Empty Altars

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COURSE OVERVIEW
We live in iconoclastic times. All around us, saints and heroes are being knocked off or taken down from public altars. It seems that nearly everyone we once admired or held in esteem has failed us. We’ve stripped the altars of both state and church. America’s spiritual landscape is now marked by empty altars everywhere.

Taking down statues is nothing new, especially in Christian history. Cynicism and anger at failed institutions and flawed heroes is nothing new. But human beings rarely leave altars empty very long — there’s almost a pressing need to re-sanctify the geographies we inhabit. People always put statues back up.

But of who? And to commemorate what? How do we move ahead with new saints and a less troublesome iconography? What “saints” can inspire us to address the hurts of our hearts, the brokenness of our communities, and the pressing issues of our times? Shouldn’t we just give up on the whole idea of saints anyway? Why bother?

Join Diana and Tripp as they explore “sainthood” for an American — and global — future. We’ll share stories that need to be told of “saints” you know and those you need to know in a quirky learning journey through American religious history.

Each main session focuses on a specific theme of faith and how it was expressed in the lives of those that came before us. Our goal is not to sanitize or clean up the details of the past but to trace the threads of faithfulness and folly in our history. By bringing these stories to the fore, they can become sites of reflection and, hopefully, inspiration for those of us struggling to live faithfully in our all too cynical age.

SUGGESTED RESOURCES
A People’s History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story by Diana Butler Bass
The Homebrewed Christianity Guide to Church History: Flaming Heretics and Heavy Drinkers by Bill Leonard

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTORS
Dr. Tripp Fuller is the founder and host of the #1 theology podcast, Homebrewed Christianity. As an author, speaker, podcaster, and professional theologian he is committed to bringing the best resources from the academy to the church so we can brew a more robust faith today.

Diana Butler Bass is an author, speaker, and independent scholar specializing in American religion and culture. She holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from Duke University and is the author of nine books including Grounded: Finding God in the World–A Spiritual Revolution (HarperOne, 2015); Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening (HarperOne, 2012); and A People’s History of Christianity: the Other Side of the Story (HarperOne, 2009). Her best-selling Christianity for the Rest of Us (2006) was named as one of the best religion books of the year by Publishers Weekly and Christian Century, won the Book of the Year Award from the Academy of Parish Clergy, and was featured in a cover story in USA TODAY.

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Empty Altars

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COURSE OVERVIEW
We live in iconoclastic times. All around us, saints and heroes are being knocked off or taken down from public altars. It seems that nearly everyone we once admired or held in esteem has failed us. We’ve stripped the altars of both state and church. America’s spiritual landscape is now marked by empty altars everywhere.

Taking down statues is nothing new, especially in Christian history. Cynicism and anger at failed institutions and flawed heroes is nothing new. But human beings rarely leave altars empty very long — there’s almost a pressing need to re-sanctify the geographies we inhabit. People always put statues back up.

But of who? And to commemorate what? How do we move ahead with new saints and a less troublesome iconography? What “saints” can inspire us to address the hurts of our hearts, the brokenness of our communities, and the pressing issues of our times? Shouldn’t we just give up on the whole idea of saints anyway? Why bother?

Join Diana and Tripp as they explore “sainthood” for an American — and global — future. We’ll share stories that need to be told of “saints” you know and those you need to know in a quirky learning journey through American religious history.

Each main session focuses on a specific theme of faith and how it was expressed in the lives of those that came before us. Our goal is not to sanitize or clean up the details of the past but to trace the threads of faithfulness and folly in our history. By bringing these stories to the fore, they can become sites of reflection and, hopefully, inspiration for those of us struggling to live faithfully in our all too cynical age.

SUGGESTED RESOURCES
A People’s History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story by Diana Butler Bass
The Homebrewed Christianity Guide to Church History: Flaming Heretics and Heavy Drinkers by Bill Leonard

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTORS
Dr. Tripp Fuller is the founder and host of the #1 theology podcast, Homebrewed Christianity. As an author, speaker, podcaster, and professional theologian he is committed to bringing the best resources from the academy to the church so we can brew a more robust faith today.

Diana Butler Bass is an author, speaker, and independent scholar specializing in American religion and culture. She holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from Duke University and is the author of nine books including Grounded: Finding God in the World–A Spiritual Revolution (HarperOne, 2015); Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening (HarperOne, 2012); and A People’s History of Christianity: the Other Side of the Story (HarperOne, 2009). Her best-selling Christianity for the Rest of Us (2006) was named as one of the best religion books of the year by Publishers Weekly and Christian Century, won the Book of the Year Award from the Academy of Parish Clergy, and was featured in a cover story in USA TODAY.