Classes or Series Taught by Gordon
Here are some of the diverse courses Gordon has taught for other groups. Courses range from single, solo lectures to series of six or eight presentations.
- Charter of Christian Freedom: This six-part series explores the revolutionary message of the apostle Paul in his Letter to the Galatians. This apostolic letter has sparked many creative movements in the history of Christianity. Gordon’s book, Charter of Christian Freedom, can be used as a textbook and study guide for the course.
- Why Does My Bible Read the Way It Does?: A three-part presentation that explains why we find variations in how our English Bibles read. Lecture 1 looks at how the books that compose our present Bible got chosen for inclusion (canonization). Lecture 2 looks at the manuscript transmission of the Bible. Lecture 3 looks at translating the Bible into English. The series answers many of the questions lay people have about how we got our Bibles.
- Exodus–Paradigm of Salvation: This eight-session series unpacks the Old Testament book of Exodus. The study explores how the exodus event provides the paradigm for salvation for both the later Jewish and Christian faith traditions. The last lecture looks at the enduring influence of the exodus story on Christian worship and spirituality.
- In the Beginning: This three-session series opens up and explores the two Hebrew creation stories that we find in Genesis 1-3. We seek to understand the views of the world and of human beings that we find in them. These views are foundational for much of Jewish and Christian theology.
- Getting Bitten by the Bible Bug: A one-session presentation on principles of Biblical interpretation, using Psalm 77 as an exercise.
- Who’s In? Who’s Out?: This three-part series looks at the task of defining a religious identity as seen through the perspective of the Biblical books of Ezra/Nehemiah, Ruth, and Jonah. This course uses the Bible to look at the challenges involved in welcoming or not welcoming newcomers into an established community.
- If the Tree is Good–The Four Gospels and Christian Morality: This four-session series explores the moral task of Christians as seen through the lens of the four gospels. The series begins with how we can read the gospels faithfully, then moves to a discussion of the Kingdom of God, then the Sermon on the Mount, and finally to the challenge of how Christianity can make people practice the good.
- The Gospel of John: This two-session series offers an orientation to the Fourth Gospel. It discusses the gospel’s authorship, dating, major characteristics, and themes. This series is designed to provide lay people guidance in reading this influential gospel.
- Voices Out of the Firestorm: A three-part series that looks at Lamentations, Habukkuk, and Jonah. All are differing responses to the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem.
- The Petulant Prophet: A one-session lecture on the book of Jonah and its astounding message of God’s love.
- A Cause for Laughter: A one-session lecture on the New Testament proclamation of Christ’s and believers’ resurrection. This New Testament proclamation is contrasted with 1st century Greek and Jewish beliefs about death and the afterlife.
- Intensive Bible Study: Gordon has taught the following Biblical books in extended classes–Genesis, Exodus, Ruth, Ezra/Nehemiah, Psalms, Song of Songs, Lamentations, Daniel, selected minor prophets, the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and John, I Corinthians, Galatians, 1 Peter, and the Revelation of John.
Given sufficient advance notice, Gordon can prepare customized courses/ presentations to address a congregation’s particular need or interest.
- Love Divine, All Loves Excelling: A four-part series on the doctrine of the Trinity. The series explores why the church came to have a doctrine of the Trinity, what it means, its practical applications, the feminist challenge to the traditional naming of the persons of the Trinity, and the significance of the doctrine for worship and spirituality.
- The One-Minute Summary of the Christian Faith: A three-session series on the doctrines expressed in the Apostles’ Creed. The first session also looks at the role of creeds in the life of the Christian church.
- Swimming in the Sea: An eight-part series on Christian practices of prayer, from simple requests to contemplative prayer. The series delves into ecumenical prayer traditions, drawing upon prayer as practiced in Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant churches.
- O Come, O Come, Emmanuel: This four-session series explores the multi-layered meaning of the Advent season through an analysis of four well-known Advent hymns. The season focuses our attention on the coming of Christ into the world and into our lives in the past, the future, and in the present.
- Authentic and Appropriate: A one-session presentation on principles of Presbyterian worship, as they are expounded in the Directory for Worship of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Designed to help train new Presbyterian Elders just elected to office.
- Journey into Silence–Centering Prayer: A one-session introduction to the contemplative prayer preactice of Centering Prayer.
- Lectio Divina–Turning Bible Reading into Prayer: A one-session introduction to an ancient Christian spiritual discipline that turns Bible reading into a way of cultivating a personal friendship with Christ.
- The Spiritual Journey–Hero’s Quest or Exodus?: This one-session lecture takes a look at two models for the spiritual journey. One is the hero’s quest, a model popularized by the writings of the late Joseph Campbell. The second model is the Old Testament story of the Exodus. The lecture also compares and contrasts the two models for the process of spiritual growth and maturation. The one lecture can also be broken into two lectures.
- Voices in Christian Poetry: Three English Poets: This three-session series explores how Christian poets express their faith and experience in their verse. The three poets examined are Francis Thompson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and T.S. Eliot.
- The Cross in the Circle: A six-part series on the story of Celtic Christianity. A seventh lecture can be added that looks at what Celtic Christianity may say to Christians in the 21st century. It is titled: “Hearing the Wild Goose Call.”
- Founding God’s Tribe: A one-session lecture on St. Patrick, especially appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
- Easter Traditions Pagan and Christian: This one-session lecture compares pagan myths of a dying and rising god with the Christian belief in Christ’s resurrection. The lecture shows there is little tie between the pagan and Christian beliefs, but that Christian Easter traditions have deep roots in the Jewish festival of Passover.
- Feed Christ’s Sheep, Not His Lambs: This one-session lecture explores the task of adult education in a local church. We look at the three elements that Gordon considers to constitute a full-bodied program aiming at Christian spiritual maturity. It reflects the conclusions he has come to after many years of teaching adults.
- Being Presbyterian: This class provides a one-session orientation to the polity of thePresbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It discusses the theology behind that polity and its fundamental operating principles as they are expressed in the Church’s Book of Confessions and Book of Order. The class is designed for training newly elected ruling elders who are about to take up their responsibilities for leadership in a congregation.
- Entertaining Angels Unaware: A five-part retreat program on hospitality as a Christian discipline. The series explores the distinctive character of Christian hospitality. Then we move to its application in family life, in our relations to neighbors and immigrants, and finally to enemies. The series ends with a celebration of the Eucharist, the family meal of Christians, if the retreat circumstances permit.
- An Introduction to Christian Prayer: This course is designed as a one-sesssion retreat/workshop (approximately 4 hours long) to introduce the broad tradition of Christian prayer. Special emphasis is given to liturgical prayer, lectio divina, and centering (contemplative) prayer. The workshop closes with a look at the benefits we can expect from prayer and some possible dangers. Lectures alternate with practice sessions.