Adult Education Archive 2016

Click on the audio players below to listen to selected lectures from Nassau’s Adult Education series on Sunday mornings.

Occasionally a PowerPoint slideshow accompanying the lecture is also available. If so, there will be link to a ZIP file containing the audio and the PowerPoint files. Click the link to download the ZIP file. You may need to download the free PowerPoint viewer.

The digital media files posted on the Nassau Presbyterian Church website are copyrighted by the pastors and presenting lecturers. These works are only for personal and educational use through a digital media player on a personal computer or using a personal digital media device (e.g., iPod). These works may not otherwise be archived or re-posted on the Internet, broadcast in any manner, distributed, transcribed or modified in any way without written permission of the presenting lecturer. The user of the audio file holds no license (of any form – expressed or implied) to any of the content of these files. The same applies to any PowerPoint® presentations.






It’s a Wonderful Life

Following the guidance of Clarence Oddbody, the bumbling angel in It’s a Wonderful Life, the 1946 classic Christmas film, come and wonder what it would be like if George Bailey had never been born. With the same sort of wonder, listen to the biblical story. What characters wondered about the coming of the Messiah? Is this wonder actually doubt? In the season of advent, is it ok to doubt? What would it be like if Jesus had never been born?

Melissa Martin

The Gift of the Magi

“The Gift of the Magi” is a classic Christmas short story by O. Henry. First, hear the story as told by Michael Dean Morgan & Company. Then, ask the question, is it really better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35)? What is Christmas about — giving or receiving?

Melissa Martin, Michael Morgan & Co.

A Colonial Christmas

A colonial-era Virginia Almanack once announced, “We may expect to hear of a great Mortality among the Hogs, Sheep, Geese, Capons, and Turkies.” Colonists claimed that even the deaf and blind could tell when they crossed into Virginia around Christmas just by the aromas — of spices, nutmeg, mincemeat, great roasts, cakes, and, of course, Martha Washington’s famous pies. We’ll look at the ways Christmas was celebrated (or not) in colonial America as well as by the founding fathers.

Edward A. Mauger, Philadelphia on Foot

A Proud Community in Princeton, NJ

Take a journey through the life of Colored, Negro, Black, African Americans who, since the 1700’s, lived, labored, survived and prospered in the Princeton community.

Shirley Satterfield

Refugee Stories

Deborah Amos of NPR will reflect on her September radio reports that dealt with the family and Nassau’s sponsorship activities. She will also talk about subsequent refugee resettlement developments, including the US refugee resettlement goal for the coming fiscal year and the possible repercussions of the Presidential election.

Deborah Amos

Nassau’s Resettlement Partners Speak

We will hear from volunteers who are not members of Nassau about their support activities, the reasons for their involvement, and the experience of serving. As members of Nassau, we know why we do this work. Hearing from the wider community will broaden our understanding of the motivations and sense of empathy that have prompted other people to help.

Sue Jennings, moderator

Faith and Politics through Presbyterian Eyes

Join a panel of Nassau’s own and friends as Presbyterians identify election issues of particular importance, and describe how one’s Christian faith guides action and advocacy in the political arena. Joyce MacKichan Walker will serve as moderator as we frame our dialogue with Seeking to be Faithful: Guidelines for Presbyterians in Times of Disagreement.

Dan Miglore, Mark Herr, Shari Oosting

What does the U.S. Supreme Court Do?

The U.S. Supreme Court is an important component of the government, but it is far less visible than the elected branches. With the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court is at a turning point, and so understanding what it does and the politics surrounding the Court and judicial appointments is particularly important now. Come and explore the history of the court, what it does, what role it plays within the constitutional and political system, and the politics currently surrounding it.

Keith E. Whittington

American Perceptions of Muslims and Terrorism

Is the American military and our political attention focused more on regional players (Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia), or on Muslims and ISIS? Come and examine the conflicts in the Middle East in a broad context, focusing on asking the right questions. Unless we understand what the problems are, we will struggle to answer the big questions.

Christopher Lojek

Mass Incarceration

The skyrocketing prison population over the past 25 years has become a bi-partisan issue with both Republicans and Democrats looking for ways to reduce the prison population and address racial disparity within the criminal justice system. Consider the challenges faced by those returning from prison into their communities, and discover tangible, hands-on opportunities to minister to those who are caught up in the prison system.

Jonathan Shenk, moderator

Economic Inequality and Health in the US: What is Going On?

What are the potential economic causes and consequences of the increasing mid-life distress and rising death rate among white Americans between 1999 and 2013? Angus Deaton and Anne Case identified this alarming trend in 2015, a change that reversed decades of progress in mortality and was unique to the United States; no other rich country saw a similar turnaround. The trend was especially sharp for those with only a high school education. Come and ponder what is going on and what might be done.

