Theology Update for the Week of September 16

Dear friends in Christ,

Out of Egypt: Reading Exodus Theologically

On September 16 at 10 a.m., the Sunday class continues its study of the book of Exodus in the Old Testament. Specifically, we look at chapter 21-23, known as the “Book of the Covenant.”

In addition to being a record of the central event in Jewish history – the exodus from Egypt and journey toward the Promised Land – Exodus also provides a prime case study of the benefits of a utilization of the traditional “four senses” of scripture: the literal, the typological, the moral, and the mystical.

How to be a Sinner

On Thursday, September 27 at 6:30 p.m., Dr. Peter Bouteneff of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary reflects on the language of guilt and sin common to much Christian prayer. While not without its risks, a faithful Christian understanding of a “sinner identity” is in fact a prerequisite for the good news of the gospel message, and can help lead the believer into the way of Christ’s mercy, grace, and salvation. Of Dr. Bouteneff’s book on the topic, Rowan Williams writes, “This excellent book combines a solid theological perspective, fully informed by the depths of the Christian spiritual tradition, with a vigorous and very contemporary insight into a culture that has largely forgotten what sin means.” A reception follows. (This event was originally scheduled for March 7 but cancelled due to a snowstorm.)

Saint Thomas Religious Typology

The Pew Research Center is a polling and demographic research organization that studies, among other things, the religious beliefs and practices of people in the U.S. and around the world. Recently, Pew created a new “religious typology” of American adults, which, as they wrote, “sorts Americans into seven groups based on the religious and spiritual beliefs they share, how actively they practice their faith, the value they place on their religion, and the other sources of meaning and fulfillment in their lives.” The full report is here.

Closer to home, 49 of you took the private survey for our group last week. Of the poll takers, 63% are Sunday Stalwarts (compared to 16% of the general public) and 16% are Relaxed Religious (compared to 17% of the general public), with percentages dropping off after that. There were no Religious Resisters among the participants, which makes sense. It was particularly nice – even inspiring – to see the high frequency of prayer among the participants: 68% pray at least once a day. You can see the full results here.

Yours in Christ,