Sunday, January 5, 2014

Some Brilliant Basics of Faith

In a previous post I included some of my favorite quotes from Nadia Bolz-Weber's book Pastrix. One brilliant section was a little too long for that post, however, so I thought I would dedicate an entire post to these thoughts.

When Nadia first came back to the church, years after leaving the fundamentalist church of her youth, she attended an ELCA Lutheran church where her fiance was an intern. When she decided to join the church she needed to take a membership class that was taught by the pastor. In the book, Nadia included the five main points that the pastor spoke about in this class. These five teachings are a great place to begin with people that are new to the church and I can definitely see myself "borrowing" (aka 'stealing') these in the future as I speak to new members at my church. Here are the five:
  1. God's grace is a gift that is freely given to us. We don't earn a thing when it comes to God's love, and we only try to live in response to the gift.
  2. No one is climbing the spiritual ladder. We don't continually improve until we are so spiritual we no longer need God. We die and are made new, but that's different from spiritual self-improvement.
  3. We are simultaneously sinner and saint, 100 percent of both, all the time.
  4. The Bible is not God. The Bible is simply the cradle that holds Christ. Anything in the Bible that does not hold up to the Gospel of Jesus Christ simply does not have the same authority.
  5. The movement in our relationship to God is always from God to us. Always. We can't, through our piety or goodness, move closer to God. God is always coming near to us. Most especially in the Eucharist and in the stranger.
While these five certainly don't encompass all Christian thought and belief, they seem like an appropriate place to start with people who are new to your church. I think they are incredibly helpful.

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