Angus Deaton
Anne Case

Young Adult Ministry in South Korea

Hear how two college graduates serving as PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteers have worked with the homeless, women, and children. Then examine the various issues, challenges, and joys they encountered.

Emily Kent, Alyson Kung

The Farminary at PTS

Why might Princeton Theological Seminary be training leaders for the church and the world on its 21-acre farm? Do pastures and pastors have anything in common? Can Augustine and agrarianism contribute to the same discussion? Come to this session to explore these questions and learn more about the Farminary at Princeton Seminary.

Nate Stucky

Developing a Formula for Sainted Women

In the early church, women were equal to men in martyrdom and sainthood, but over time, various formulas developed, creating a different paradigm for female saints. Trace the evolution of formulas of sanctity and consider the Church’s motivations for gender-specific standards.

Sandi Goehring

Mozart in Vienna

Learn about Mozart’s years in Vienna and his relationship with Emporer Joseph ll. Discuss the Josephine “enlightenment,” and see how it affected Mozart’s career, shedding some light on the legends of his death and burial.

Presentation was not recorded due to the multitude of licensed musical selections.

Bill Walker

Gravestone Art and Symbolism

Explore the progression and interpretation of early symbols or icons, from those seen in family burial plots to the more elaborate ones seen in the “rural” and lawn park cemeteries of the Victorian era and, later still, in the Memorial Parks of the 20th Century. Modern examples of memorialization and symbolism will be included, as will the changing techniques and skills required by the early slate and sandstone carvers, contrasting with today’s techniques such as laser etching. The program will conclude with photographs taken at The Princeton Cemetery.

Presentation was not recorded due to the visual nature of the topic.

Lorna & Phil Wooldridge, Wise Owl Workshops

Doing Theology in Central America Today

Churches in Central America face escalating violence, increasing economic inequality, and environmental degradation. The Latin American Biblical University trains leaders to confront these challenges. Learn how liberation theology continues to evolve and inform ongoing struggles for more just societies.

Karla Koll

Talking Heads: “And you may ask yourself / Well… How did I get here?”

Never in the history of modern politics have the two party’s major candidates been so reviled by so many. To paraphrase the political sage, Pogo, have we met the enemy and he is us?

Mark Herr

Unconventional Conventions: Thank You, William Wirt

Other countries have conventions, party conferences and caucuses, but only the US has caucuses, primaries and conventions. Is this any way to run a railroad?

Mark Herr

Back to the Future: Justices, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Constitution

This course will review the major cases of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015–16 term, the jurisprudential trends on the Court in the wake of the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia and President Obama’s nomination of Federal Appellate Judge Merrick Garland to replace him, and the future of the Court and American Constitutional Law.

Larry Stratton

The Pastor’s Diary: How a Conventional Conservative Became a Theological Liberal

“Over my life, I have learned that early myths are very formidable, but I have also learned that other people have different myths that are just as formidable. I have learned that we all do and must have myths to live by. But my early myths were no longer serving their function of helping me make sense of my existence. I had to find others. And that is what this book is about — my constant search for myths that mattered as I let my mind truly explore and analyze my experiences.”

Bill Phillippe

The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power

Many see China as a rival superpower to the United States and imagine its rise is a threat to U.S. leadership in Asia and beyond. Tom Christensen argues against this zero-sum vision. He describes a new paradigm in which the real challenge lies in dissuading China from regional aggression while encouraging the country to contribute to the global order.

Tom Christensen

Mysteries that Matter: A Theology of Community

Expect a plot and a murder and a clever detective. Discover a community, a theology of darkness and light, a fallen and redeemed humanity, and a brilliant, best-selling Canadian mystery writer with a deeply spiritual, biblically-grounded heart and mind. Louise Penny — the series begins.

Unfortunately this session was not recorded. However, Joyce is collecting names of people who are interested in a Louise Penny book club! Contact her at

Joyce MacKichan Walker

A Life and Legacy Revealed: Singing Faith—All Day Long

Singing Faith—All Day Long is a recording created to help families share songs of the Christian faith. It is a collaboration between the NPC Worship and Arts Committee and Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. Members of the Singing Faith project committee will share a synopsis of the journey.

Musical tracks have been withheld from the recording due to copyright restrictions.

Polly Griffin, Mark Loria, Sue Ellen Page

The Syrian Refugee Crisis…and the World’s Varying Responses

Deborah Amos, who covers the Middle East for NPR News with reports heard on “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered” and “Weekend Edition,” will discuss the Syrian refugee crisis and the world’s varying responses. Amos has received the Edward Weintal Prize for Diplomatic Reporting from Georgetown University and the Edward R. Murrow Life Time Achievement Award from Washington State University. She was part of a team of reporters who won a Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award for coverage of Iraq. Amos also has served as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School.

