Lecture and Workshop Topics
PostChristian: What’s Left? Can We Fix It? Do We Care?
(60-120 minutes – could be expanded to more detailed workshop format)
The influence of Christianity is changing dramatically in the western world. We are an increasingly “post-Christian,” culture, in that Christianity no longer is the dominant value system at the center of our cultural identity. How did we get here, and what can we do about it? Should the institutional church be saved? Does the world really need the church? Christian Piatt walks through his “Seven Scandals of Christianity” and “Seven Christ-Like Virtues” in an attempt to help people stop being more Christian and start being more Christ-like.
Art as Justice: Birthing Hope in a Violent World
(Three 45-minute talks or one 120-minute talk)
The world tells us that, when confronted with oppression, injustice or violence, we have two choices: do nothing or respond in-kind with force. But Jesus pointed to a radical “third way,” using creative nonviolent engagement. Learn how the arts can be used to more deeply engage people, mobilize them to action and even subvert unjust systems, all while being inspired by the Gospel.
Evolving Justice: From Retribution to Restoration
If we want Biblical justification for seeking revenge, we don’t have to look any further than, “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.” But given that the rule of the land before this was “Avenge sevenfold,” this new model of justice actually was an effort to limit the escalation of violence by retributive means. So when Jesus told people to turn the other cheek, he was perfecting the intent of the old law by taking it a dramatic and important step further. Whereas retributive justice is concerned with what is fair and with getting even, restorative justice is concerned with what is right and with making things whole again. The call of the gospel is to the latter, and Christian Piatt walks us through what this looks like in our world today.
Banned Questions about the Bible/Jesus/Christians
(Time can vary based on event. Can be lecture or workshop)
We’ve all had those nagging questions about our faith that we’ve been afraid to ask at one time or another like, “What does the Bible really say about homosexuality?”, “Does hell really exist?” or “Can I still be a Christian and not believe the Bible is literally true, word for word?” Christian Piatt uses his three-book series about these banned questions as a springboard into rich conversation about all of the things we’ve always wanted to know about our faith but didn’t know how to ask, and how we can go about creating space in our faith communities for healthier, critical though, dialogue and creative exploration.
Cultivating Love Greater Than Our Differences
(5-6 hour workshop)
We all enjoy privilege in certain ways in our lives. But usually, our privilege is invisible to us until we don’t have it anymore. Naming and applying this privilege toward racial, sexual, gender, age and other kinds of reconciliation is a Gospel call, but one that many Christians fail to do well on a daily basis. Christian Piatt leads a workshop on faith-based cultural competency skill development that is essential for any church, religious leader or practicing Christian to practice in order to be relevant in a fractured, pluralistic and increasingly dynamic world.
Tales of a Male Preacher’s Wife
(From 60-minute lecture to 3 workshops)
Every time someone tells Christian Piatt’s wife, Rev. Amy Piatt, that she preaches pretty well for a girl, he has to bite his lip. He’s also not too crazy about when they tease him about being a pastor’s wife, and ask if he can make a mean green bean casserole. He’s a man, even if he does work at home, pick up the kids from school and cook most of the meals. But if all of the traditional gender roles are up for grabs, what does it mean to be a man in today’s world? And are such questions good or bad for the Church? Christian explored gender, sex and sexuality from a postmodern perspective, helping both men and women find new ways to claim their identities as embodied, spiritual beings. While some Christian’s are trying desperately to return to some nostalgic notion of traditional gender roles, Piatt celebrates the opportunity to live into what each of us was perfectly created to be, rather than what the world – or even the church – tells us we’re supposed to be.