Sunday Adult Forum

Scripture and Christian Ethics

Sundays, September 16 - May 19, 2018-2019
10:00 - 11:00 a.m. (Keith Hall)

The 2018-2019 Adult Forum series will explore how the Bible can and should help us live ethical Christian lives and make responsible decisions. For Episcopalians, scripture is a key source of authority, but it is complex, and can be used and interpreted in a wide variety of ways. We will begin by examining some key ways in which we read and understand scripture. Next, we will consider several main themes in Christian ethics, including defining the neighbor, the role of scientific knowledge in religious and ethical reflection, the extent to which human beings are really “free” to make ethical choices, and how individuals and the Church make ethical decisions. The last several sessions will apply insights gained to a set of contemporary ethical issues. Each week, speakers will consider a Biblical passage in detail to demonstrate the actual practice of engaging Biblical texts. Our hope is that this series will provide an opportunity to deepen our appreciation of the complexity of Christian ethical decisions, and to enliven the ways in which we can use and be formed by scripture in our effort to grow closer to God and to one another.

Continuity in the 2018-2019 series will be provided by the return of four popular speakers, each of whom brings a unique perspective and understanding: Dr. Barry Seltser, Dr. Kathleen H. Staudt, the Reverend Dr. James Farwell, and the Reverend Dr. Francis H. Wade. Biographies are below.

Click here for the 2018-2019 Adult Forum brochure.

The Program

September 16
Introduction to the Bible and Ethics: "The word is very near you" - Barry Seltser 

September 23
Introduction to the Bible and Ethics: How do we read scripture: "Do you understand what you are reading?" - Barry Seltser

September 30
Introduction to the Bible and Ethics: Empathy and justice, a deep dive: "You are the man" - Barry Seltser

October 7
Introduction to the Bible and Ethics: Christian ethics and pluralism: "Wisdom cries aloud in the street" - Barry Seltser

October 14
Special Bicentennial Session: 1818-1918 - Robert Pritchard

October 21
Who is our neighbor: Covenant relationships in ancient Israel - Kathy Staudt

October 28
Who is our neighbor: Samaritans, Gentiles, and Jesus - Kathy Staudt

November 4
Who is our neighbor: Jericho and the tribal limits of moral responsibility - Frank Wade

November 11
Can we kill the neighbor, A meditation on Veterans' Day: "Love your enemies" - Barry Seltser

November 18
Scripture and the Scientific Age: "Unless I see...I will not believe" - Barry Seltser

November 25

December 2
Scripture and the Scientific Age: The Christmas miracle revisited - Frank Wade

December 9
Scripture and the Scientific Age: Moral discernment, human technology, and divine image - James Farwell

December 16
Special Bicentennial Session: 1918-2018 - Robert Pritchard

December 23

December 31

January 6

January 13
Justice, divine, and human ethics: "Wilt thou indeed destroy the righteous with the wicked?" - Barry Seltser

January 20
Justice, divine, and human ethics: The Sermon on the Mount - Kathy Staudt

January 28
Justice, divine, and human ethics: "So many to love" - James Farwell

February 3: Annual Parish Meeting

February 10
Freedom: Human freedom and the hardened heart, "I will deliver you" - Barry Seltser

February 17
Freedom: The Exodus story and Liberation Theology - Kathy Staudt

February 24
Freedom: Paul, Luther, and the freedom of the Christian - Kathy Staudt

March 3
Freedom: Freedom and sin in the Book of Jonah - Frank Wade

March 10
How does the Church make ethical decisions: Moral reasoning and an Anglican approach - James Farwell 

March 17
Individual decision-making: Individual autonomy and Christian ethics: Euthanasia and suicide - Barry Seltser

March 24
How does the Church make ethical decisions? Case study: An investment screen for Palestine - James Farwell

March 31
Individual decision-making: Individual ethics; sharing possessions - Barry Seltser

April 7
Individual decision-making: The mind of Judas Iscariot - Frank Wade

April 14: The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

April 21: The Sunday of the Resurrection: Easter Day

April 28: Parish Art Show

May 5
Individual decision-making: Seeking signs, recognizing temptations, Ignatian spirituality, and scripture - Kathy Staudt

May 12
Collective decision-marking: Welcoming the stranger - Barry Seltser

May 19
Summary session: Scripture and Christian ethics - Barry Seltser and Kathy Staudt


Dr. Barry Seltser (B.A., Ph.D. Yale) has taught religious studies at two universities and offered adult education courses at churches for over 25 years.

Dr. Kathleen H. Staudt (A.B. Smith, Ph.D. Yale) teaches theology, spirituality, and literature at Virginia Theological Seminary and Wesley Theological Seminary. She is a leader of retreats and education programs, and is the author of three books of poetry, as well as a scholarly study of poet and artist David Jones.

The Reverend Dr. James Farwell (B.A. Catholic University, M.Div. General Theological Seminary, Ph.D. Emory University) is Professor of Theology and Liturgy at Virginia Theological Seminary. Farwell has taught at General Seminary and Bethany College. He served for 20 years as a parish priest and is the author of two books on liturgy.

The Reverend Dr. Francis H. Wade (graduate The Citadel, M. Div. Virginia Theological Seminary) was ordained in 1966 and served as Rector of St. Alban’s Parish, Washington, DC, and Interim Dean of Washington National Cathedral. His sermons have been widely published. Meditations from his tenure as Chaplain to the House of Deputies at the 2000 General Convention of the Episcopal Church were distributed by Forward Movement Press and recorded by The Episcopal Media Center under the title Jubilee People, Jubilee Lives. Currently an adjunct professor at Virginia Theological Seminary, he is the author of The Art of Being Together: Common Sense About Life Long Relationships.

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