Deborah Amos, NPR News

The Church as Apostles: Serving the Church beyond These Walls

This Body of Christ we call Nassau looks to the world God loves because Jesus sends us there. Discover the places where Nassau serves “the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the prisoner” (Matthew 25:31–46). Will you come and hear about the three significant partnerships your capital campaign gifts have created? Be prepared to be challenged to explore how your call from God and your gifts of the Spirit intersect with Nassau’s ministries — they are, after all, your ministry.

Joyce MacKichan Walker

Festival of Faith and Poetry

Experience the first of what we hope will be an annual festival featuring poets and writers from the Princeton area or further away. Each week poets will read from their own work and discuss faith as inspiration for the craft of poetry.

Elvis Alves, Vasiliki Katsarou

Festival of Faith and Poetry

Experience the first of what we hope will be an annual festival featuring poets and writers from the Princeton area or further away. Each week poets will read from their own work and discuss faith as inspiration for the craft of poetry.

Sandra Duguid, Henry Gerstman, Roz Anderson Flood, Janet Anderson

Faith, Justice, Science: Finding Better Treatments for the Recently Incarcerated Mentally Ill

Can faith and scientific understanding be combined in the 21st century? Reformed theology has stressed God’s sovereignty over all elements of creation. This includes the sphere of science. Questions of justice and mercy call us to find better treatments for those who are sick and imprisoned. This foundation will be used to examine the better treatments for persons who have schizophrenia and have been imprisoned.

Larry Alphs

The Influence of Science over Religious Belief

Among people who say they believe in God are many levels of belief. Some believe in a Mind that set the universe going and is manifest in its laws but stands aloof from the activities of human beings. Others believe in a personal God whose activities and answers to prayers are reputedly difficult to reconcile with the “laws of science” as we know them. Where we stand is influenced by what we think we know from science and the dictates of outspoken scientific atheism in our culture. We might do well to ask, “What do I believe; does science have anything relevant to say about that; and, perhaps, need I listen?”

Kitty Ferguson, Author & Lecturer

Biological and Theological Explanations of Morality

Morality has become a topic of great interest to natural scientists. Several have proposed scientific ways to untangle the moral confusions that philosophers and theologians have yet to resolve. Come for a critical analysis of an influential account of primate “proto-morality” that purportedly challenges the doctrine of sin and the divine justification of morality. Consider how a theological explanation of morality need not be falsified by such evidence and can even enrich the empirical study of morality.

Neil Arner, University of Notre Dame

Matthew and His Five Great Discourses

The four evangelists selected and ordered their materials in quite different ways, which is why each gospel has its own unique features. This class will attempt to figure out what Matthew in particular was trying to achieve when he arranged and edited the traditions about Jesus just as he did.

Dale Allison, Princeton Theological Seminary

What is a Parable?

The answer to this question, it turns out, is not so simple. This class will survey the various ways people throughout history, including modern scholars, have approached the parables of Jesus.

Dale Allison, Princeton Theological Seminary

Hunger and Health around the World

Hunger leads to poor health, and poor health contributes to chronic hunger and food insecurity. This link is especially tight among people who must choose between paying for food or medicine. But in the United States, too, the issues of hunger and health are seen as closely linked, the Bread for the World Institute said in its 2016 hunger report. Bread is a collective Christian voice that urges our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad by 2030. Come and explore its strategies and how Nassau Church can participate.

James Lund, Bread for the World

Changing the Prison Pipeline with our Urban Partners

The moral and practical implications of mass incarceration have caught the public’s attention. The Presbytery of New Brunswick is deeply concerned. Come learn from and with our Westminster Presbyterian Church partners as we strive to understand the plight of those incarcerated and their families and explore the challenges of the reentry transition.

Karen Hernandez-Granzen, Westminster PC
Lukata Mjumbe, Urban Mission Cabinet, Inc.

The Church Serves God’s World: Partners with Malawi and Beyond

Nassau’s new partnership with “Villages in Partnership” in Malawi is a prime example of the way in which God calls us to be in solidarity with the poor, the widowed, and the orphan. What defines such partnerships and why does Nassau’s role matter to them, and to us, as we live as people sent by God to the whole world?

Joyce MacKichan Walker

Welcoming the Refugee: What’s Really Involved?

Is any issue more compelling than the current rhetoric about refugees? Nassau is taking a proactive approach, consistent with 50 years of practice for this community of faith. Come and explore the refugee experience and the current Syrian refugee crisis, gain an overview of refugee resettlement, and talk about our role as people of faith and how we can best welcome a Syrian family.

Brianne Casey, Church World Service