“Course Corrections” – An online class with Pam Shellberg

Event Date: February 27 – May 5, 2017

When the apostle Paul is confronted with the resurrected Christ on the road to Damascus, he is rendered blind by a brilliant light from heaven. The storyteller reports that although Paul’s eyes were open, “he saw nothing” (Acts 9:8). For those of us facing forceful disruptions to the stories of our lives, this is a palpably familiar experience. With eyes we know are open, we look out at our families, our work or our churches, at our communities or our nation—sometimes at our very selves—with a confused and uncomprehending gaze.  Known features become oddly unrecognizable and we simply cannot see how the stories will continue to unfold.

This was true for Paul, too, and his story has the power to brilliantly illuminate our own spiritual narratives. Tradition celebrates Paul’s story as one of conversion, clarity, and conviction, but that is really to read only the story’s epilogue. Its middle chapters are more complex—and much closer to our own personal and communal stories than we might imagine: radical ruptures with the past; disorientation, loss, and grief; an urgent need to make sense of things that no longer make sense; the struggle to find words with which to speak newly comprehended truths. read more

In this course, we plumbed the story’s wisdom for those times when, like Paul, we experience changes on the roads we are traveling, to the stories we’ve been telling, and in the communities to which we belong. We generated our best responses to the experience of dislocation that often accompanies radical disruptions in our lives, open ourselves—faithfully—to the hope and promise within our transformations, and equipped ourselves to be companions and guides to others in their times of change.

Here is what we expected you to experience, learn, and accomplish in this class:

  • an intensive biblical/exegetical study of selected portions of the book of Acts and Paul’s letters
  • the formation of biblical and theological frames for your experiences of change and discontinuity
  • guided analyses, using the biblical texts and others as interpretive keys, of the change circumstances facing your churches and faith communities
  • the opportunity to create a sermon series, blog series, teaching unit, retreat plan, or the like – your uniquely generative response – with which to lead others through individual and communal experiences of disruption and change