These six study guides integrate bible study, prayer, worship, and reflection on themes in the Catechism issue. STEPPING INTO THE

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GENERAL EDITOR Robert B. Kruschwitz ART E DI TOR Heidi J. Hornik REVIE W E DITOR Norman Wirzba P RO CLA MATION EDITOR William D. Shiell PROD UC TION ASS ISTANT Elizabeth Sands Wise DESIGNER Eric Yarbrough PUB LI SH ER The Center for Christian Ethics B aylor University One Bear Place #97361 Waco, TX 76798-7361 PHONE (254) 710-3774 TOLL -F REE ( US A) (866) 298-2325 WE B S ITE E-M AIL All Scripture is used by permission, all rights reserved, and unless otherwise indicated is from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.ISSN 1535-8585 is the ideal resource for discipleship training in the church. Multiple copies are obtainable for group study at $2.50 per copy. Worship aids and lesson materials that enrich personal or group study are available free on the website. is published quarterly by The Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University. Contributors express their considered opinions in a responsible manner. The University.The Center expresses its thanks to individuals, churches, and organizations, including the © 2007 The Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor UniversityAll rights reserved

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Introduction 8 Robert B. KruschwitzStepping into the Drama 11Gary FurrConsidering Catechism for Suspicious Protestants 20Daniel H. WilliamsIntroducing Children to Worship 30Debra Dean MurphyIlluminating the Word 38Heidi J. HornikThe Saint John™s BibleNativity window, Chartres CathedralMake Us All We™re Meant to Be 49Burt L. Burleson and Kurt KaiserWorship Service 52Burt L. BurlesonTraining Our Aim 58 George MasonLiving with Questions of Purpose 62Kyle ReeseLaying Foundations of Faith 66John D. LockhartThe Teaching Power of Spiritual Direction 73Contents

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is an ideal resource for discipleship training in the church. Multiple copies are available for group study at $2.50 per copy. Study guides and lesson plans are available free on the website. phone (toll-free): 1-866-298-2325 Order your free subscription today. Thoughtful Christian reflection and reliable guidance in engaging the ethical dimensions of today™s world. PRO PHETIC ETHICS CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM MORAL LANDSCA PE OF CREATION THE P ORNOGRA PHIC CULTURE FORGIVENESS SUFFERING MARRIAGE CHILDREN CLONING HEAVEN AND HELL MYSTICISM CITIES AND TOWNS SABBATH P EACE AND WAR CONSUMERISM P ARABLES INKLINGS OF GLORY HEALTH FOOD AND HUNGER VOCATION SINGING OUR LIVES AGING CATECHISM GLOBAL W EALTH HOSPITALITY SERMON ON THE MOUNT IMMI GRATION FRIENDSHIP

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ONLINE Christian Reflection STUDY GUIDES & LESSON PLANSExcellent companion pieces to each issue of Christian Reflection integrate prayer, Bible study, worship, music, and ethical reflection for personal or group study. Free Click on fiFree Study Guides.fl

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8 Catechism Introduction BY RO BERT B. K RUSCHWITZ A catechism transforms new believers from listeners into discoverers. Answering its questions, we discover what and whose we are. We discover that God calls us into a community of disciples, who together join the drama of God™s redeeming action. As we face the moral complexity of the world, no practice better orients our thinking toward God™s truth and prepares us to love as God loves than the Church™s ancient practice of catechesis, or form- al instruction of new believers in faithfulness. Indeed, this fiintentional approach is all the more necessary in a time when cultural Christianity has given way–[and] Christian identity is not secure,fl George Mason notes. Catechesis transforms new believers from listeners into discoverers. This is catechism™s fisecret,fl its immense value, for the seventeenth-century poet and priest George Herbert. fiAt sermons, and prayers, men may sleep or wander,fl he wrote, fibut when one is asked a question, he must what he is .fl More appropriately, we must whose we are . We must discover that God calls us into a community of disciples, who together join the drama of God™s redeeming action. Unfortunately, writes Gary Furr in (p. 11), we are far more deeply initiated today by the powerful catechisms of media, Amer -ican culture, and capitalism than by this ancient faith of Christians. fiThe goal of catechesis,fl he explains, fiis not merely information, but the forma -tion of new believers into the people of God. They enter a spiritual friend -ship that introduces them to a new conceptual world and fosters a new set of behaviors and attitudes toward life.fl Distinctive practicesŠlike repen -tance, prayer, worship, loving service, mutual correction, and forgivenessŠ enable us to enter God™s story, learn our part, and joyfully take up our roles. Upon these right patterns of discipleship we can shape a time-honored yet

