Does anyone ever get any wiser? and other hermeneutical questions

If talking about “wisdom” is bland bland bland, can’t it be spiced up? If we are just talking about slavish copying of some exemplar, that process seems not more interesting than sitting in a monastery copying a text and hoping some of the content sticks to oneself personally. Bo-ring.

Even copying a person, without some kind of rationale, some kind of interactivity, some kind of mentoring, some kind of care, of love, is the only way that such a copying process would ever come alive.

The alternative way of thinking about education must be the tempting way for schooled people in a Western society.

You learn the propositions, you take the test, you thus prove you know the stuff.

Clearly, that’s way short of “Christian education.”

I can spout all kinds of answers but if there is no service, no love, to show the reality of the answers in my life, I just prove my fraudulence.

So the question has to be: how does a person grow in wisdom.

Here things get non standard and maybe somewhat interesting.

All of us lives life as a story.

I have my story.

You have your story.

Moreover, I am always engaged in rewriting the story.

Or adding to the lived blog, if the new incident in the never ending soap opera that is my life really does not challenge, deepen, or contradict my previous interpretation of my life.

(We can notice as we go by that “web log” sounds more like “chronicle,” usually meant as UNINTERPRETED historical data, rather than “history” usually seen as defined by some philosophy or historiography that determines the selection of data. But let’s let that pass and move on to….)

I assess my new experiences on a grid.

The grid is inherited from parents, family, friends, the street, television, internet, alpha pups, teachers, university professors (now we come to the bottom of the list) etc

I interpret my experience based on what people around me and I myself take to be significant in life.

Maybe it is a great career, like Horatio Alger used to write about.

Then any reverse to my upward trend is a negative in my life. No other grid. Although I may be conflicted about my priority for upward mobility, still, I become depressed because I did not get the promotion.

Take another grid. It is the grid of how God has worked in history, taken to be an authoritative history.

I compare my new experience, fit it in, based on what the grid tells me of other human beings’ experiences with this God, who I take to be able to direct history.

Then I have a scheme of interpretation.

I have a heuristic.

I have a hermeneutic.

If I read my experience in the light of what has been revealed about the direction of history, I learn a little something.

It may not be an easy process.

I struggle against my other grids which tells me that the failure to be promoted is an unrelieved Bad.

But I know from divine history that sometimes such reverses are really totally Good.

Do I believe the divine grid, or my socially derived grid?

Hopefully I look at Genesis 37-50 or Psalm 73 and say to self, Stupid, buck yourself up. You don’t have to be in charge of your own life. You need to trust the power who directs history, who knows what’s what. We live in a world of surfaces, screens, seduction. Or, even if my failure seems like an unmitigated Bad, Tragic, a Travesty, still, I have a sense of higher order that is not only rationalization but acknowledging the inscrutability of history beyond what is revealed.

GIST: I develop wisdom by interacting with the divine history and its offshoots.

Wisdom is learning a person, but learning a person as part of 2000 plus years of revelation and even 2000 subsequent years of other societies and persons learnings. It is contextually attuned wisdom gleaning.

What do you comment?

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If any such a thing as a perfect person exists, we’d want to be like that! Wisdom and who we are. Aims of education.

One perfect person? The legitimate aim of education?

Aren’t there many different kinds of person?

And doesn’t each person have something special and unique about them?

Like snowflakes, in spite of their amazing similarity, are all supposed to be different from each other.

Why try to press everyone into the mould of one perfect person?

Isn’t that oppressive?

Maybe.

Can wisdom serve as the aim of education?

I’m back on the wisdom groove again, topic of past two posts.

Yes, wisdom understood in some definite way. Not generic.

What if: we accepted “Christ” as the embodiment of true wisdom…

OH HO!

You see where I’m going before I say it.

If we say that the Christ of the New Testament is wisdom for believers, as he is foolishness to unbelievers (NT, 1 Corinthians 1 & 2) then this wisdom is a person.

We all have people we looked up to.

When you were a child, you wanted to be like Dad or Mom or Teacher or Coach or the Singer, or somebody special.

