What is Christian Literacy?
Literacy refers to the ability to use a language - to know what words means, to be able to use grammar, sentence structure, to be able to converse in that language is to be literate.
Religious literacy means having the ability to understand and speak about our faith intelligently. It’s the ability to communicate the basic tenets of our religion.
I'm very grateful to B.U. Professor Stephen Prothero for his excellent book, "Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know and Doesn't." This book, along with my desire to teach the faith, served as the inspiration for this effort.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
At its core Christianity seeks to answer this question: how can I be reconciled to God?
It’s a legitimate question. How can I as an imperfect, flawed mortal approach the Infinite and Holy One? How can we as spiritual descendants of Adam & Eve, prone like them to rebel against God’s ways, find our way back to Eden and walk again in harmony with God?
Christianity answers this question with the concept of Atonement. The meaning of the word is apparent within itself: “at-one-ment.” How can we be at one with God? How can we be reunited with our Creator? Christianity's answer: through the Atonement found in the life and death of Christ.
I Peter 3:18 - “Christ died for our sins, once and for all, in order to bring us to God.”
In this act of unconditional love, God has swallowed up our sins, and has therefore made us one with our Creator once again. “Christ died for our sins in order to bring us to God.” That’s something we can never totally understand this side of heaven - how God reconciled us by the Cross. But we can let the sacrificial love shown at the Cross do its work and bring us to God.
There’s a theory about the Cross that CS Lewis liked. It’s called the “Moral Influence” theory. Brian McLaren describes it this way:
“The cross demonstrates Jesus’ self-giving, his complete abandonment to God’s will, his complete self-devotion for the sake of the world. Jesus’ death completes the whole message of his life; he makes visible the self-giving love of God. When that sacrificial love touches us, we are changed internally . . . so that we want to stop being selfish, and we want to join God in self-giving, beginning with giving ourselves back to God, and leading us to give ourselves to our neighbors and the world, too. It’s as if Jesus invites us into his self-giving. He gives himself to God, for the sake of the whole world, and he invites us into his devotion, both to God and for the world.” (From The Story We Find Ourselves In, p. 105)
Thought: Christ did what we could not do ourselves - reconcile us to God.
Question: The Cross is the symbol of our faith. What is your understanding of the meaning and mystery of the Cross?
Prayer: Thank You, Loving God, for reuniting us to Yourself, through the life, death and resurrection of Christ. Amen.
“We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. - I John 2:1b-2