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“As someone who has spent several summers working with an archaeological excavation in Jerusalem, I’ve had many opportunities to walk in the very places where our Lord walked. The work may seem glamorous to those who have watched Indiana Jones, but in reality the hours are long and hard, especially in the heat of summer! It’s easy to become engrossed in your work, sometimes forgetting the wonder of where you are. The Last Days of Jesus brought to life those places I have seen so many times but neglected to really think about. Linda has a way of encouraging each of us to explore, to share, and, most importantly, to question. And in that is where each of us grows…in knowledge, in the ability to listen to others and to share our thoughts, and in our personal faith journey. This is only one of many classes I have enjoyed with Linda, and look forward to many more!”
“The Quest truly was a journey toward intimacy with God. I have always struggled with the concept of intimacy with God; it just didn’t sound ‘holy.’ However, during the 6 weeks, the Holy Spirit taught me what a beautiful thing intimacy is. I learned to begin with an honest, seeking heart. I found the desire to get to know all about Him. I found that I want to keep focused daily on the object of my affection: God.”
“’When life gives you lemons…make lemonade.’ For many reasons, 2020 seemed to be the most sour lemon of a year ever. COVID truly threw us a curve ball. But within all the chaos, illness and isolation the quiet revealed something was missing in my life. After the study for our Holy Land trip, I realized I needed to get back to the written word. For so long I’d kept myself busy with no time to stop and open up my Bible. Rising out of a difficult time Wakening Ministry has offered up lemonade through rich studies of world religions, racism, womanhood, as well as our Bible. I’ve met new friends all over the USA. With my husband, Lea, teaching classes our morning coffee and evening glass of wine ends up in deep discussions from class and from his research. Telephone conversations end up with biblical women conversations and memories of Israel. I must say the lemonade flows daily and it quenches my thirst in ways I never expected. Thank you, Linda for stepping out of the box to start your beautiful ministry.”
“Wakening Anti-Racism classes have been a place of both healing and hope for me. As a 53 year-old African American woman, I have many white friends while most of them only have one Black friend—me. Often the cost of these friendships is my full assimilation and silence regarding racism because my friends are too uncomfortable with these topics. Or, they expect me to unequivocally certify they ‘don’t have a racist bone in their body.’ In this class, however, everyone can show up as their whole selves since all participants have elected to respectfully discuss hard truths, self-reflect deeply, and pilgrimage towards becoming anti-racists. Eventually, participants discover we can be good people who are committed to anti-racism and still unconsciously behave in racist ways from time to time. Sometimes, this learning and confession is painful for the whites in this class, and it is almost always painful for me and the other Black participants. Yet, we all show up to class each month because we’re on a journey; we’re on a mission. As the saying goes, ‘knowledge is power.’ It is only by knowing ourselves that we are empowered to change inwardly first and then outwardly influence the changes we hope to see in our families, communities, nation, and world.”
“Christianity and World Religions, was an informative survey of the four major world religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism. During our study we compared the beliefs of each of the others with the beliefs of Christianity. Linda had arranged a lay leader, Lea Burt to co-lead the study. Lea’s preparation was evident for each meeting and Linda provided insight as clergy for our study. Using videos prepared by the author and the leadership of Linda and Lea, we explored the four religions and why we should believe the claims of Christianity over those religions. The study was very respectful of the other religions and their contributions to the world. The study helped me to dive more deeply into the beliefs held by many of members of my world community and to consider how studying the beliefs of those differing from mine can help me to work to build bridges of peace and love with my neighbors as well as to know how to answer questions about my faith from someone of another faith.”
“Why is it so hard for white people to talk about race? With this thought-provoking question foremost in my mind, I registered for the book study, White Fragility, and began to read. I must confess that there were moments early on when I wanted to quit but it’s a topic that definitely needs honest and open discussion in our country right now, and Linda’s manner of leading this study made me want to persevere. I am so glad I did! I learned so much from the book, from Linda’s teaching, and from the group discussions. Perhaps the biggest takeaway for me was that just by being born white, I was given immense advantages over People of Color even though I did nothing to deserve those privileges. It gave me a whole new perspective. Linda’s willingness to be honest, real and vulnerable herself makes each of her classes an opportunity for extremely valuable learning and life-changing experiences.”