Imagine this: you had only one wish from the genie, and it could be anything about your character.

Probably somebody is still down there, a living memory within you, who embodies kindness, care, strength, character, wise speech, wise-acre speech, who you might like to be like.

Somebody who has it absolutely down, what it is to be human.

What if there were a person perfect in every character dimension?

Not possible?

The Christian character ideal of course puts Christians into that one-size-fits-all straitjacket.

Except: to be able to love, to care, not to be disloyal, etcetera, is actually an expression of true freedom.

Not a straitjacket. A release of human potentials.

Our inability by ourselves to be those powerful, important things drives us crazy and makes us depressed.

I don’t love consistently. I love myself and care for myself quite a lot, and sometimes I love other people too. But I can hardly imagine a life more for others than for myself.

Mother Teresa boggles my mind. What she gave up. What she was able to give.

Myself, I can’t consistently speak care-fully and lovingly.

Oh, not to lapse into care-lessness, arrogance, pride, sexual sins like lust, greed!

Too much to hope?

Yes, humanly speaking.

If (grant it for me, OK) if Christ is the Christian’s wisdom, then:

You want to be conformed to the image of his Son.

We are created beings, according to the first chapter of the first book of the collection of books (the canon).

Humanity was created in the image of the one true God.

So what is image-ness?

It is *at least* moral perfection.

God saw what he had created, and it was good.

It is lordship, too: God said, Fill the earth and subdue it.

(Probably the only commandment we are well on the way to twistedly fulfill.)

So we image-bearers are vice-gerents — sub-managers – stewards of the earth.

Lordship is controversial, because the ecological movement from Lynn White onward has avowed that it is exactly the arrogant imperative “fill and subdue” that has raped the Earth.

It could have been a garden, and now it is on the way to being a strip mine.

The image of God in humanity is defaced. The defacement leads to misuse of the patrimony. “Resources” is too clinical, too utilitarian, too Francis-Bacon-put-nature-on-the-rack. Patrimony. Deposit. Defaced.

Point: we struggle with life because we live with deformed desires.

The deformed desires are inherited from the first human pair onward.

What is abnormal we take for normal.

What is now abnormal, must be restored.

In this light, Christianity is a humanity restoration project, a project for renewed desires, renewed capacities, renewed freedom.

Christian education, that apparently delimited effort by some within the church to promote the full potential of the body, must reckon with wisdom embodied both individually and socially.

That restoration must be shown to be possible in a society that anticipates the greater restoration still on the horizon of time.

Wisdom is a church development thing.

Yikes.

Must Read: Richard Middleton has a book on creation which goes beyond the standard account and talks about the human vocation of culture formation. Creation’s potentials are buried within creation, waiting to be unfolded. Not sure if he has the antithesis between unfolded for human glory/unfolded for God’s glory nailed down, but I’m waiting to see. Of relevance to direction of educational efforts. Avoiding pessimism. Building a hopefully transformed future. (Middleton is the other half of Walsh and Middleton, authors of a much-used college worldview textbook, The Transforming Vision.)

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Moreover, the wisdom that is goal for education is Christ

The post I wrote on the weekend decided that wisdom is a good goal of education. I think I’m not alone in concluding this. A late-90s book by long time religious educator Chuck Melchert is Wise Teaching. You can read the post here: http://wp.me/p1pLbI-p

However, a blog is not a fully processed piece of academic writing or even a sermon. Is like a diary.

So I can be wrong. I’m allowed, on a blog. I hope someone picks up on it. Blogging is supposed to start conversations, isn’t it.

Next day, I’m reading Colossians over breakfast. And I see that not only is generic wisdom a goal of education, but specifically Christ is the Christian’s wisdom.

Of course. How could it be otherwise.

If one were Muslim, Allah and his prophet would be one’s (source of) wisdom.

If one were a certain kind of Hindu, practicing advaita, the depths of one’s own interiority could be one’s (source of) wisdom.

Let’s notice an ambiguity in passing: is that which I know my wisdom?

