Tuesday, January 12, 2010

J. I. Packer and Catechesis

I had a wonderful "Godincidence" (a "coincidence" that can be attributed to God) this weekend. Dr. J. I. Packer (the author of Knowing God and other books) came to town for the Bishop Stanton lecture. Normally this takes place in November, but this was how the schedule worked out.

Anyway, Dr. Packer's latest crusade is for improved catechesis - instruction in the faith. This is something that the Episcopal Church has done poorly for several decades. We seem to operate under the notion that everyone is already a Christian and they don't need instruction. This is something that I feel very strongly about. We don't seem to care about Christian Education - particularly for adults! We operate as if the Catechism class is where you "graduate" and you don't have to be in Sunday School any more.

Now one of my duties at St. James is to teach our Catechsism class every year. I normally do a combined youth and adult class and I refuse to talk down to the young people. The class is about 1/2 lecture and 1/2 small group discussion - with adults and kids sitting in the same groups.

The "Godincidence" is that my Catechism class started last Sunday (Jan 10th) - the day after Dr. Packer's lecture!

Anyway, here is what we cover in the class
1. Who is God - the Father
2. Who is God - Jesus, the Son
3. Who is God - the Holy Spirt and the Trinity
4. Who are we?
5. What is our goal? (To live a life filled with and powered by God's Grace)
6. Where do we live the life of Grace? - The Church
7. How do we live the life of Grace? - by Faith.
8. What is this faith? The Baptismal Covenant
9. What is this faith? The Nicene Creed
10. How do we grow in faith and grace? - Prayer
11. How do we grow in faith and grace? - Study
12. How do we grow in faith and grace? - Ministry
13. How do we grow in faith and grace? - Sacraments
14. What obstacles can we expect in our life? Sin (and overcoming obstacles)
15. Sin and Virtue (APESLAG, and FHL Time For Prune Juice)
16. How is the Parish and Church structured?

Anyway, that is my basic outline. I will be teaching the class from now until Trinity Sunday when our Bishop will come to confirm.

Please pray for me and for the class.

Phil Snyder

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