Elected Official Leads Class on Christian View of Politics beginning July

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Can a sincere Christian, or any person of integrity, participate in politics? And why do politics seem to turn up even in the office, the church, or the family? These and other questions of immediate concern will be discussed in an evening study of First and Second Samuel at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Taylor beginning Wednesday, July 19, from 7:00 p.m. To 8:30 p.m., and continuing for 12 weeks.

The class is unique and timely as it will be led by a statewide elected official, Dr. Richard Zeile (“Dr. Z”), who serves on the State Board of Education, currently as Co-President. The Old Testament books of Samuel chronicle Israel’s shift from a federation of tribes led by judges to a monarchy under Saul and David. David is the traditional exemplar of God’s man in the fields of war and government, and his conduct offers many suggestions as to how the Believer, the sincere adherent of the Christian faith, ought to approach the complexities of war and politics.

Beginning with a basic analysis of politics as any process dealing with conflicting agendas, Dr. Zeile will explore with the class the differing perspectives that give rise to conflicting agendas, the role of loyalties an individual may owe, the ethics of truth-telling and truth-concealing, the creative power of our words in determining relationships, what we praise and blame, integrity, the relation of the divine and the political, of church and state, ethics of war, violence and force, changing social conditions, institutions, and values. These will be illustrated by examples from ancient and American political history. Participant questions and comments are an important part of this class. Various perspectives will be noted and dealt with respectfully, but the class perspective is that of traditional Christianity which regards David as God’s approved exemplar of a political leader.

Attendance at all sessions will be valuable but not mandatory. Participants may register by calling 313.802.1146, but drop-ins are welcome. No one will be called upon to read or speak without volunteering beforehand. This class will meet at the St. John’s Lutheran Church School building, 13115 Telegraph (corner of Northline Road), Taylor. Enter the Northline-facing double doors. Parking is free and cost of the class is provided by St. John’s Lutheran Church, Taylor, a congregation of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

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Dr. Richard Zeile studied political theory at Valparaiso University, Indiana, earned a master’s degree from the Rackham School of the University of Michigan in education, and a master’s degree in church history from the Harvard Divinity School, before completing studies for Lutheran ordination at Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, Indiana. He earned certification as a Specialist in Educational Administration from Wayne State University, and a doctorate in ministry from Detroit’s Ecumenical Theological Seminary. He is the author of several articles in educational and religious journals, Sunday school curricula for Concordia Publishing House, and a study on Detroit school closings in the 1990’s entitled, When Lutheran Schools Close (Lambert Academic Publishing 2014). Dr. Zeile has served as Headmaster at several Lutheran schools, notably at St. John’s, Taylor (2001-214), and Pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Taylor. He was elected in 2010 to Michigan’s State Board of Education where he was elected by his colleagues as Co-President for the 2017-18 biennium. He has served on the Board of Directors for the National Association of State Boards of Education, and chaired their Study Group on Rural Education (2014). Dr. Zeile has taught adjunct courses at Concordia University Ann Arbor in education and theology.

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