If Abraham Heschel, say, was sleeping and you saw him, you could still say, That man Heschel is wise. Heschel was a notably wise rabbi who taught at Jewish Theological Seminary in NYC and wrote books that all kinds of people appreciate. Sleeping, he is not being wise. Unless he is having wise dreams, that is. Or giving out wisdom in his dreams. He has the quality of being a wise human being, whether the quality is actively employed or not.

Or is my wisdom the same as my ability (if any) to process what I really know in given situations. I possess an ability to read situations and act appropriately. As did those old Issachar guys from last posting.

The contrast is between *I possess* wisdom, and, *I am able to exercise* wisdom.

Perhaps, can we say that wisdom is both the deposit and the ability to employ the deposit.

Both passive and active forms are wisdom.

(End of Detour — ’nuff!)

So: If one is attached to Christ, Christ is your wisdom. Paul says as much all over the place.

One of Paul’s famous statements is, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me.”

Paul has become a proxy for Christ’s action within the world. Not that he is possessed as one might be possessed by a spirit, so that his personality is extinguished; rather, the life of the loved one has so captured Paul that the genuine Paul, his better self, is expressed through Christ.

Another famous Paul saying is, “To me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Again, wisdom-y echoes are all over there.

So read these selections from Colossians along with me, if you can:

Colossians 1 Verse 3: We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven … something has altered the Colossian believers’ former way of thinking. A new fact or new reality has intruded. Something has dawned on them. Whatever it is, it is stored up or waiting for them in a realm above.

Colossians 1 (9) we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[e] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work …Paul makes an explicit prayer for their wisdom! The wisdom, though, is not as an end in itself. It is rather a means to know and do God’s will.

Love expressed in service may properly be the goal of Christian education.

Stay alert Newell!

Marx said famously that the point of philosophy is to change the world. Inert knowledge is useless, literally. “INUTILE, Monsieur!” as Tintin says.

Colossians 1:13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Now the content of the wisdom. Former life, new life. Remember! He is saying.

Colossians 1:15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,

Seems more abstract but is in line with what the early Christians were (more) obsessed about (than we late Christians really credit: the defence of Christian belief that depended on the same scripture as Jews possessed, but which radically differed in the interpretation of that scripture). (The only Bible they had was the “Old Testament”! The apostles were themselves the witnesses of the “New Testament.”) Hold that thought…

Colossians 1:17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. 21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[g] your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death

There it is! There has been a time dimension to “wisdom.” Not everything was revealed at once. It took centuries for the full plan to unroll. The most recent installment is signaled in verse 22: BUT NOW.

Yes, the early verses sound timeless, like the prologue of the New Testament Gospel of John does: In the Beginning was the Word…etc. But come to the end and you see Paul’s presentation of God’s plan for a non-Jewish audience. The full wisdom of God – let’s knock it home here – has only been revealed in and through Christ, says Paul.

Colossians 1: 24 …the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Again, hear that BUT NOW quality. History is the arena of God’s revelation. Certain events in history have been definitely “interpreted” by God so that we can read all the rest of history and all of our lives in the light of that definitive interpretation. Wow.

28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

The ability to extend that interpretation into my lived experience, and you to me, and me to you, is our shared wisdom, of which I have some and you have some. I read my life and my society’s life in the light of The New Testament Interpretation, which is Christ.

Christ transformed the “Old Testament” into its fullest reading, Christians must believe. I know that this discussion can be highly controversial, and other people shuffle the deck differently. But I can’t see how you can have a unified Bible if Christ is not the key to both testaments. He is our wisdom.

What do you say!

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Is wisdom a good aim for education that wants to be Christian?

Figuring out the goal of your educating efforts is crucial to success.

Not having a good clear goal before you will mean that you are bound to succeed – by hitting something that is huge and amorphous!

But everybody, yourself included, will be frustrated.

On the other hand, if educators know what they are all about, they can avoid unnecessary work that does not help toward any clear goal.

After saying this much so definitely, everything from here becomes difficult.

The goal can be too narrow. It can be repetition of information. Such information has never been processed in any way that would allow it truly to “inform” a student’s practice of life. So, the information is irrelevant at the time, and remains irrelevant probably always, as the pressure cooker of the educational setup is left behind.

