Adult Education – January 2018

The Worst Bible Stories
and What We Might Learn from Them

We all know the Bible is full of quiet love, knitting grandmas, good people, and a smiling Jesus. But this January we’re overlooking the Bible’s abundant tame stuff and digging into the difficult and troubling corners of our sacred scripture. What might we learn?

Because of the structure of these classes we do not record them. Please see the links below each description to read the relevant Bible passage.

The classes at 9:15 in the Assembly Room (and Niles Chapel) are part of our continuing January “All-Ages” series: join the Middle School and High School students for bagels & hot chocolate before class begins!

Sundays, 9:15 a.m, in the Assembly Room unless otherwise noted.

For a look at Adult Education offerings in January, download the brochure: AE Jan 2018

Murder in the Royal Loo

Jacq Laplsey

January 7

You can’t make this stuff up: While on the toilet, an obese king is killed by a disabled assassin, and there’s a mighty mess to clean up afterwards. What does this smelly, violent murder in the bathroom have to do with God? Come find out as we look together at this scatological story in Judges 3!

Jacq Lapsley wears many hats, including being mom to Emma and Sam Bezilla. She has loved traveling with the church youth on their adventures. By day, she teaches Old Testament at Princeton Seminary.

Read the text here: Judges 3:12-30

Ongoing through May 13

In-Depth Bible Study: First Corinthians

George Hunsinger

9:15 AM
Maclean House

Class will not meet on January 14.

George Hunsinger returns for the 21st year to lead this verse-by-verse examination of the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians. Bibles are available for use during the class. Find them on the Deacon Desk by the church kitchen. Class meets next door in Maclean House (Garden Entrance).

God Made Me Do It

Shane Berg

January 14, 9:15 a.m., Niles Chapel

King Herod, in a fit of murderous rage, orders the execution of all infants in the town of Bethlehem. Matthew tells us that this barbaric act fulfills a prophecy from the book of Jeremiah. Does this mean that God uses evil to accomplish divine purposes? Come and explore the question of the relationship between God’s will and human evil.

Shane Berg is best known around Nassau as Corrie Berg’s husband and the father of Anders, Mathias, and Soren. But his other hats include former NT professor and current Executive Vice President at PTS.

Read the text here: Matthew 2:16-18

Special Noon Event

The Lady, the General, and the Rohingya

Lex Rieffel

January 14, 12:15 p.m., Assembly Room

What has happened to democratic reform in Myanmar? In light of what the United Nations has called ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya population in Rakhine state, many are asking what kind of democracy perpetuates violence against its own people. Why does Aung San Suu Kyi seem unwilling, or unable, to oppose the military  campaign against the Rohingya? Is it time for the international community to abandon her government, or is there a constructive role we can continue to play?

Lex Rieffel is a nonresident senior fellow in global economy and development at the Brookings Institution. His recent work has focused on the economy of Myanmar during the period of democratic transition. Rieffel has held positions at the Institute of International Finance, the U.S. Treasury Department, and USAID. He served in the  Peace Corps and as an officer in the U.S. Navy. Mr. Rieffel is a graduate of Princeton University and the Fletcher School, Tufts University.


For the past twelve months, he has been working with a Burmese scholar at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore on a study of options for ASEAN in promoting peace and development in Rakhine State, as ASEAN’s contribution to resolving the Rohingya crisis. The 10-page policy brief can be downloaded here (PDF): Rieffel-Thuzar-ISEAS Perspective2018-3

Recently published blog post on the Myanmar economy published by Nikkei Asian Review (PDF): Rieffel-LifeGoesOn for NAR 12Jan2018
Or on line: Myanmar economy grows despite refugee crisis

Bashing Babylonians

Nancy Lammers Gross

January 21

Perhaps the most avoided verse in the entire Psalter: “Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!” (Psalm 137:9) What’s the story here? And what is it doing in our Bible?

Nancy Lammers Gross teaches Speech Communication in Ministry at Princeton Seminary and last year was promoted to the two-year-old Sunday School class here at Nassau.

Read the entire Psalm here: Psalm 137

Pay Up or Die!

Eric Barreto

January 28

It’s hard enough to imagine that we would, like the earliest believers in Acts, choose to sell our possessions and trust the church to take care of our every need. Harder still is making sense of the strange story of Ananias and Sapphira whose deceptions and deaths don’t exactly seem to function as a lesson for us today. Join Eric as we read these puzzling texts together.

Eric Barreto is Weyerhaeuser Associate Professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, an ordained Baptist minister, and a Nassau parent.

Read the text here: Acts 4:32-5:11

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