Friday Night Forum
Friday Night Forum is a courageous and thoughtful space where we engage in Christian conversation surrounding challenging issues.
For years, Christians have argued, debated, and fought one another while “speaking the truth in love,” yet we seem no closer to the grace-filled life Jesus modeled. Join us monthly for our Friday Night Forum and help create a new vision for the Christian life that’s built not on having to be right, but on the risk of love.
Friday, March 12 at 7 pm
Homelessness: Looking Closer, Not Looking Away
You won’t want to miss this month’s Forum!
Hosted by Pastor Mike Morgan –
Associate Pastor of Discipleship and Caring Ministries at Bel Air Church
Our panelists include leaders of three fantastic church partners – extremely well respected across the city and beyond, arguably the top person in the city on homelessness and the leader of one of the largest non-profit law firms in the country that focuses on poverty and our un-housed neighbors:
Rev. Andrew (Andy) Bales – President and CEO of Union Rescue Mission with more than 31 years of experience in community outreach and service to his “friends experiencing homeless.”
Pastor Troy Vaughn – Rev. Andrew (Andy) Bales – newly appointed President and CEO of Los Angeles Mission, a world leader among Missions that provide for the poor, restore the addicted and eliminate homelessness. With over two decades of service and leadership, as well as personal experience with overcoming homelessness, Pastor Troy is also the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership, President and CEO of Christ-Centered Ministries, and Senior Pastor of Restoration Family Worship Center.
Heidi Marston – Executive Director of Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, joined the agency in 2019 after a decade at the U.S. Dept. of Veteran Affairs where she served in several roles including Special Assistant to the VA Secretary in the Obama Administration.
Adam Murray – A housing and homelessness expert who serves as Chief Executive Officer of Inner City Law Center, a non-profit poverty law firm serving the most vulnerable individuals and families in Los Angeles County.
Sarah Wilson – Executive Director of Harvest Home since 2013, a residential program that has been working to end generational homelessness by transforming the lives of homeless pregnant women and their children for more than 35 years.
Past Forum Resources
The Hidden Pandemic—De-stigmatizing Mental Health | Friday, January 29, 2021
A distinguished panel will discuss the importance of eliminating stigmas, the healthy and hurtful ways we try to cope, and how the church can better support mental health and mental health professionals.
Dr. Cassandra Harewood, MD – Psychiatry specialist with over 26 years of experience in the field.
Mary M. Manix, Psy.D. – Licensed Clinical Psychologist with She has over 20 years of clinical experience.
Dr. Kelly Haer, PhD – director of the Relationship IQ program at the Boone Center for the Family at Pepperdine University.
Civil Conversation | Kingdom Connection Over Political Partisanship | Friday, October 30
Special Guest: Dr. Richard Mouw
Seminary president, Biblical scholar and author of Uncommon Decency: Christian civility in an uncivilized world, Dr. Richard Mouw will offer the theological basis for civility and how we can communicate with people who disagree with us on the issues that matter most.
Love Matters More | Friday, September 25
Special Guest: Jared Byas
Biblical scholar, popular podcast host of The Bible for Normal People and author of Love Matters More: How fighting to be right keeps us from loving like Jesus, Jared Byas helps us lay the foundation for having Christian conversations with those we disagree with.
Key Principles you’ll hear: Investment over Opinion; Humility over Arrogance; Compassion over Rightness; Connection over Convincing; Curiosity over Judgement; Respectful Disagreement over Silent Resentment; Boundaries over Being a Doormat and many other practical tips as well.
Reflections from Pastor Mike
Forum – Love Matters More
I purchased Jared’s book Love Matters More…I may be mistaken, but I’m hearing him say that there is no “absolute truth”? Perhaps I am wrong, hoping so…
I believe Jared’s argument is that we can’t know truth “absolutely.” Basically, we will never know everything, what we do know is influenced by our experiences/perspectives, and as humans, we are not able to fully grasp absolute truth or reality as it really is (pg 13). He is not arguing that there isn’t “absolute truth”, but rather we need to have the humility to say we are unable to grasp it fully. If we have the humility to acknowledge our inability to grasp “Absolute Truth” absolutely, then we may be able to lovingly and patiently enter into conversations with those we may disagree with.
He further addresses this point on page 15 when he says, “It’s interesting that those who do believe we can access absolute truth almost always also believe they are the ones who possess it…Paul…told us straight up that he didn’t have access to absolute truth. He wrote, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12 NASB italics mine).
Jared is not arguing for some sort of “relativism” (see chapter 2, bottom of page 23). Rather, Jared’s basic argument is that only God knows absolute truth absolutely. Since we are not God, we can enter into loving conversations seeking to understand the other, to learn from the other, to allow the other to reveal truth even further as opposed to fighting to demonstrate how we are right.
Finally, Jared has a lot to say with regard to “truth” as we define it. I believe he is on to something when he suggests we are in the wrong to think that simply possessing facts means we grasp the truth. Truth without love, truth without action, truth disembodied, truth that holds in bondage…is really no truth at all.