The goal can be way too wide, as we said above.

Can it be too deep?

Definitely.

There is a process of learning the faith. Don’t start with prelapsarianism.

To those well along in their doctrinal development, prelapsarianism may start to take over your mind as the most important source of clear thinking.

I can hardly imagine how one might be so convinced – no, wrong, I can. Some denominations are habitually taken up in such concerns.

Let me ask again: Can a goal be too deep, meaning, can its significance become clear only after time, time that is not available to the course (the educational setup)?

Yes: take a Biblical example. Understanding Ecclesiastes requires an understanding of the Old Testament, particularly the first five books, and also of Proverbs. Ecclesiastes is grad school.

OK: can a goal be too shallow? Definitely. It can just aim at skills, almost like the too-narrow fact orientation I criticized above.

In the case of too-shallow goals, one issue is whether the components will hang together within a larger program of person-development.

Will all the parts fit? Unless the educator has a big enough understanding of the educational/people-development task, the risk is that the parts will not cohere. The parts might even contradict each other.

For example: Shouldn’t money management be part of a life of faith? Yet much Christian money management is not very theological. It reads like money management from other faith traditions or from the secular world. It is prudent, sensible, methodical. The “Christian” colouring can be “high transparency,” in computer graphics-ese.

So, we need a good goal.

Is wisdom a big enough and explicit enough goal for Christian educational efforts? Three answers follow.

First Answer: Yes. The goal of wisdom is explicitly stated of Proverbial training. Training of pupils for leadership in court and in society, as is set out in the Book of Proverbs within the Old Testament portion of the Bible, looks to develop wisdom. These pupils will have had the rest of the Old Testament. Now the proverbs, which are sometimes paradoxes, will prompt personal reflection and internalization. Wise kings, in the OT, were king of the hill. Dumb kings or evil kings, meaning nearly the same thing to the Proverb writer(s), were a bane and a blight to their people.

Second Answer: No. Wisdom is explicitly denied in First Corinthians 1 and 2. There, it is Greeks, that is, Gentiles, not people of the household of faith, who seek wisdom. Believers look at Christ crucified and find wisdom there, which is un-wisdom in the eyes of rest of the world. It is total idiocy, says Paul the apostle, but the cross comes to appear as the wisdom of God himself to those who see the emptiness, foolishness, and plain old sin that surrounds them on all sides.

Third Answer: Yes. Christ is the Christian’s wisdom. So wisdom — rightly understood — is a good goal.

What is wisdom, anyway? Is it not what was had by those guys mentioned just one single time in the 66 books of the Bible, the “men of Issachar.” The New Living Translation says, “From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders of the tribe with their relatives. All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.”

So wisdom is the ability to interpret. In fancy language (Greek derived in this case) wisdom is a hermeneutical ability. Proverbs methodology already points in this direction: in a proverb, the answer is not given to you on a plate. You the student must tease out the meaning of the proverb by understanding the meaning of the two parts of the assertion. I won’t go into this now since I’m close to limit. Take a look at, say, Chapter Six of the Book of Proverbs. Or one of the later chapters. The paradoxes seem to deepen as you travel along in the book.

You will not get wisdom developing in students by dishing it out and having it spit back more or less intact on tests.

You must give opportunities for wisdom development by steps or stages.

Essays are way better.

(Ha ha ha!)

And so are more interactive “processes” — like conversation.

Threaded conversations.

Group projects.

Shared service projects with study component integrated.

Watching wiser practitioners.

Go do stuff with an older, wiser person.

Biographies: read em.

Talking to others, especially those outside the faith. They sharpen you and raise the toughest questions.

Of course, now we start move out of “education” into regular life. Congregational life. I think here of C. Ellis Nelson or J. Westerhoff – their books emphasized the looser, relational, sociologically-done education. At the fuzzy end, do we start to dissolve – or to start really learning?

What do you think? How do you put it together? Where should we start?

 

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From whence, to whither: wither, or … wonder!