Through Christianity and World Religions, my desire to learn more about the Jewish faith was deepened. During The Rock, the Road and the Rabbi, we explored the life and teachings of Jesus from a historical perspective that brings the Bible alive today. We get to walk where Jesus walked and we come to truly understand our Bible as the living word of God and Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s promise to his chosen people and to all who believe. To get the most out of our Bible and faith, it is important to realize that the Bible was written for Middle Easterners and about Middle Easterners—a culture very diverse from our own. During this class, we are immersed in the Hebrew perspective as we explore their language, come to understand their customs, and explore their homeland. ‘Religion is nothing without relationship.’ Our purpose in this world is to partner with God to bring His ‘shalom’ to the chaos of this world. This is accomplished through our relationship with the Messiah, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Mary T Crowder-Paden
“Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus has been the best class that I’ve taken from Linda…and I’ve taken several. I expected to learn more about Islam but never dreamed that I’d also be learning more about Christianity. I have discovered the diversity of Islam, just as we have diversity in Christianity. This class has made me yearn for more knowledge about my own faith and has given me substantial support of my own Christian beliefs. It has not only answered the WHAT of Christianity, but also the WHY.”
“Did you know the Gospel of Matthew was written by a disciple of Christ – who was originally a tax collector? (And tax collectors were just as popular 2,000 years ago as they are today!) Did you know that Matthew wrote his Gospel 30-40 years after Jesus’ resurrection? (But, he had a great memory.) Did you know that Matthew was a Jewish man, writing for a Jewish audience? (Which can make it tough for a non-Jewish community to understand.) Do you understand Matthew’s Gospel? Linda walked us through the Gospel of Matthew in a clear, down-to-earth way, understandable to all. With the aid of her biblical timelines, links to the Old Testament, and an audio/video reenactment of the Bible story, she presented Jesus as God and as a true human being. He is more than the Messiah—he is one of us! He’s human, he’s funny, and he hurts just like any of us would. But he doesn’t let that deter him from his primary mission: redeeming the world. Pastor Linda helped us to make sense of the Bible and the world!
Dennis & Iris Swanick
“As one who took the class on Revelation with the intention of equipping myself better when discussing it with someone who considers Revelation only from an inerrant Calvinistic perspective, I was shocked at my own lack understanding of the text and its place in scripture. After completing the class, I had a much deeper awareness of what the text brings to a follower of the principles of Jesus Christ, and upon reflection, all the children of Abraham. Because of a wide diversity in faith perspectives and biblical literacy, we as a group were able to dive much deeper than I think any of us expected, and allowed the Spirit to enter in, thereby encouraging us to recognize and be more responsive to our Creator’s movement and invitation found in the text.”
“As someone whose exposure to God was deeply rooted in Evangelical Fundamentalism since childhood, I appreciate the insights of Rachel Held Evans. Coming from a similar background, she addresses the standards for Biblical godliness that have been traditionally defined and decided for women. She writes with gifted wisdom, wit and openness; and truly it is difficult to stop reading at chapter’s end. This study is designed to read one chapter a month and then gather for discussion. As with all of Linda’s study groups, A Year of Biblical Womanhood is like an online coffee meet-up whilst sitting in one’s own comfy chair. I love the open conversation and fellowship with women from all over the country. It is a mistake to deny oneself the value of recognizing that everyone has a unique lens with which they see. Being open to perspectives and conversation about questions not only makes God bigger, but brings God closer—or vice versa.”
“I found myself for the first time in years with the time to pursue one of the things I used to enjoy: learning about and sharing my faith. I returned from a Holy Land pilgrimage last year more enthused than ever to get started but COVID got in the way. A digital class with Wakening Ministry made me realize that there was more than one way to participate in a faith community. Thanks to Linda’s invitation, I have had the privilege to teach a few courses (Christianity & World Religions; Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus). I say privilege because not only do I get a chance to study and learn, but through the benefit of interaction with clergy to add clarity to the learning experience. I look forward to attending church when we are able, but now realize I have an added faith community. Thank you for the vision when it is badly needed.