Church Narratives

Lesson 23: Pope Francis’ “Rejoice and Be Glad”

Lesson 23: Pope Francis’ “Rejoice and Be Glad”

As I read the Pope’s recent exhortation Gaudete and Exsultate, I was struck by how much it echoes our search for a modern Christian love narrative. Although he presents it as a call to holiness in today’s world, he repeatedly describes holiness as love. He writes, for instance, “Holiness is nothing less than love lived […]

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Lesson 22: Love is Imitating God

Lesson 22: Love is Imitating God

I can’t stop exploring what might be a modern Christian narrative based on love, because I am learning so much from the conversation. I especially have been surprised at the rich interplay that has taken place online. Remember my son and I write about the limitations of electronic communication. Although I stand by our observations […]

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Lesson 21: Christ is Risen

Lesson 21: Christ is Risen

Every Easter, we shout “Christ is risen!” to each other with great joy. Chances are, we have a pretty good idea of what we mean, even though we would have a difficult time putting it into words. Most attempts at theorizing sound like nonsense in the modern world. Where is the right hand of God […]

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Lesson 20: Resurrection Appearances as Love Story

Lesson 20: Resurrection Appearances as Love Story

When I was a parish pastor, I felt a great challenge preaching the sermon on Easter Sunday. I realized that this might be the only time a large number worshipped all year. I also knew from experience that some of these were listening to hear if the church offered them any meaning and purpose. And […]

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Lesson 19: The Passion Narrative as Love Story

Lesson 19: The Passion Narrative as Love Story

Holy Week and Easter highlight the importance of a Christian narrative. Christians around the world observe these sacred times by participating in a story that has changed lives for 2000 years. Of course, there will be attempts to explain what has happened and is happening by referring to theological doctrines. The Church has continually tried […]

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Lesson 18: Environment

Lesson 18: Environment

Certainly a modern Christian narrative must include our relationship to the environment. Right now, the conversation addressing that issue in our society and the Church rages around the argument about humanity’s role in climate change. Like so much in our current culture, decisions about actions are presumed to be based on scientific findings rather than […]

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Lesson 17: Faith, Hope, and Love In Decision Making

Lesson 17: Faith, Hope, and Love In Decision Making

It’s fine to speak of Christianity being unconditional love all the way down. It’s exhilarating to read St. Isaac of Syria write of even Hell being filled with God’s love. However, it is frustrating when various Christian groups totally disagree on what comprises loving actions in real life and death situations. And it is downright […]

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Lesson 16: Incarnation

Lesson 16: Incarnation

I always thought of myself as a member of the “theology of the cross” school. Paul and Kerry, through brief exchanges on this site, have helped me see the limitations of this tradition, how it has led too many people to put themselves down as contemptible sinners unworthy of God’s grace. At least in our […]

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Lesson 14: Christian Love Involves Suffering

Lesson 14: Christian Love Involves Suffering

I have been receiving so many thoughtful responses to Dr. King’s sermon that I decided to address them in the lesson next week. However, I thought it would be helpful to present his conclusion before doing that. Everyone of the responses acknowledged Jesus called on individuals to return good for evil. Almost all questioned how […]

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