Christian education, or catechesis, is critical to a movement like Christianity.

Recently, James Packer and Gary Parrett authored a book that makes a compelling case for catechesis– in plain terms, regular teaching.

Christianity is a religion. It has definite teachings about who humans are, where we find ourselves cosmically, what happens after death, what the most basic problem of humanity is, and what should be done.

Christian teachings are centred on the personal-infinite God who revealed truths about himself to Abraham and in progressive clarity over his family’s history, culminating –Christians believe — in the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, of Abraham’s ultimate son, Jesus of Nazareth, shown to be at the same time Son of God when he gained life from death.

Notice that I am interpolating the introduction to the Letter to the Romans, from the New Testament. Teaching the content of the faith — the story/history, the implicit and explicit propositions about life, the universe, and every aspect of all kinds of stuff – is vitally important.

If Christianity were mainly about clearing your mind, teaching would take a different character. As it is, to make a quick contrast, Christianity is about filling your heart, mind and soul. With what? With greater and greater love for a definite Person.

When you love somebody, you want to know more about them.

Ongoing learning will surely be important in such a faith.

Further, catechesis has been historically important ever since Day Two. What do I mean?

Since the birth of the second generation of Christians to the first-generation converts, catechesis has been a main way that people are ushered into the faith.

God has, after all, no spiritual grandchildren. Everyone must own the faith for themselves, or not. Christianity is always only one generation away from extinction. Etcetera; all well known.

The minimization of regular teaching is cause for alarm.

Many causes seem likely to lie beneath the minimal level of church systematic teaching.

In the broad movement called evangelicalism, one of those causes is the way that personally being right with God, technically, justification, is the climax and summit of one’s personal story. A person could go to be with the Lord immediately. Now you’re good, in current language.

So if one is lingering, the main thing is to hold onto the basic confession. Deeper knowledge is optional. The basic confession will be enough to get you where you want to go.

What comes after the climax is necessarily anti-climactic.

Let’s be clear: An emphasis on justification that minimizes future personal growth in faith is heresy.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, for one famous example, spoke of this heresy mockingly as “cheap grace,” sold like cheapjack’s wares (in The Cost of Discipleship). Bonhoeffer lost his life in protest against Hitler, so cannot be accused of coasting on grace.

Growth in grace, growth in holiness, or, technically, sanctification is not optional. It is flat necessity. Without holiness, no one will see the Lord.

Yet because evangelicals emphasize the one-time confession of faith, the faithful remainder of the Christian life tends to be shadowed.

Justification and sanctification go together like cause and effect. If you are justified, there will be an internal drive to live like a son or daughter of God. There will be a drive to know more and to live better. That is, unless some blockage or other is stopping the internal dynamic of Christian life.

Blockages there must be. Because except in pockets here and there, not much education, not much apparent growth in grace, or service, or love, seems to be occurring.

Packer and Parrett see the crying need for catechesis, the old term they revive for us.

So what’s stopping it from just getting up and going?

That’s the question.

Can’t willpower just do it? Just, Revive Church Teaching? Make it again a main feature of church life?

Dubious. Willpower is up against some powerful, deep rooted habits of thought and life. The priority of justification to the exclusion of sanctification is only one of them.

What are some other habits of thought and life that block church teaching?

I hope to say. What do you think? Do you agree?

 

 

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Can education be evangelism? can it make you holy?

Amalorpavadass, the Indian Catholic educator of the 60’s and 70’s and 80’s, made a sharp distinction between “catechesis” and “evangelization.” For him, catechesis, the teaching of beliefs, can only really happen after the pupil’s responsible adherence to the faith.

Seems common sense. It can sure seem common sense if you ever tried to teach Christian theology to bored or indifferent persons. No faith, no interest in the subject.

And Amalorpavadass was writing in a situation where Catholic schools (much Religious Education usually included) enrolled majorities of non-Catholic students. So hard to teach Catholic doctrine to Hindus! to Muslims!

But wait a minute. Yes, in Catholic teaching, a child is a Catholic from baptism. But that is not responsible adherence. Adherence comes in the time leading to First Communion (think of the special clothes, presents, etc. that come to Catholic kids…)

So shouldn t catechesis be also evangelism?

