What is Christian 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.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Imago Dei

It's one of the most striking and profound passages in all the Bible:

Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Theologians call it the "Imago Dei," the image or likeness of God. It's the idea that something in our inner nature reflects something vital about God. I get a kick out of the fact that what exactly this bold and beautiful claim means is never spelled out in scripture! I guess we're supposed to figure it out ourselves . . . .

Question: What is it within us that most reflects the character of God?

The most common answers to this question through the years are things like: our intelligence, personality, rationality and morality, our sense of justice, as well as the fact that we are spiritual and relational beings.

Here's a thought: The next person you see is a walking reflection of the character of God. Look for it.

Prayer: Thank You, God, that something in my essence is a reflection of who You are. Help me to let it shine! Amen.

Extra Credit

Theologians have written volumes about the Imago Dei, human beings made in God's image. One question that has been debated for centuries is this: Did the "Fall" of humanity and the introduction of sin into the world remove the Imago Dei? Most theologians today answer, no. The image of God within us is not wiped out by our sin. It is however sullied by sin. Therefore, salvation and sanctification are designed to restore the image of God within us.

Our true nature is a reflection of who God is. Our calling is to restore that image, to make that likeness within us visible and real.

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