Dr. Harry O. Maier
Professor of New Testament & Early Christian Studies
Vancouver School of Theology
September 26–28, 2014
St. Michael’s Anglican Church, Canmore, AB
photo by Dan Toulgoet for the Vancouver Courier
Houses of Living Stone:
Creating Space for Mission & Identity in a Secular Society
Why Space Matters: What does it mean to be a Christian in a modern secular society? How are we used to thinking about our identity? This lecture introduced some important concepts in the study of space and place in contemporary society and ask us to consider what space we inhabit as Christians and as the church. How do we imagine ourselves as the people of God in the midst of a secular world?
Spaces for Mission: The New Testament is filled with images of what space the church occupies. We explored some of the New Testament’s leading conceptualizations
of space and identity: temple, city, bride, fruit. We explored how such language invites us to imagine ourselves and how it can shape our identity of mission and identity in the secular world.
“You are the Body of Christ”: The Body of Christ is Paul’s central image of the church. This session explored this image within the larger social and urban context of Paul’s world. We discovered how Paul takes a commonplace idea and turns it upside-down. What can Paul’s reformulation of a political concept teach us about
the people of God in a pluralistic secular society?
Houses of Living Stone Built on the Rejected Stone: The New Testament calls Jesus the stone that the builders rejected. What does it mean to occupy a place built on a rejected stone? What does this mean for us as the people of God in our secular society? What particular space has God created for us in baptism? What place does the house built on the rejected stone have amidst the houses of steel and glass in modern society?
Photo highlights from this retreat