Thursday, November 14, 2013

Some inquires worth asking....

I'm finishing up a course at the Osher Life-long Learning Institute at U Conn in Waterbury tomorrow. This term I led an inquiry into the so-called 'Christian Gnostics'. I say 'so called' because they didn't think of themselves as 'Gnostics', they thought of themselves as 'Christians'--but they didn't win and they didn't write the history.

Anyhow, it's been a good class. Numbers are down but I keep getting the dreaded 11:40-1 p.m. slot. So I have 8-10 rather than the 20-30 I've gotten at other time slots. But everyone has been involved and engaged and questioning and pondering: how much better than that can it get in this life? Not much, I'd suggest.

So, I have some inquires of them tomorrow. I always have a 'connection question', something I learned from leading Making a Difference Workshops for over 20 years. "Connection before content' is one of the mantras of the workshop. It works always to get people in the same place and time together before beginning something. I'd recommend a 'connection question' to be discussed in small groups or pair or threes at the beginning of anything. In fact, I'm going to start having one at the beginning of Cluster Council Meetings to get us on the same page.

But tomorrow, I want them to have a 'connection conversation' about a whole series of questions that I think are raised by reading the "gnostic" Christian texts.

*Do you think Christian writings that aren't in the New Testament may have some value?

*Do you question some of the articles of faith of your church?

*Do you believe faiths other than Christianity might have some validity?

*Do you  think women should be ordained?

*Is your relationship with God more important to you than what the church tells you to believe?

*Is your style of faith about honestly seeking what is 'true' about the world and God than about 'blind faith'?

Answering 'yes' to some of those should make you take the writings of Christians that were suppressed and destroyed by the Church in the 4th century and beyond have some importance.

Answering 'yes' to all of them probably makes you a 'gnostic Christian' but who knows?

Just good stuff to ponder on the way to wherever you're journeying.....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.