Learning for Life For Laity and Clergy
Classes on five Mondays and Tuesdays
April 18 – May 24

Each course is eligible for 1.2 Continuing Education Units.

1 Lao Tzu Meets Jesus: Spiritual Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching and the Teachings of Jesus –
Mondays 1:00 – 3:00
We will have a comparative conversation between the teachings of the Tao Te Ching and the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels of the New Testament. What are the similarities and differences between the wisdom of Taoism and the wisdom of Jesus?

Required Texts:   Tao Te Ching: Lao Tzu  

Trans. By Victor H. Mair, The Classic Book of Integrity, Quality Paperback Book Club, 1990.   

Online Sources:   Google –  victor mair tao te

Bible Translations Preferred- New Revised Standard or Common English versions

Raymond Moreland served as the Executive Director of the Maryland Bible Society for 14 years. He is a retired United Methodist Minister and retired Adjunct Faculty Member at Frederick Community College.  He holds M.A., M.Div., D.Min. and Ph.D. degrees.

2 Theology – For All?
Mondays 1:00 – 3:00
What we in the U.S. call “theology” or “biblical interpretation” is in actuality Western European / American theology and biblical interpretation — heavily influenced by Enlightenment philosophy. The ”other” theologies and biblical interpretations have added adjectives—“black”, “womanist”, “liberation”, etc.—that treat them as sub-groups of standard theology or even as outside of “true” theology. But can we afford to exclude these other voices from the conversation? The course will explore interpretive voices and see how they contribute to a better understanding of the biblical story.

Larry Eubanks has been pastor of First Baptist Church of Frederick since 1995.  He earned a B.S., a M.Div. and a Ph.D. in Old Testament Literature. In addition to his blog on biblical interpretation he is a contributing writer at and, and the author of the eBook, The Essence of Jesus: A Fresh Look at the Beatitudes

3 The Return of the Prodigal Son: The Story and Backstory
Mondays 7:00 – 9:00

Henri Nouwen’s The Return of the Prodigal Sonis a spiritual classic. This book has changed lives—including that of its author. We will explore The Return in parallel with the recent book by Gabrielle Earnshaw on how The Return came to be written. Using previously unpublished material, Earnshaw provides new insights into the nine year gestation of this masterpiece, including Nouwen’s recovery from a crushing depression. Writing The Return played a key role in Nouwen’s recovery which led to the most fruitful years of his life and his recognition as a spiritual master. The Return continues to change lives today.

Required Text: The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen; One source:

Also, available at many on-line sources

Highly Recommended:Henri Nouwen and The Return of the Prodigal Son by Gabrielle Earnshaw 

Ray Glennon is a board member of the Henri Nouwen Society and a facilitator of many Nouwen book discussions. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy (B.S.) and George Washington University (M.S.A.), he is active in lay ministry and religious education in his Catholic parish.

4 Moving the Racial Justice Agenda Forward:
Mondays 7:00 – 9:00

At this pivotal moment in the history of race and racism in the United States, people of faith have a fresh opportunity to make the most of heightened public awareness of racism, to recognize new hope that long-overdue change may finally be possible, and to live into the “Beloved Community” as a manifestation of God’s love for all people. Being anti-racist demands that we go beyond the passivity of simply not being racist personally but instead become actively involved in dismantling racism systemically.  As people of faith, we are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves – even in ways that radically challenge who we might understand OUR NEIGHBORS to be.  

Gerald Hanberry has served as a minister, community developer, program administrator, trainer and researcher. He holds a B.A., a Master’s and Ph.D. in Adult Education and Community Development, and the M.Div.

5 What Did Jesus Really Say & Do (According to Mark)?
Tuesdays 1:00 – 3:00
Our earth is in crisis due to climate change. It’s an emergency. This study invites people of faith to understand climate justice, which means setting right our relationships with each other and the earth. Climate injustice is the result of climate change. The church needs to more powerfully model a way of doing it differently. This will also entail asking hard questions regarding financial profit, a growing economy, and our understanding of efficiency.

Carl Gregg is minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Furman University, with a B.A. in Religion and Philosophy. He earned a M.Div. from the Brite Divinity School, and a D.Min. from San Francisco Theological Seminary.