Faith+Life: Shame Resilience

Shame has recently become a popular topic of conversation in our culture. But why do we talk about shame? What IS it exactly? Shame can be difficult to define. Distinguished from other emotions (like guilt, or embarrassment), shame is the belief that there is something fundamentally wrong with us, at a base identity level. The experience of shame is universal to every human, by virtue of living life in a broken world, and can show up in every life context - friendship, vocation, marriage, work, parenting, sexuality. Shame scrambles the signals in our brain and body in a way that disrupts our thinking and feeling, and this disruption teaches us to isolate ourselves.  A small, but stacked, panel of Denver Pres people in mental health professions (headed up by Nina Walch) guided us through this conversation, giving us vocabulary to process shame, and helping us maintain hope as we move forward on a path of growth and healing.

Faith+Parenting: Technology & The Developing Mind

Screens, messaging, social media… the benefits of increasing technologies come with costs. Some costs (data plans) are apparent; other costs are not. We considered the wisdom we need and practical steps we can take to help our children grow wise in a technologically savvy world. From strategies for screen time and filtering, to coaching our older children on how to be engaged without being controlled by our devices.

Faith+Life: The Spiritual Power of Physical Practices

Jesus gave the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper as powerful gifts to his people, indispensable to Christian spirituality. Yet most Christians would struggle to articulate what Sacraments are, what they do, how they work, and why they are so important to our walk with Christ. This seminar will inform the mind, but more importantly deepen and enrich our celebration of these physical practices that Jesus gave to strengthen our spiritual life. Lead Pastor Bill Connors will guide this conversation about sacraments and spirituality.

Faith+Culture: Housing and Justice

If you’ve been around Denver for more than a few years, you may have noticed that the city is rapidly changing. Have you ever wondered who and what created your neighborhood? Did you know that, for many residents, there is currently a housing crisis, as property costs have grown, while income has not? What does the Bible have to say about land, housing, and cities? Housing issues are inextricably related to education, race, and socioeconomics, and if we don’t understand the history of where we live, it’s difficult to love our neighbors well.

This conversation on November 28, 2017 led by DPC member Meghen Brown provided education to participants about the racial history of Northeast Denver, as well as look at the people and events that have shaped Denver, particularly northeast Denver, over the past 50 years.  The conversation explored how housing policy and market forces have shaped our community, including segregation, discrimination, and gentrification. She also critiqued the two opposite extremes of the “free market” approach and the “social justice” approach to housing, and present a new way of addressing problems: through a more nuanced, hopeful, gospel-informed grid.

Meghan Brown is a Tax Credit Officer at Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) who grew up in the area and has worked with various urban ministries, nonprofits, and local and state governments. Meghan will be co-presenting with her CHFA colleague Kim Martin, First Lady of Zion Temple Church, a NE Denver native, and active with the National Organization for African-Americans in Housing and Metro Denver Fair Housing Task Force.

"No One Can Eat Just One": Food's Effect On Your Body and Brain

On November 7, 2017, DPC members Josh Messer (a physician) and Mark Miller (a counselor) led a fascinating conversation on the inter-play between the food we eat, our brain chemistry, and our faith in Jesus Christ. Of our 16 waking hours, we spend nearly 15% of our time centered around eating and food. We asked, "How does the food I eat relate to my spirituality and faith in God?" 

Faith+Culture: Media Wisdom

Our culture is incredibly fragmented and nobody likes it. We often find ourselves in echo chambers with people who agree with us, but it seems nearly impossible to overcome the current cultural divisions. On October 24, 2017 people gathered for a great conversation, led by Christie Thurstone, on the role that the media plays in this divisiveness. 50 years ago, there were considerably less options for media consumption, but in today's world we are able to consume media that suits our own sensibilities and ideologies. What does it mean for Christians to wisely consume media and faithfully follow Jesus, becoming truly more informed in our opinions and less tribal? Christie is Denver Pres member and nationally recognized journalism professional (former president of the American Society of Professional Journalists, and writer for Chicago Tribune and Denver Post). She now owns her own media company and thinks critically about these issues every day. 

Faith+Life: Understanding Trauma

 

In the Denver Pres community we seek to love each other well, being known and being seen, even in dark places. As a result, we deeply care about mental health and healing. Christian Swan, a Denver Pres member and therapist who specializes in trauma, led a seminar on October 17, 2017 and provided education around the effects of trauma on the brain and human development, and implications for soul care.  Participants came away with a greater understanding of what trauma is, how to better serve those affected by it, and how to improve personal health of caregivers.

Faith+Culture: Rethinking Normal

On Tuesday, April 11, 2017, Denver Presbyterian Church hosted a panel discussion, asking questions like:

  • If we are a post-racial society, why are racial inequality and division so stubbornly persistent?
  • Why are the experiences of white and black Americans so different? 
  • How can you help Denver to become a more racially just and harmonious city?

           We also fielded questions from the audience.

Faith+Culture: Recreational Marijuana

No matter who you talk to, substance abuse is not something normally condoned or endorsed. For this event, we held a conversation with Chris Thurstone, a member of Denver Pres, who is a leading voice at the state, national, and international levels regarding substance abuse and a medical director of one of Colorado's largest youth substance-abuse-treatment clinics, as well as an associate professor of psychiatry at CU Denver. 

 We discussed questions like:

  • How should Christians approach occasional, recreational marijuana usage?
  • What does science say about moderate recreational use?
  • How should we think about the data that exists?
  • How does marijuana impact our bodies and brains?
  • At what level is it safe to use?
  • Is it a safer alternative to alcohol?
  • Are there health benefits?
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