Register now for 2014-2015 classes. The Lay School curriculum includes a wide variety of courses on biblical topics from both the Old and New Testaments, ecology, the Middle East and more. This year we are also introducing a series on Lutheran Theology and the Lutheran church designed to prepare you for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. Classes in this series will be noted with a 500 following the title.

Lay School Courses

Spring:   March 30-April 27, 2015

Come and See: Discipleship According to the Gospel of John (webcast available)

Spring: March 30-April 27, 2015
Course Time: MONDAY EVENING 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Individual Registration  (webcast or classroom)
Group Registration  (webcast only)

Discipleship is no easy task these days and one’s identity as a Christian is constantly challenged. Perhaps the hardest part about following Jesus is to imagine that our witness in the world can make the same kind of difference as the disciples long ago. This class will imagine what we might learn from the disciples in the Gospel of John that could empower, sustain, and nurture us 21st century Christians. We will encounter the inspiring witness of persons Jesus meets in the Fourth Gospel so as to invite a renewed sense of call in our present time.

Reading for Further Study:
Karoline Lewis, John (Fortress Biblical Preaching Commentaries)



Karoline Lewis, Associate Professor of Biblical Preaching and The Alvin N. Rogness Chair of Homiletics

Following Jesus in an Ecological Age

Spring: March 30-April 27, 2015
Course Time: MONDAY EVENING 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Register now!

How shall we follow Jesus today, in the midst of our growing ecological crisis?  What should churches and individual disciples work toward, and why bother?  We bring Scripture study, Christian theology and ethics to bear on specific problems and concrete examples, as well as the reverse (allowing current issues to open up the Bible, theology & ethics).  Open discussion is encouraged, so bring your Bibles, your questions and your experience.

Reading for Further Study:
Ellen Davis, Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture, (Cambridge, 2009)
Larry Rasmussen, Earth-honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key (2012)



Seminar Leaders:

Kathryn Schifferdecker, Associate Professor of Old Testament


Alan Padgett, Professor of Systematic Theology

The Parables: Illustrations of Jesus' Good but Strange News

Spring: March 30-April 27, 2015
Course Time: MONDAY AFTERNOON 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Register now!

When I was a child, a well-meaning person explained to me that Jesus used parables when he taught because he wanted to communicate deep, spiritual truths in plain and easy-to-understand ways. That person, I now know, was completely wrong. Parables usually raise as many questions as they answer. Yes, the parables speak of easy-to-imagine ideas and situations. But they also draw us into the complexities and mysteries of Jesus’ teaching about “the kingdom of God.” You’ll come away from the course with a deeper understanding of the parables’ power to shape how we think about Christian faith, as well as an appreciation for the ways the parables make interpreting the Bible both challenging and fun.

No reading is required for this course. However, the following books are recommended for those who wish to spend more time in studying the parables. There are many, many books on the parables. These six can get you started on the road toward deeper study, depending on where you already are on that road. They are listed here from most introductory to most complex.

Alyce M. McKenzie, The Parables for Today (Westminster John Knox Press)
A basic, clear, and recommended introduction

John Claypool, Stories Jesus Still Tells: The Parables (Cowley Publications)
Essentially a series of deep and thoughtful meditations or sermons on 12 of the parables

Bernard Brandon Scott, Re-Imagine the World: An Introduction to the Parables of Jesus (Polebridge Press)
An investigation of the parables that is as historically focused as it is theologically focused

 Amy-Jill Levine, Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi (HarperOne)
An in-depth study of about a dozen parables with an eye on their historical settings and their multifaceted ability to unsettle our comfortable assumptions about God

Robert Farrar Capon, Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)
A longer book, and accordingly more in-depth and occasionally technical in its focus

Arland J. Hultgren, The Parables of Jesus: A Commentary (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)
A very thorough and scholarly analysis of all the parables in the Gospels


Matthew Skinner, Associate Professor of New Testament