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Introduction 9 personal expression of our faith. The purpose of catechesis, then, is to help new Christians embrace faithful practices of worship and service and to articulate their emerging discipleship in fitting words, art, and music. To some Christians catechesis seems like a foreign practice that distanc -es new believers from and diminishes the B ible™s authority. In Considering (p. 20), Dan Williams examines how the early Christians carefully instructed recent converts or those preparing for baptism in the story of Scripture. fiTo introduce new believers to the Church of Jesus Christ,fl he discovers, fiis to open for them the treasures of the apos -tolic faith and practiceŠa faith larger than any one denomination™s claims upon itŠsharpened and transmitted through the ages.fl The artistic tradition of manuscript illumination is a time-honored way of pointing believers toward the central themes of Scripture. In the Word (p. 38), Heidi Hornik introduces The Saint John™s Bible , the first handwritten and illuminated B ible commissioned since the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century. An inspiring figift from the Saint John™s Abbey to all Christians, to enhance their worship and serve their cat -echesis for generations to come,fl the Bible employs medieval techniques to convey modern themes and illustrations to fitouch the hearts of those who view [it] with the biblical message of forgiveness.fl She examines three important illuminations that accompany Luke and ActsŠ (on the cover), , and Birth of Christ Šand compares the latter to Nativity , a stained-glass window from the Chartres Cathedral. Burt B urleson™s worship service (p. 52) celebrates our coming to know what we are and whose we are. fiTruth we are professing, / Life we are pur -suing, / Love we are becoming, / make us all we™re meant to be,fl we pray in B urleson™s new hymn to the Triune God. His friend Kurt Kaiser contrib -utes a simple melody that may be sung as a round (p. 50). George Mason and Kyle Reese take stock of this central function of cate -chesis in orienting us toward life™s purpose fito glorify God and enjoy him forever,fl as famously teaches. fiWhile B aptists are not creedal people, the creeds or confessions of faith can serve well in teach -ing the historic faith to young people and adult converts,fl George Mason admits in (p. 58). fiThe Church must retrieve ancient practic -es that help to shape the people of God into the kind of people that can, as their second nature, glorify God and enjoy him forever.fl In Living With (p. 62), Kyle Reese explores the question asked of God in Psalm 8, fiwhat are human beings that you are mindful of them?fl We can discover our human identity only as we live with this haunting question and realize with the psalmist that fiGod is willing to risk God™s work and word by sharing power with human beings, even babes and infants.fl For practical guidance in instructing new believers, young and old, we can turn to three articles by Debra Dean Murphy, John Lockhart, and Emilie Griffin. Through corporate worship with adults, children are preparing for

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10 Catechism their roles in God™s drama, Murphy observes in -ship (p. 30). fiWorship which is attentive to the gospel™s grand story,fl she trusts, fiwill transform their lives, will feed their imaginations not their egos, and will help them (and us) learn to order our lives by the gift of God™s time.fl Lockhart™s congregation is discovering how a question-and-answer catechism helps adolescents fiframe their faith expressions and understand the congregation™s historical B aptist identity.fl As he explains in Laying the (p. 66), fiIf we put the right questions into the hearts of children, with answers that guide them toward a faithful dialogue with one another, their teachers, and God, we nurture disciples whose faith continues to mature through life.fl We often think of catechesis as a group practice, with one teacher for several pupils. B ut in (p. 73), Griffin shows how fispiritual direction, once confined to religious communities, is now used broadly by laypeople as well.fl This one-on-one approach to spiritual instruction can help believers of all ages fisustain a regular commitment to prayer and to life of the Spirit.fl fiTo many Christians catechism seems like a set of abstract questions and important-sounding answers, a sort of divinely sanctioned Scholastic Aptitude Test to guarantee entrance into the Kingdom of God,fl Todd Edmondson admits in Learning Life-Giving Ways of Life (p. 81). He reviews two approaches to restoring the tradition of catechism for youth and adults. In -istry and , Tony Jones sur -veys ancient practices for Christian growth, ranging from the use of icons and labyrinths to fasting and spiritual direction. And Dorothy B ass has edit -ed two books, (with Don Richter) and , that commend traditional practices like hospitality, stewardship, Sabbath-keeping, and forgiveness. These winsome books address our fears about catechesis, Edmondson writes, by opening fispace within the patterns of daily life so that believers might practice the presence of God, not just in the words they say or doctrines they believe, but in the ways they use their hands and feet.fl In (p. 86)Šhis review of Simon Chan™s , Debra Dean Murphy™s -tion , and Sara Wenger Shenk™s ŠGerald Mast praises this trend toward restoring practices of Christian instruction. Yet he warns us, with Shenk, not to overlook the importance of critically examining those practices and discussing our disagreements. fiAs the rabbis have taught us, and as Jesus himself showed, there is nothing more intensely liturgical or worship -ful than an animated argument about the proper response of the gathered body to the received Word of God,fl Mast concludes. fiOf such drama, too, is radical conversion made.fl

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Stepping into the Drama 11 Stepping into the Drama BY G AR Y FU RR Catechesis invites us to assume our roles in the unfold -ing drama of God™s continuing creation and redemption of the world. Yet we are far more deeply initiated by the powerful catechisms of media, American culture, and capitalism than by the ancient faith of Christians. Can we recover the sense that our life with God is an adventure? The dynamism of art, the novelist Dorothy Sayers once observed, is that it is three-dimensional. It is not enough for an artist to have a good idea. Her art must become incarnated as a completed work and experienced by an audience for it to have its full lifeŠwhether as a play that is enjoyed, a book that is read, or a song that is sung and listened to. 1 As a pastor in a church that struggles to transmit the Christian life genuinely and faithfully to the people God has called into our fellowship, I suspect Sayers™s insight offers a clue to what is missing in our congregation -al life. We intuitively sense the void of Christian catechesis (instruction and training) among our people, who are far more deeply initiated by the pow -erful catechisms of media, American culture, and capitalism than by the ancient faith of Christians. Have we lost the sense that our life with God is an adventure? How can we invite our people into discipleship that is full-bodied, life-changing, and three-dimensional? The entire notion of catechesis invites us to better understand and assume our roles in the unfolding drama of the Triune God™s continuing creation and redemption of the world. Let™s consider four questions that are critical to this issue. First, how can congregations today help children, young people, and new Christians embody the central texts of Scripture and the Christian tradition in order to step into their roles, discern the present activity of the Spirit, and cherish the practices of the church?

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