Theology, Thoughts & Coffee

Sundays, 8 a.m., Zoom

We are reading Lent in Plain Sight: A Devotion through Ten Objects by Jill Duffield. All are welcome to join in the conversation as we discuss this timely and important book.

For Zoom information, contact Dr. John Franke.

Reading and Class Schedule

  • March 6: Week 1: Dust (pp. 3-16)
  • March 13: Week 2: Bread (pp. 17-39)
  • March 20: Week 3: Cross (pp. 41-63)
  • March 27: Week 4: Coins (pp. 65-87)
  • April 3: Week 5: Shoes (pp. 89-111)
  • April 10: Week 6: Oil (pp. 113-135)
  • April 17: Holy Week: Coats, Towels, and Thorns (pp. 137-165)


During Lent we’re going to practice the sort of “memoir theology” Diana Butler-Bass described in Freeing Jesus. She says that memoir theology is the making of theology—understanding the nature of God—through the text of our own lives and taking seriously how we have encountered God.

To aid us in this work, we’re going to read Lent in Plain Sight by Jill Duffield together and share the experiences we have with God. I’d suggest reading the short section of the book each day during Lent and reflecting on the questions she poses for each section. Take note, maybe even write down, the experiences you have with God in your daily exercises and consider what these tell you about the nature of God. Consider if there are any similar experiences recorded in the Bible. Come to class prepared to share these experiences with the rest of the class to the extent you feel comfortable. In this way, we’ll grow in our collective awareness and understanding of God.

This is the work of “doing theology” that Diana Butler-Bass commends. She writes:

“For centuries, church authorities silenced all these theologies by discounting the experiences of most Christian people, consigning them all to some category of ‘less than’ the few men whose experiences were deemed normative to interpret the experiences of the rest of us.”

“The limited notion of theology as one thing and experience as another has been the source of untold pain and incalculable loss, surely something that causes the universal Jesus to weep. Our frame is so narrow, and Jesus’s is so wide. If only we knew all the Jesuses who have been hidden from view, all the Christs never heard.”

“Your experience of Jesus matters. It matters in conversation with the ‘big names,’ when you argue with the tradition, and when you read the words and texts for yourself. It matters when you hear Jesus speaking, feel Jesus prompting, and sink into despair when Jesus seems absent. It all matters.”

I pray that we will experience God, Jesus, and the Spirit in ways old and new during our time together in Lent and that we will be transformed by their living presence in our lives and in the lives of those all around us.