As best I can tell, many adults are interested in exploring their faith. But often they do not know how. Many Christians effectively stop learning about their faith when they graduate from Sunday School. That means lots of Christians have an adolescent understanding of Christianity, no matter how smart and well-educated they may be in other respects. And many, particularly those who are smart and well-educated, are very uncomfortable acknowledging how little they actually know.
That means a couple of things for the contemporary Church. First, we need to take Sunday School seriously! For a lot of people, that will be their last true religious education. And, second, we need to offer non-threatening opportunities for adults to learn more.
Adult education is particularly important today. Not so long ago, our culture promoted a general religious literacy. Most Americans knew at least a little something about Christianity and the Bible even if they never went to Sunday School. Today that is no longer true. In addition, today our faith faces more serious intellectual challenges than probably at any time in the last 1500 years.
I have been thinking about this because I realized that the Episcopal Churches in our area are offering a LOT of adult formation opportunities in September. At Saint David’s, we will begin an occasional, five-part series on the Episcopal Way with a first session on “Our Foundation: Holy Scripture.” Full details are available elsewhere on this webpage.
Across the river, Saint Andrew’s, Longmeadow is hosting three sessions on Christians and Muslims in the Middle East. That series will cover the contemporary refugee crisis, the persecution of Iraqi Christians, and the history of Christian-Muslim relations in Syria. It should be really interesting.
Finally, the Diocese is sponsoring an anti-racism workshop called “Towards the Beloved Community” on Saturday, September 24 at All Saints, South Hadley. (There is more information about this program on our webpage as well.)
Those are just the programs that involve me in some way. I am sure there are others. I am proud of our Churches for taking seriously the need to provide real Christian education opportunities. And I hope lots of people will take advantage of them!!