for despair in light of the experience of moral failure. In this series we look at how Jesus Christ, who came into the world “full of Grace and Truth” (Jn. 1:14) in pursuit of you and your good, changes your assumptions about the pursuit of virtue. Join us to be “surprised by virtue” in light of the liberating Gospel of Grace.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

“Small Talk on Three Knotted Theological Virtues: Humility, Gratitude, and Generosity”

Christus im Hause des Pharisäers, Jacopo Tintoretto

Rev’d Dr. Malcolm A. Reid, Assistant Rector and Director of Outreach at Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Gordon College

Beginning with the early Fathers much has been written on the unity of the virtues.  Whatever word is used the idea is to ponder how the virtues are not just interrelated and interdependent—knotted– but also how they enrich each other in our existential experience of them. This talk is a thought experiment on how this may be true and enlightening of three indispensible theological virtues, humility, gratitude and generosity.

Fr. Malcolm is Assistant Rector and Director of Outreach at Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church. From 1968 to 2007 he taught in the philosophy department at Gordon College.  He serves on the boards of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund, Pittsburg, PA, and Uganda Christian University Partners, Dallas, TX.  He was born and raised in New Zealand and,with his wife Dolly, returns each January or February to swim and fish, read and write, and visit old friends.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

“Happy are They that Laugh: Humor as Christian Virtue”

Rowan Atkinson

Rev’d Gareth C. Evans, Priest in Charge, Church of the Good Shepherd, Acton, MA

Laughter is the outward sign of our innate ability to recognize absurdity, poke fun at ourselves and to connect with others in a light-hearted way. It also speaks to our desire to forgive, restore and reframe reality as it arises. So is having a good laugh integral to our relationship with God as well as necessary for healthy living? And the correction answer is… “I feel an overwhelming urge to explore these issues over a pint while watching funny clips from Monty Python and other purveyors of religious humor.”

Gareth Evans, is an ex-pat gen-X Brit living and working in Acton where he is the priest-in-charge of The Church of the Good Shepherd. He believes that having a sense of humor is a virtue in that it helps to cultivate humility, forgiveness and silly behavior. He is very curious as to how laughter and humor work in sacred settings and how religious humor works in popular culture. In his spare time he goes to the dentist a lot and has a passion for gooey toffee pudding and sticky chocolate cake.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

“The Theological Virtue of Hope”

Hope in a Prison of Despair, Evelyn De Morgan

Dr. Dominic Doyle, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Boston College

Got hope? If so, which kind? If not, where can it be found? This talk will unpack what Christians mean by the theological virtue of hope by exploring the following questions: Where does true hope come from and what is its goal? How is it similar to, yet different from, ordinary human hopes? What is the difference between hope, optimism, and presumption? How does it relate to the other theological virtues of faith and charity? Can positive psychology teach Christians anything about hope? There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion to tailor the talk to your interests and concerns.

Originally from London, Dominic studied theology at the University of Cambridge, then, after two years teaching literature and history at an international school in Colombo, Sri Lanka, came to Boston for graduate studies at Harvard University and Boston College.  He now teaches theology at Boston College’s new School of Theology and Ministry. His research interests include theological anthropology, philosophical theology, and spirituality, with a particular interest in the medieval theologian, Thomas Aquinas, and in the twentieth century Jesuit thinker, Karl Rahner. His first book, The Promise of Christian Humanism: Thomas Aquinas on Hope (Crossroad) has just come out and he plans to write a second book on Modern Heresies.

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