April 8, 15 & 22
What will Easter do to us this year? In a society and culture severed by political tribalism, the church seems the least likely savior. There are, after all, 35,000 Christian denominations, and we are infamous for our divisions and divisiveness. But what if that changed? Jesus prayed for his disciples, ‘That they all may be one.’ (John 17.20-21). The church has flunked that prayer for a couple thousand years. How could that change? Join the Rev. Allen R. Hilton, Ph.D., and the Adult Ed Team, as we imagine Westminster, the churches of Austin, and the Christian church in the world living into Jesus’ brilliant prayer.
April 8: Christian Mingle
In a polarized nation, Christians and churches have mostly mimicked our surroundings. Most congregations tilt to the political left or right; others feature political diversity in their pews, but achieve their unity by downplaying political differences and not talking about “those issues.” But research reveals businesses and military groups that integrate various perspectives get better. And the apostle Paul tells us that our “variety of gifts” are given to us “for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12.7) In this session, Allen will help us imagine how to change our habits of political segregation and capitalize on the asset of perspective diversity.
April 15: Courageous Congregation
Politically like-minded people read the same papers and blogs, watch the same news, follow the same tweeters, work in the same offices, live in the same neighborhoods, and often go to the same churches. All this leaves us unable to fathom how “those people” could think what “they” think. In this session, Allen will help us see how Courageous Conversations offer an antidote to polarized segregation by bringing left and right and other into honest, respectful conversation with one another about hot-button topics.
April 22: Mission 4.0
We live in a world that can’t seem to recover from its political strife. What if the church became the solution?! When Jesus gives his disciples “a new commandment” to “love one another as I have loved you,” (John 13.34-35) and when he prays “that they all may be one” (John 17.20-23) he names the reason: so that “all people may know that you are my disciples” and “the world may know that…you love them just as you’ve loved me.” Christian unity is built to change the world. In this session, we’ll see that once the church has put on our oxygen mask, it’s time to start handing them around.
Rev. Allen Hilton, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of House United, a non-profit initiative to help Americans collaborate and build community across our political differences. He has been a professor in colleges and universities (St. Mary’s College of California and then Yale Divinity School) and a teaching pastor in large churches around the country. He lives in Austin with his wife Liz (an exec at UT Law) and sons Isaac (O Henry) and Sam (LASA). Allen’s book, House United: How the Church Can Save the World will be released on Easter Sunday.
Check out a few videos feat. the dynamic Rev. Hilton!
Allen Hilton at First-Plymouth Church in Lincoln
2015 sermon from Rev. Hilton in MN (sermon begins around the 5-minute mark)