Another Class Finished

I finished my adult education class last night. The majority of the time we spent reading The Spirituality of the Cross: The Way of the First Evangelicals, a quite excellent book outlining what Confessional Lutheranism looks and feels like. I have some minor quibbles with the book as far as his take on Lutheranism and Lutheran doctrine, but all in all, if one wants to get a feel for what the LCMS is/could have been, it’s pretty good.

What worked well about the class is that I intentionally structured it as an information class, not necessarily as a catechetical/membership class. It made the non-Lutheran participants more comfortable and took the pressure off “buying it” and placed it on understanding it.

What didn’t work so well is that now the class is finished, some who wish to become members will need some more pointed instruction to fill in the gaps. Assessing where and what those gaps are will be more difficult, but when I undertake this in January, I’ll report in and tell you how it went.

In more personal news, my voice survived the hour last night, but today I’m not doing so well again. So it’s Matins in about ten minutes if anyone comes, and then the doctor to see what’s ailing me.

4 comments on “Another Class Finished

  1. Assuming that they are participating in the worship life – a simple run through the Small Catechism would be spiffy. The 10 Commandments showing us our sin and guiding our actions. The Creed, whereby we see that all good, be it physical or spiritual, flows from God. The Lord’s Prayer, whereby we are instructed daily to remember our lack and God’s grace and mercy – and then a refresher over the sacramental realities we participate in with Baptism/CA/Lord’s Supper. Move that way, and they will fill in the blanks with their questions.

  2. I always found “What’s Going on Among the Lutherans?: A Comparison of Beliefs” by Patsy A. Leppien and J. Kincaid Smith to be a wonderful resource that got at a lot of the base questions as to why confessional Lutherans taught this vs. that. It was a little “in” for non-Lutherans to care much about, perhaps, but it really didn’t pull punches regarding the issues underlying things like the Predestination Controversy.

    I’ve found Orthodoxy to be much more reactive to such things. The worship is so chock full of ‘stuff’ and there are so many ‘things’ around that call for explanation, that catechesis is little more than answering a flood of “Whys” and “Whats” and “How comes”. I wonder if the inquirers and catechumens in Eastern Europe feel the Orthodox church to be as ‘foreign’ as the typical American does?

    1. I always found that book helpful, too. Most people are unaware of the alarming theological behaviors going on among church bodies they thought to be a-okay. It’s a book that was always helpful with the intercommunion issue.

      I’m finding Orthodoxy to be much more take-home in comparison to the way I was taught to do catechesis and new member classes at the Ft. Wayne seminary. We’re expected to pray and fast in addition to attend Liturgy and undergo instruction. One of the things I’m really liking is that there’s no pressure to get through the new membership process quickly. When I was a Lutheran minister I always wanted to make the potential new members go through a lengthy catechumenate, but I always felt this pressure from nowhere to get them in quicker than that. I think nine months was about how long I made them go. It never turned anyone away. In the Orthodox Church our catechumenate was nine months, too. And if you think about it, a long catechumenate really shouldn’t bother anyone. If they plan on being there permanently, then what’s the rush? Slow and thorough doesn’t have to be a bad thing, imho.

  3. I’m finding that one’s catechesis is never done as an Orthodox! Actually, I suspect that such is the reality through the ages … but for some reason folks want to boil it all down into some classes that they can pass, get graded, and well, forget. That was certainly what I found in “my other life.”

    So we continue to grow through fasting, prayer, confession, Divine Liturgy, almsgiving, and seeking God and His will daily.

    All of this is to say … the catechesis goes on!

    Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

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