Younger kids, subjects of  catechism class are not yet responsible adherents.

Let’s ask again.

Are evangelism and teaching so easily separated?

Catechesis is to deepen the life of faith.

OK.

But if you teach me exactly how to depend on God in my finances, then my faith is deepened.

I may even be deep enough in debt that I repent, trust God, come to living faith, through that teaching.

Or I may be stuck in porn.

You come along and show me God’s way of faithfulness with my sexuality.

I might be led to repentance. I might trust Christ for the first time.

Or my life of faith might be deepened. I might be a Christian deeply in debt. You show me the way out by God’s grace. Now I live that area of my life in conscious dependence.

Ditto for any other area of living.

The Intro to Theology example is deliberately provocative.

Academic treatments are rarely life engaging, except when you finally get the picture, or the Story.

So: I think education can be evangelism. I think it can make you holy. Especially if it is consciously designed with those aims in mind.

After all, in evangelism, people learn new things. They say, I never thought of that before. I never knew God was like that. And thus roadblocks are removed that lead toward faith. Roads are opened.

In societies where there is oodles of tacit faith, Christmas and Easter faith, taken for granted faith, catechesis might just be the very best evangelism.

Maybe church people should be doing way, way more of it.

Maybe we should be engaging our best minds to do up DVD series and designing community opportunities to get together and talk about finances, sexuality, marriage, anger, doubt, natural disasters, movie choices, hard ethical decisions, end of life choices, euthanasia, government involvement, love, forgiving others, television, short attention spans, and, thanks for reading so far. YOUR comment and insight will be appreciated!

One last note. Three books from the 60s, by J Stanley Glen, Robert Worley, and Robert Mounce, show from the New Testament that teaching and preaching are not very far apart, if apart at all.

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D. S. Amalorpavadass, writer and promoter of new religious education, thinker and organizer of Catholic renewal in India, mystic, Bible scholar, professor: a challenge to you.

Amalorpavadass (1932-1990) was an amazing person. He connected new theology with new ways to do Christian education. A big thrill is that he made the theology-education connection, in lots of ways.

He wanted people to have genuine, authentic faith in God in their context. Not just words or propositions.

To him, the context was a particular society. A particular person is in time, is in a stream of history. We are where we’ve been.

To him, the fullest context was the Divine Milieu, in which human beings are always bathed. “In him we live, in him we move, in him we have our being.” Secular history to him became God’s way of working out salvation for the world. Secular history was salvation history. He borrowed this secular-spiritual understanding from Teilhard de Chardin and Hans Urs von Balthasar.

And, revelation from God came in more ways than the Bible – it came also in the Hindu scriptures. Hadn’t the Vatican Council 2 said so? “The church should acknowledge, preserve and promote the spiritual and moral goods found among these men, as well as the values in their society and culture.”

He was so energetic. His National Biblical Catechetical and Liturgical Centre in Bangalore, south India, was a hive of activity. Thousands of catechists went to their local churches from seminars, workshops, or courses there, trained to work. The “God-with-Us” curriculum, the first catechism ever written specifically for India, came from his centre within a few years of his start.

Thinking right about our challenges can get us moving on the work confidently.

Theological thinkers came from across India to discuss what needed to be done to reinvigorate the church, now that India was independent and free. How could old colonial ways of thinking and doing be left behind.

They worked on answers to questions like: How could the church make a difference to social justice? How could faith be enriched so that Christians serve and love?

Amalorpavadass was so controversial, too. Many lay people held up their hands in horror. People in church offices in Rome did, too. He was Hinduizing the faith. His centre looked like it came from a Hindu temple. You heard chanting when you went by. The windows were full of Christianized Hindu imagery.

The question of Amalorpavadass is not old history. It is today. How do we do the faith to make a difference in a North American context? Are those who place churches in massive shopping malls that are open on Sunday, reaching the culture – or just making their faith fit the “facts”? What could education have to do with forming a faith that matters?

What do you think?

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