How to be a Sinner

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Dear friends in Christ,

Please join us for an upcoming talk this week:

Peter Bouteneff on “How to be a Sinner” Thursday, September 27, 6:30 p.m.

In this lecture, 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.” The lecture is in Andrew Hall and a reception follows in the parish house living room. (This event was originally scheduled for March 7 but cancelled due to a snowstorm.)

Out of Egypt: Reading Exodus Theologically

On September 23 at 10 a.m., the Sunday class continues its study of the book of Exodus in the Old Testament. In this session, the class looks particularly at the divine promises made following the giving of the law(s) and the Israelite ratification 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.

Finding Nicaea

I am not usually a reader of the Daily Mail, but recently the paper reported on a development of interest. Through the use of aerial photography, archaeologists think they have discovered the ruins of a church in Iznik, Turkey, believed to be the venue for the first Council of Nicaea in AD 325. (Article here.)

The council was convened in order to address Arianism, the belief that Jesus was not fully divine but a created being. The assembled bishops recognized that anything less than total divine unity between God the Father and Jesus Christ would imperil the good news that, in Christ, God reconciled the world to himself. Their response, the first version of what we now call the Nicene Creed, affirmed that Jesus is “begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father.”

Enjoy the pictures of the underwater basilica taken by the archaeologists, imagine the arguments held therein, affirm the goodness, truth, and beauty of the catholic faith, and marvel at the miracle of those fallible bishops formulating the faith in such an enduring way. However, please discount much of the article’s discussion of the creed itself, the liturgy, Christian history, or the Church.

Yours in Christ,
Joel