What these sessions are about
We are having a series of brief discussion sessions at Calvary this Fall that are meant to explore being Christian both throughout history and in the times we’re now living. Anybody can come—it doesn’t matter what age you are, or whether you buy into any of it. It’s meant to be a time to think and talk together about what Christianity is, and has been, and will be in the years to come.
These these blog posts will provide information to help give us a thoughtful understanding of Christianity, its history, and its beliefs. This will serve as the basis for our discussions on Sunday morning from 9:00-10:00. You are welcome to read these whether you come or not, and to come whether you have “done your homework” or not.
Christianity has been around for about 2,000 years. It emerged from Judaism, which was developing for a thousand or more years before that. Over that long period of time, Christians have been in many different circumstances and in pretty much every conceivable place. We know an awful lot about them, because Christians have been writing and arguing throughout their whole history. We can see them describing their faith and applying it in the circumstances where they find themselves.
This may come as a surprise to some who are accustomed to thinking of their Christianity as hearkening back to the very beginning: There’s is a lot of difference between Christians’ descriptions of faith, forms of worship and obligations of Christians at different times and under different circumstances. Cultures, languages, social structures varied widely through history. There has never been a single Christian approach to the structure of culture, even though some Christians have believed that theirs is the only, or the most appropriate way to structure a society.
In the United States in our present time, we live in a culture where church attendance and people’s self-identification as Christian has declined markedly. This was already happening when I was in seminary, but the trend has accelerated in the past 40 years. When I was a child, even non-churchgoing Christians could easily tell you whether they were Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Congregationalist or Catholic, but many Americans now have no idea of religious affiliation, present or historic. Some have called this the Post-Christian Age.