Questions We Are Afraid to Ask

As children, we are taught that “there is no such thing as a stupid question.” But there are such things as scary questions. We all have them—the ones that speak to our greatest fears or come with answers we don’t want to hear. These are the questions we are afraid to ask.

This January, the First Pres community will be blessed by exciting voices in the wider church—courageous leaders who are charting bold, new paths forward in their corners of the world. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear from our guest speakers in worship and in conversations following the service.

As we start a new year, lets face our fears and be challenged, inspired, and transformed in the process.

Ben McBride

January 14: Ben McBride

”How Do I Actually Love My Enemy?“
Worship @ 10 am, Conversation @ 11:30 am
An internationally recognized faith leader, activist, and speaker, Ben McBride is the co-founder of Empower Initiative, an organization devoted to developing leaders and fostering belonging. His peacemaking work and passion for public safety reform were featured in the documentary The Force (watch it on January 12). Ben is the author of Troubling the Water: The Urgent Work of Radical Belonging. (Read more about Ben.)

Jeff Chu

January 21: Jeff Chu

”What If I Lose My Faith?“
Worship @ 10 am, Conversation @ 11:30 am
A writer, reporter, editor, and preacher, Jeff Chu is teacher in residence at Crosspointe Church (Cary, North Carolina). He has written for an eclectic range of publications including Fast Company, Time Magazine, and Modern Farmer. Until recently, Jeff served as co-curator of Evolving Faith. He is the author of Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America. (Read more about Jeff.)

Riana Shaw Robinson

January 28: Riana Shaw Robinson

”Do My Prayers Make a Difference?“
Worship @ 10 am, Conversation @ 11:30 am
A pastor, preacher, and prophet, Riana Shaw Robinson is passionate about speaking the truth in love. She birthed Miriam’s Song, a community centering the flourishing of women and nonbinary folks of color guided by the divine liberation embodied in Jesus. Riana recently served as Associate Pastor at Oakland City Church, where she expanded the church’s commitment to solidarity with marginalized communities. (Read more about Riana.)

Cole Arthur Riley

January 28: An Evening with Cole Arthur Riley

Dinner & Conversation, 4:30–7 pm
Join us for an evening with Cole Arthur Riley, NY Times bestselling author of This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories that Make Us. Co-sponsored by Center for Faith & Justice, this special event is not to be missed! Buy tickets online by 1/22 ($25) or at the door ($35), or sign up for the livestream link here. Childcare is available for children age 2–4th grade. (Read more about Cole.)

Go Deeper

As our guest speakers come to preach, teach, and engage with our community, get excited—and prepare—to be a good conversation partner! Here are some opportunities and resources to learn more about our speakers and their work. Explore on your own, or gather others to explore with you.

The Force

Read Troubling the Water

Read alongside the First Pres community! This January, we invite you to pick up Ben McBride’s book on radical belonging, Troubling the Water. When Ben joins us on January 14 for worship and conversation, there will also be time set aside for book signing.

The Force

Watch The Force

Faith & Film, Friday, January 12, 7–10 pm
Come explore themes of good and evil, love and faith, and our yearning for the sacred through the potent medium of film. This month, we’ll view The Force, an award-winning documentary about the Oakland Police Department and the peacemaking work of our January 14 speaker Ben McBride.

Christian Formation Resources

Links & Resources

We hope you’ll make plans to attend our guest speaker conversations, hosted by First Pres Christian Formation and a part of our year-long A Place at the Table series on belonging. Want to learn more? Check out these links and resources curated by the Christian Formation Team.