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All tagged christianity-the-basics
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The Eucharist is the Christian story acted out in miniature. The offering of the sinless Son of God for the sinful children of men is not a past event, if by past we mean something over and gone. The incarnate humanity of Christ, offered, sacrificed, risen and ascended, is always part of the Godhead. It is real humanity drawn up into God and eternally representing humanity to God. [...]
Very often, people talk about how certain things are just “symbolic” or mere “social constructions”. I find this attitude very puzzling, because as far as I can tell, pretty much everything worth caring about is symbolic and socially constructed. Symbolism is about the excess of meaning, about how something means more than it first appears. The 1975 film Jaws is about more than a giant shark terrorising New England beachgoers. [...]
Worship is a word that is difficult for us to define. Often we might think of worship as synonymous with the liturgy, or particular services happening in church. Some use it as a designation for particular parts of a service, the music, for instance: the preacher will give a sermon and then ask the people to stand to 'begin' the time of 'worship', as a group of musicians ascend to the front. [...]
If we knew any Arabic at all, there were two phrases familiar to Malaysian children, regardless of our religious or ethnic background. We woke up every morning to the azan—the call to prayer—which begins with the proclamation that God is great, followed by the affirmation that there is no God but God, and that Muhammad is his prophet. [...]
St Peter's striking words form part of the groundwork for how Christians would understand what our salvation means throughout the centuries. Salvation is not simply forgiveness of sins, or becoming better, more moral, or more generous people. Salvation is a death and a resurrection; “we have died”, Scripture tells us, and now live in Christ (Col 3.3). [...]
There are many verses of scripture which we could use to introduce the central Christian doctrine of the incarnation, the teaching that, in Jesus of Nazareth, we encounter a person both divine and human. The verse I have chosen begins the Letter to the Hebrews. In many and various ways God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets, but now, in the last days, he has spoken to us in his Son. [...]
Each year, the Easter season, stretching from Christ's resurrection to the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, reminds us afresh that following in the way of Jesus leads us to the deepest, most inconceivable of paradoxes. It reminds us that Jesus reshapes what we mean when we say “God”. [...]
There are two ways to approach the Christian doctrine of God: to contemplate the mystery of the Trinity and to ponder the mystery of creation. There is no sense in asking which of these two ways is primary, because Christians are equally committed to both the idea that God is Triune (which is just a fancy of way of saying that God is Three-in-One) and the idea that God is Creator. [...]
It is not unusual to think about God primarily by thinking of God the Father. This is, I suppose, what sustains the popularity of the view of God as an old man in the sky, calling all the shots and policing our moral behaviour. Among theologians and philosophers, this way of thinking leads to an emphasis on God’s transcendence: God’s radical otherness from creation. [...]
Where should I start? My subject is Jesus, deliberately chosen as the first subject in a series about the basics of Christianity. Few things seem more basic about the Christian faith than the claim that it has something to do with Jesus. So here we are. [...]