“Educating Mind and Spirit through Reasoned Scholarship”
Welcome to the web home of the Farstrup-Mortensen Lecture Series, held annually at Bethania Lutheran Church in beautiful Solvang, California. The Farstrup-Mortensen lectures are lovingly dedicated to the memory of two men, A. Ejnar Farstrup (1909-1984) and Enok Mortensen (1902-1984) whose vision and energy strongly influenced Danish-American church life. As pastors and educators, they exemplified the Grundtvigian ideal of developing one’s humanity—including the intellect—to its fullest and best extent.
2019 Series: Was Jesus a Christian?
Slated for February 22-24, 2019, our 34th anniversary series will present two distinguished speakers: Pamela Eisenbaum, Ph.D., Professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Origins at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado, and Rabbi Michael Cook, Ph.D., the Sol and Arlene Bronstein Professor of Judaeo-Christian Studies and Professor of Intertestamental and Early Christian Literatures at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. Both Pamela and Michael are renowned Jewish New Testament scholars.
2018 Series: Unbelievable God?
This year’s series marked our 33rd anniversary. Most of us have wondered: Is there a God? What is God like? What does God do? Can God see everything? Why is there evil in the world if God is all-good, all-knowing, and all-powerful? These and other questions were addressed by this year’s two distinguished world-renowned speakers, professors John Caputo and Brandon Scott. Both are excellent and very engaging speakers who challenged us to think outside of the box, and they also challenged each other!
Dr. Caputo is arguably one of the leading God philosophers/ theologians of our time. He was also an associate and interpreter of Jacques Derrida’s postmodern deconstructionist philosophy. Dr. Caputo brought us both deep thinking and a delightful flavor of the Parisian café culture during the golden age of postmodernism. His books for general audiences include On Religion (1971), What Would Jesus Deconstruct? (2006), Philosophy and Theology (2006), and Truth (2013). Click here to read more about Dr. John Caputo.
Dr. Brandon Scott is a leading Biblical scholar of our time, focusing on Jesus’ parables and the “New Paul.” Dr. Scott’s views challenged all of us to re-evaluate some of the jaded ideas and thoughts of the past. Click here to read more about Dr. Brandon Scott.
Spirited public discussions in the past between Dr. Caputo and Dr. Scott have provided deep insights into issues relating to God, and we greatly anticipate their bringing this remarkable “mind show” to Solvang’s Farstrup-Mortensen Lecture Series.
Dr. Jarmo Tarkki’s article “The Seminar on God and the Human Future” in The Fourth R, July-August 2015 issue, points out the joys and pains of incomprehensible philosophy and how we should challenge incomprehensible thoughts—and spice it up with a hefty dose of humor. You can read how Dr. Tarkki sparred with Dr. Caputo here.
Reading to augment Unbelievable God?
Our illustrious speakers of 2018 have given us reading suggestions so that we may get the most out of their talks. Read any one, or all of them!
The Folly of God (Salem, Oregon: Polebridge Press, 2015)
Patterson, Stephen J. The God of Jesus: The Historical Jesus and the Search for Meaning (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 1998)
The Real Paul: Recovering His Radical Challenge (Salem, Oregon: Polebridge Press, 2015)
Scott, Bernard Brandon. Re-Imagine the World: An Introduction to the Parables of Jesus (Santa Rosa: Polebridge Press, 2002)
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2018 Lecture Schedule
Friday, February 23:
3:00- 4:30 pm Early Bird Outdoor Activity
6:00- 6:45 pm Registration and Wine Reception hosted by Casa Cassara
6:45- 7:00 pm Singing
7:00-8:30 pm INTRO LECTURES I & II
Professor Caputo— Why is There Something Rather than Nothing?
Professor Scott— Playing the New Testament Forward
8:30-9:15 pm Sing-along and Informal Discussion Group
Saturday, February 24:
8:30 am Singing with Suzanne Hollrah and Loretta McConnell
8:45 am Introductions and Welcome
9:00-10:30 am LECTURE III
Professor Caputo— Did Somebody Say “Materialism?” Beyond the Old New Atheists
10:30-11:00 am Coffee, Pastry, and Singing with Suzanne Hollrah and Loretta McConnell
11:00-12:30 pm LECTURE IV
Professor Scott— Jesus’ God Talk
12:30-1:30 pm Lunch
1:30-3:30 pm LECTURE V
Professor Caputo— What Would a Really Radical Theology Look Like?
Professor Scott— Idolatry: Putting Humans in their Place
3:30-6:00 pm Break
6:30 pm Banquet Dinner (wine available for purchase) and Program by Song In My Heart Studio followed by a sing-along and Informal Discussion Group until 9:15 pm
Sunday, February 25:
9:30 am Worship Service
10:30 am Coffee by Atterdag Village
11:00 am-12:00 pm PANEL DISCUSSION: Dr. John D. Caputo, Dr. Brandon Scott, Bishop Dr. Guy Erwin, Pastor Chris Brown, and Dr. Jarmo Tarkki (moderator)
The lectures take place at Bethania Lutheran Church in the charming village of Solvang—also known as the Danish Capital of America—located in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley of California’s temperate central coast region. The valley is home to over 120 wineries and a plethora of tasting rooms, three major players in the state’s burgeoning craft beer industry, endless boutiques and shops, popular outdoor activities, Chumash Casino Resort, and historic Mission Santa Inés. For more information about local accommodations and activities, see VisitSYV.com, SolvangUSA.com, or call the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau at (800) 468-6765.
To Be Announced
Friday Nature Walk:
Join wildlife biologist, Fred Emerson, and long-time birder, Fred Machetanz, for a pleasant natural history walk covering birds, mammals, insects, plants, ecology, and environmental conservation. To add something new to this year’s walk, we’re thinking of driving a short distance to the Santa Ynez River. Possible subjects to view are Bald Eagles, water birds (such as herons), hawks, and plants of a stream-side environment. We never know what we will see; it may be a bald eagle off-course from Lake Cachuma or a rose-breasted grossbeak from Iowa. Stay tuned for an exciting bird walk, wherever we may go! Meet at the Parish Hall at 3 p.m. Please wear sturdy shoes and a hat and bring binoculars or a camera (rain cancels).
Fred Emerson grew up in rural western New York State, A Ph.D. in wildlife biology from Cornell University Built on his biology degree from Alfred University. Interested in the interface of ecology and public health, he attended Vanderbilt Medical School (M.D.). He enjoyed a 20-year career in teaching and practice of emergency medicine. Since then he has focused on teaching birding along with the ecology, and natural history of Santa Barbara County.
Fred Machetanz has been intensely interested in birds and nature since he was five years old. He has led numerous bird walks for the Los Angeles Community College District and for interested birders in the Santa Barbara area. He was graduated from Cal Tech with a B.S. degree in mathematics and received an Ed.D. degree in Educational Psychology from UCLA.
Informal Discussion Groups:
We end the learning day on Friday and Saturday evenings with Pastor Chris Brown leading an informal discussion group. All attendees are invited to participate.
Throughout the weekend our songleader and hospitality maven, Suzanne Hollrah, will lead the singing accompanied by our pianist, Loretta McConnell. You are invited to suggest your favorites and participate in this beloved tradition.
Bethania Lutheran Church and the Lecture Series
Bethania Lutheran Church in Solvang celebrated its Centennial in 2012. Bethania strives to share the “bread of life” with its members, as well as visitors to their congregation, through worship, education and fellowship. Since its inception, the Farstrup-Mortensen Lecture Series has endeavored to present thought-provoking educational and fellowship opportunities.