Topic 8: I am a Christian
Since the time of Christ there have been discussions about theological differences in the Church. The earliest ones were centered on who Jesus was. By the time the two Creeds were accepted, the church had found unity on that issue. Other issues of disagreement have persisted. In this short presentation, the Rev. Dr. Sandy McCurdy has selected one such controversial subject. Simply put, it is the question of who might be the ones welcomed into God’s Full Kingdom when it comes and who will be eternally damned and punished. Sandy offers my theological opinion on this.
- If you believe God will eternally condemn certain people to eternal torture, or even to a “limbo-like” agony, how do you reconcile that with the basic conflicts that raises with a) his nature as love and b) his command to us to return good for evil, and then do just the opposite with his creatures?
- How do you think God will relate to you after death?
- Sandy says that “God’s almighty capacity for compassion and forgiveness will enfold us after we have been humbled by the details of our misdeeds.” How might you respond to this?
Topic 7: The Holy Eucharist
The Holy Eucharist, also known as Holy Communion, is called the principal act of Christian worship in The Book of Common Prayer. Join the Revs. Bill Wood and Emily Zimbrick-Rogers in a discussion on the history, practice, and theology of this sacred meal, where Jesus invites you to his table.
- Where does the idea of Communion come from in the life of Jesus?
- How do you see the theme of thanksgiving in the practice of Holy Communion?
- How do the actions of Holy Eucharist: Take, Bless, Break, Give relate to Jesus’ own life and our lives as Christians?
If you want to continue this discussion in a group setting or in a one-on-one conversation, please contact Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org or Emily at email@example.com.
Topic 6: Baptism
Baptism is the full initiation into the Christian community, the adopted children of God. It is practiced by Christians of all denominations. We use the most common element in the world and in our bodies, water, as the sign of the abundance of God’s grace and love to forgive us our sins and empower us to follow Jesus in our lives.
- How is God present in Baptism?
- What does it mean to be received into the household of God?
- What is required of us in Baptism?
- How do we live our lives, marked as Christ’s own forever?
Topic 5: The Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the keeper of our common wealth—our shared understanding of both how important community is (we pray together) and the value of the individual’s experience of God (we bring to worship—and take from worship—our own experience and sense of God). Grab a prayer book, open it up and find a prayer service!
- On what page can you find Daily morning Prayer?
- On what page can you find Prayers (collects) for various occasions?
If you want to continue this discussion in a group setting or in a one-on-one conversation, please contact Maurice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Topic 4: Life of Prayer
Almost everyone has a different idea about what prayer is and many are uncomfortable with the idea of praying. Join The Rev. Ed Shiley as he explores how easy it is to pray and how the habit of praying can lead to a life of intimate communion with God.
- Do you see and practice prayer as dialogue or monologue?
- How do you understand prayer to be the act of God happening in us?
- How do you see prayer as the activity of God the Spirit freeing us from the grasping, frightened, self-important bundles of instincts we have been taught to think of as our true selves, and with what does God replace those instincts?
Topic 3: Studying the Bible at Home
The Bible is the best-selling book in history, but what does it mean to you and your personal faith journey? Join the Rev. Emily Zimbrick-Rogers and special guests to discover how to study the Bible for yourself and how you can find God speaking to you in its pages.
- What has your experience of the Bible been in the past? What is your experience now?
- Where do you hear God speaking in the Bible?
- How might you begin, renew, or deepen your engagement with the Bible?
- Of the multiple ways mentioned to study the Bible, what was most intriguing to you or one method you’d like to try?
The HarperCollins Study Bible, New Revised Standard Version for those who want study notes and book introductions.
Common English Bible for those who prefer not as much paragraph heading and study notes, a very readable version.
A few good one-volume commentaries include The Women’s Bible Commentary, edited by Carol Newsom, Sharon Ringe and Jacqueline Lapsley (Westminster John Knox, 2012); The New Interpreter’s Bible One-Volume Commentary, edited by Beverly Gaventa and David Petersen (Abingdon, 2010); The International Bible Commentary (Liturgical Press, 1998).
Websites: www.biblegateway.com and www.blueletterbible.org
If you want to continue this discussion in a group setting or in a one-on-one conversation, please contact Emily at email@example.com.
Topic 2: The Bible
What’s in it? Who wrote it? Does it have real relevance for us today? Take a very fast tour through the history of the Bible, as well as its contents, with The Rev. Elizabeth Colton.
- Did you know that almost every Bible has a Table of Contents? No need to be embarrassed if you don’t know where to find a particular book. You can look it up! Try finding a few of your favorites.
- Now that you know a little bit more about the Bible and its origins, did you find that any long-held beliefs were challenged?
- In the twentieth century, lots of new texts were discovered by archaeologists. How would you decide if some of these should be included in a future publication of the Bible?
If you are interested in more nuts and bolts about finding your way around our sacred book in a group setting or in a one-on-one conversation please contact Liz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Topic 1: Gifts for the Spiritual Life
God has given us spiritual gifts by the grace and presence of the Holy Spirit that are given to us so that we may enjoy the life God has given us. God calls us to use our gifts to build up the Church and make Christ’s love and vision known to others. In this short video with The Rev. Frank Allen, you will learn about the Holy Spirit that has been at work from the very beginning of creation and how the Holy Spirit is at work in all of our lives.
- How have you experienced God’s Holy Spirit in your life?
- What gifts do you sense God has given you?
- How is God calling you to exercise your gifts for the Body of Christ and for the life of the world?
You can find the Spiritual Gifts Inventory and full resource of Knowing and Living into Our Spiritual Gifts: God’s Gifts for you and the Church here and you’re encouraged to take the Inventory to discover some of the gifts you have been given.
If you want to continue this discussion in a group setting or in a one-on-one conversation, please contact Frank at email@example.com.
Our new educational video series, Christianity 101: Being a Christian at Home and in the World, is designed for in-home learning, study and discussion. The 7-10 minute segments will guide viewers in an exploration of 10 key topics of Christianity including the history and study of the Bible, Baptism, Holy Communion, understanding the Christian calendar and what being a Christian means in our current times.
“In this time of being at home amidst pandemic and social unrest, many Christians are finding new energy to renew their faith and spiritual practices, going deeper into learning about Christianity and finding new ways to explore what it means to be a Christian,” observes the Reverend Frank Allen, Rector of St. David’s. “We invite our local community to take advantage of the on-line resources we’ve made available as together we navigate the new normal of our Christian lives.” – The Rev. Frank Allen