Christianity 101 – Essentials

[from the church newsletter, 4/8/09]

After 5 weeks of experiencing Christianity 101, let me share what we’ve learned.
  • Grace underlies all that we do. Any Christian action, any Christian doctrine, must be understood with the assumption that we humans are at best flawed and yet God’s divine grace embraces us, accepts us, and saves us from ourselves. 
  • The organized church has often strayed away from the essentials and instead “majored in the minors.” The essentials? Scripture as viewed through the lenses of God-given reason, experience, and tradition; salvation; sanctification; the humanity and divinity of Christ; the sacraments as a means of grace; holiness of heart and life lived out through works of piety and works of mercy; discipleship.
Last week, our discussion turned lively. How often have we (“we” being all of Christendom) allowed Jesus not to be present at meetings and conferences and argued over trivial things instead – in essence, majoring in the minors? How often have clergy forgotten their call and instead focused on their careers? How often has bureaucracy gotten in the way of making disciples – which is supposed to be our primary task? How long have we coasted on the hard work and faith of our ancestors, riding on their coattails instead of standing on their shoulders?

As you can see – our meetings have been lively!!

We are going to take a break until May and will then begin to focus on the creeds – the Apostles’ and the Nicene – and “dissect” them line by line to reacquaint ourselves with these things that we say we believe (remember: the word creed literally means “I/we believe”). We will resume our Christianity 101 studies on Sunday, May 3, at 6 PM. I hope you will join us. While attending all the classes certainly won’t hurt you, feel free to jump in or drop by on any Sunday evening. You will be more than welcome. And there are no tests or quizzes. [grin]