“Daddy,” my six-year-old leaned over and whispered in my ear, “should I change it to baseball? Because that’s what our family does”— and I was reminded that family discipleship can be far simpler than we sometimes think.
“The captain has turned off the seat belt sign.”
My wife and children are at home, but I am not. The conference has been long, the flight has been delayed, it is late, and I am longing to see the lights of Louisville.
Sparkling crystals of light unfurl beneath me, not evenly scattered across the midwestern plains but clumped and clustered like the time when I let my seven-year-old sprinkle the colored sugar on a cake. Each of these clusters is a place with a story and a gathering of people I will probably never meet. Beneath the belly of this aircraft, hospital patients are taking their first steps down the dark hallway of death; a new life is taking root in the warmth of a mother’s womb; people are marrying and burying, dreaming and despairing, making money and making love. Some of the souls in these clusters below me can hardly wait for the moment when they will be able to find a path to some other place; others have lived lives so entwined in one location that they could never dream of spending their lives anywhere else.
There are story lines that have uniquely formed each of these sprinklings of light, and each of these stories frames the lives of those who live there.Continue reading.
Once upon a time, there was a season in the church year known as “Advent.” The word comes to us from the Latin for “coming.” The purpose of the season was to anticipate; the coming of Christ to earth; it was a season that focused on waiting.
This research into the history of age-organized catechetical classes in the church is based on an academic paper that I presented to the practical theology section of the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in Providence, Rhode Island, on November 16, 2017.
This post is the third in a three-part series.
“The Church of God Will Never Preserve Itself Without a Catechism”: Confirmation and Catechetical Instruction in the English Reformation
Following the death of King Henry VIII in 1547, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer grew a beard that suggested solidarity with the continental Reformers—but it was not merely in his pogonotrophic proclivities that the Archbishop of Canterbury imitated what was happening on the other side of the English Channel. Cranmer—not unlike Calvin—required catechesis of children in the context of the church.
This research into the history of age-organized ministries in the church is based on an academic paper that I presented to the practical theology section of the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in Providence, Rhode Island, on November 16, 2017.
This post is the second in a three-part series.
“At Midday, There Is to Be Catechism”: Weekly Classes for Children in Sixteenth-Century Geneva
John Calvin provided instructions for catechesis in the same section of the ecclesiastical ordinances in which he described the frequency and locations for weekly pastoral proclamations of Scripture. He directed that each Sunday “at midday, there is to be catechism, that is, instruction of little children, in all the three churches.” The individual responsible for this instruction in each congregation was to be the pastor.
These weekly catechetical classes were designed as a distinct and separate gathering for children, and children’s attendance was not optional. Continue reading.