A book the Paideia reading group is studying. COLLEGIAN

Pro­fessor of History Richard Gamble will be hosting two reading groups throughout the year to discuss Christian the­o­logical texts in asso­ci­ation with The Paideia Center for The­o­logical Dis­ci­pleship. The two groups began meeting Sept. 12 and 13, one on campus and another in the com­munity.

The Paideia Center is a national orga­ni­zation which orga­nizes regional reading groups as well as an annual con­ference for pastors and lay leaders to introduce classic Christian the­o­logical texts.

“The response to it has been very strong nationally,” Gamble said. “They had more requests than they knew what to do with. People wanted to host groups in their churches and their com­mu­nities.”

The center was started by the Reformed The­o­logical sem­inary in Orlando, Florida, and is now con­ducting its test run for the dis­cus­sions.

The fall portion of the dis­cussion group will read “On God and Christ” by St. Gregory of Nazianzus, which con­sists of five the­o­logical ora­tions and two letters to Cle­donius. The groups will meet only three times this semester for an hour and a half each time. The dis­cussion is open to people of all faiths.

Gamble expresses his

very spe­cific idea of what the dis­cussion envi­ronment must be like in order to gen­erate pos­itive results.

“I have a lot of expe­rience in running this type of dis­cussion group in a way that keeps it focused on the text and

the par­tic­i­pants them­selves,” Gamble said.

Capping the group at 15 to 20 people, Gamble’s expe­rience in running dis­cus­sions is amenable to the purpose of the forum.

“It’s pure dis­cussion,” Gamble said. “One of the keys in a dis­cussion like that is that it not have a set objective.”

According to Gamble this method has worked countless times.

“I’ve seen it work again, and again, and again,” Gamble said. “I’ve been involved in 50 groups like this. You turn curious, intel­ligent people loose with an enduring text and you just watch it happen.” According to sophomore Bryce Asberg, this method worked its magic another time.

“It was very inter­active,” Asberg said. “Dr. Gamble did a great job of mod­er­ating it in a way that involved everyone who wanted to be involved. I saw a lot of things that I had missed in the text.”

Asberg signed up for the group in hopes of fur­thering his under­standing of God.

“The­ology is more than just an aca­demic dis­ci­pline, it’s studying the knowledge

of God and knowing God

and that’s the most important thing,” Asberg said. “I figured it was well worth my time to take an hour and half to spend time with people who can help me with that and with material that can guide me through that process.”

Junior Celina McGowan took American Her­itage with Gamble and after enjoying his teaching style joined the dis­cussion group.

“He was an excellent teacher…He’s really good about being a good arbiter of dis­cussion,” McGowan said. “The subject matter is really important. I went to a Christian high school so I learned a lot about what St. Gregory of Nazianzus said, but I never actually read what he said.”

In the first campus dis­cussion, the group focused on Oration 27 of St. Gregory’s work and Asberg found that subject matter man­i­fested in the group itself.

“He talks a lot about dis­cussing the­ology and how it should only be under­taken with caution,” Asberg said. “There was a lot of love for Christ and love for each other as well as an appro­priate air of humility.”