Lenten Formation Series: A Resurrection Beyond

February 15, 2022



A Resurrection Beyond

Sundays at 11:15 am

(in-person & via livestream)


and Tuesdays from 7-8:15 pm

(via Zoom, following a 6 pm rebroadcast of Sunday’s lecture) 


Sunday, March 13 Danse Macabre: The Story Worlds of Mark And Stephen King (Mark 1-4) 

Setting the stage for the Sundays ahead, we will chart the purpose of the series and scaffold the “story worlds” of Mark and King.  While born of a place and time, these imaginative universes refuse confinement by either history or conventional science.  Even so, the story worlds are not without their own order, as conceived and crafted by their respective authors. 

Check out the text supplement from March 13 here.


Tuesday, March 15We will read aloud selections from the first quarter of Mark’s Gospel and the first pages of “Night Surf” (the Night Shift short story that would become The Stand) as prompts for small-group discussions of the story worlds in which we live.  We will ask: What forces at work in our lives limit us?  What forces at work in our lives set us free?  Who or what is the source of these powers?


Sunday, March 20 Enchantment & Possession (Mark 5 & 9 and The Shining)

The Torrance family’s possessions will frame our encounter of three Markan episodes – “The Gerasene Demoniac” (5:1-20); “The Transfiguration” (9:1-13); and “The Boy With A Spirit” (9:14-29). 

Watch the video and read the text supplement for the March 20 section here.


Tuesday, March 22Readings from “Blood Sport,” Book One of Carrie, will prompt small-group discussions of our personal histories “possessing” us.  In this context we will address the vulgarities of scripture and King’s stories, including their misogyny, racism, and anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric.  We will ask: Is Carrie White a villain or a victim?  Do these writings reflect the judgments of their time, or do they actively perpetuate their characters’ bigotries?  How are we responsible for the circumstances and ideas that we do not choose, but that choose us? 


Sunday, March 27 Evil & Temptation (Mark 6-8 and ’Salem’s Lot

Daring Mark’s graphic account of John the Baptist’s beheading (6:14-29) in conversation with the horrors of the Marsten House – and, more broadly, Castle Rock and Jerusalem’s Lot, Maine – we will consider evil’s portrayals in the Gospel and in ’Salem’s Lot

Check out the video and text supplement for the March 27 session here.


Tuesday, March 29 We will set the “Once upon a time” opening of Cujo in the context of Jesus’s teaching on evil’s origins (6:14-23).  In small groups, we will ask: What is evil’s nature?  Is evil within us?   Between us?  A force beyond us?  Do we create evil, or does evil woo us to its will, tempt us into its bidding? 


Sunday, April 3 • Evil, Faith, & Fate (Salem’s Lot, Part II; Mark 10-13; and The Dead Zone)

So that we do not lose the opportunity to consider the character of the Rev. Donald Callahan as we met him in Salem’s Lot, we will adjust our syllabus for this Sunday to explore “Evil, Faith, & Fate.”  Mingling The Rolling Stones and Charles Baudelaire with Fr. Callahan’s dramatic confrontation with Kurt Barlow, we will continue our discussion of faith and evil.  Moving forward in Mark’s Gospel, we will then take up Jesus’ apocalyptic vision (comprising most of Chapter 13) and make connections with Johnny Smith’s foretelling headaches and handshakes in The Dead Zone.

Check out the video and text supplement for the April 3 session here.

Tuesday, April 5Anticipating this Sunday’s discussion of apocalypticism in Mark (13:1-27), tonight we will read briefly from The Dead Zone and Firestarter.  Like young Danny Torrance sensed of his dreams (and nightmares), both Johnny Smith and Charlie McGee dream of the future.  These protagonists recognize their dreams’ authority, but cannot completely discern their meaning (Johnny refers to these gaps as “the dead zone” of his precognition).  Tonight, we will discuss how we might read Jesus’ visions, and, in that context, we will discuss our own, fuzzy prescience at that thin intersection of our waking and sleeping.  In small groups, we will ask: What do you make of your dreams?  Do your dreams revisit your past for new meanings, interpret your present, or suggest a future (whether formed by fears or hopes)?  If you could know “about that very day and hour” of your death, would you want to know?



Sunday, April 10 Death & Grief 

Even if you have not yet attended our Lenten series, you will want to make plans for this Sunday’s 11:15 am session. Drawing on the crucifixion narrative in the Gospel of Mark and Jesus’ cry of despair from the cross – “My God! My God! Why did you abandon me!” – we will grapple questions of God’s will, suffering, grief, and theodicy, in conversation with the impossible anguish of Stephen King’s Creed family.

Watch the April 10 video and read the text supplement by clicking here.

Tuesday, April 12In the final Tuesday session of our Lenten series (please note: there will be no Tuesday discussion either April 19 during Easter week, or April 26, the Tuesday after the last lecture), we will continue Palm Sunday’s exploration of Christian eschatology.  Revisiting Pet Sematary and reading from Thinner (King writing as Richard Bachman), we will discuss guilt, loss, and grief in our small groups, asking: Is our mortality a gift or a curse?  How do we understand why “bad things happen to good people”?  What is the Christian hope?  Can hope heal our grief and guilt?  If so, how?


Sunday, April 24 • A Resurrection Beyond (Mark 15:40-16:8) 

The Gospel of Mark ends with a haunting ragged edge: “And coming out, they fled from the grave, for they were trembling and stunned, and they said nothing to anyone at all, for they were afraid.”  Focusing on this earliest Easter account, our final presentation will survey the fires that end most of the King novels we have discussed and we will consider how the promise of Resurrection – one beyond that of vampires, zombies, and ghouls – shapes our ethical life.

Watch the April 24 video and read the text supplement here.