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What Does This Mean?

posted May 31, 2016, 4:12 PM by Sue Fried   [ updated May 31, 2016, 4:14 PM ]
Some of you may be familiar with the term “confirmation.” Confirmation is seen as the sealing of the covenant created when an infant is baptized by young adults. In some denominations, it is the primary way individuals are educated into a specific, institutional understanding of Christianity such as the Lutheran, United Methodist or Catholic Church.

This was the experience when I went through Confirmation at St. John’s Lutheran Church in the early 70s. Our text was a small book called “Luther’s Small Catechism” where we memorized such things as The Ten Commandments, The Apostle’s Creed, and The Lord’s Prayer. But what I remember most is memorizing the correct understanding, the Lutheran understanding, of each sentence of these important religious statements under the heading “What does this mean?”
What I did not understand then and support now is a significant change in the Christian faith that has caused me to rethink Confirmation. I have moved away from teaching the basics necessary within the United Methodist denomination to inviting young adults to explore some basic aspects of the Christian faith, from providing the answers, to affirming young adults to engage in their own faith journey.

The aspects of the Affirm Program at the Peace Community of Faith is a two-year commitment to be part of a group during the school year that engages and explores four basic aspects of Christianity: faith, the Bible, God, and Jesus.

The first three units are the topics for the first year. The first unit explores the basic structure of faith, engaging how beliefs and values fit into our faith bucket. The second unit on the Bible, engaging the Bible as story and exploring how a story can be inspiring and sacred. The third unit explores how the understanding of God has changed throughout the millenniums, engaging God as Spirit in this transitional time of Christianity.

The second year is devoted to exploring the life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus. We engage the Gospel of Mark as a story of Jesus, the teachings of Jesus found in the Sermon on the Mount in chapters 5 through 7 in the Gospel of Matthew, and Resurrection as the power of Life that infuses us and the whole known universe.

The Christian faith is in the midst of millennial transformations. Many have a better idea of what we don’t believe anymore, but we are not quite sure what we do believe, what affirms and nurtures our soul and spirit. This is a time for us all to affirm exploring and engaging a new kind of faith within a new kind of church. Oftentimes, living the questions is more important than finding the answer.