Monday, September 29, 2008

"(If You Don't Understand Grace, See Page 177)"

I am supposed to teach a confirmation class at my new church. This is a good opportunity to lay out some solid Christian teaching. If only 1) I were a decent teacher and 2) I knew what a confirmation class was really supposed to look like. This is not part of my church tradition.

Meanwhile, I've been given certain tools and helps, such as files from past confirmation classes, and a book from my new pastor. The book is pretty useful, though maybe a little simplistic. I was particularly struck by the simplistic bit when I read the quote that makes up the title for this post. (I'm not sure it was page 177, but you get the idea.)

I think when you grow up in the church and basically follow the rules, the concept of grace is particularly hard to grasp, both because the word gets thrown around a lot, and because you don't realise how much you need it and have been offered it. I still remember a particularly rocky time in London when it finally hit home to me both how powerful grace was to receive, and how difficult it was to give. I thought to myself, "How did I even think I was a Christian before?! I never understood this!"

And I'm not sure I understand it even now. Grace shows up in unexpected places, and is required in them, too. Sometimes I blink and miss it, and sometimes it stares me unblinking in the face so that I can't miss it but I almost want to run from it. It's so simple and so difficult, and right now I feel more in need of giving and receiving it than ever, and from many different angles.

What I do know is that, even when I'm afraid of it, I'm grateful for it. I don't understand how people make it through life without it. And I'm quite sure page 177 isn't ever going to sum it up.


Jeff said...

Your points about grace are well taken. I don't have much to add In this area.

I thought I might throw out a thought about teaching:
The more you use the text as a jumping off point, and not the be-all-and-end all, the better.
Getting people up and out of their seats and interacting with truth is how they learn. I am growing increasingly convinced that activities that create interaction are well worth their wieght in gold, even when the connection to what you are doing is tenuous.
This is partially because there will come a time that you will have to enter into a sort-of lecture mode. If these times are few and far between, if there is already a basic vibe of valuing people as individuals, of being a safe and fun place, you will get so much more bang for your buck than you will if a lecture style becomes the norm.

Rhonda said...

Oh wouldn't it be wonderful if finding and living grace was as easy as reading page 177?

Great post!

L.L. Barkat said...

What a great post title. Indeed, much of life could use a page 177. I mean, one that COULD sum a few things up. : )