Does God-talk make you squirm? Have you ever had someone ask you about your faith, only to have them criticize your honest reply? Have you ever confessed doubts about some theological doctrine only to be denounced as a false Christian? If so, you’re not alone, even among many regular churchgoers. In truth, theological conversation goes deep, all the way to the root of how we understand ourselves, others and the world in which we live. It’s easy to understand why it can make us feel so vulnerable.
Theologian W. Paul Jones has spent years studying the theological diversity within Western Christianity and the conflicts which have ‘polarized, paralyzed and neutralized’ the life and ministry of denominations and congregations. He’s come to believe that our theological differences, sufficiently studied and understood, can help Christians revitalize their communities of faith and reawaken their ministries and mission.
From October 23rd to November 20th, we’ll immerse ourselves in the 5 distinct ‘Theological Worlds’ Jones has identified. In Sunday School and Worship, we’ll study the unique insights and challenges these different worldviews bring to our faith. I’m inviting all of our members and friends to complete a survey to help identify the worldviews that most resonate with your own faith and perspective.
There’s no right or wrong worldview. Each is grounded in scripture and the history of our tradition. But because they represent such different ways of viewing the world, they pose both risk and opportunity–risk when they lead to misunderstanding and opportunity when we learn to speak each others’ language of faith.
Please stay tuned for more information on our study and the accompanying sermon series. And please consider completing the survey. We’ll invite you to share your results with the office so we can create a map of our whole congregation’s diverse perspectives. I’m hopeful that this five-week immersion will be an adventure in our learning and growth as a community of faith and that each of us will emerge with a better understanding of each other.
Gratefully yours, Pastor Ken