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Convener's Corner — February 2016

What's Next?

I don't know about you but I seem to live in a world of lists. You know – the kind where you list things in sequence and 'check them off' when you've accomplished the task. A good list simplifies our lives and ensures we don't miss something important. Yet . . . . . many of us just checked Christmas off of our list and knew we managed to miss something important. Yup, there are all these things that need to happen (Santa, gifts, decorating the home's interior and exterior, planning and attending parties, making huge quantities of casserole just in case you need it and, frankly, it does freeze better than fruitcake) that we voluntarily allowed to distract us from the reason for all the hoopla. Did you make a vow to 'do better' next year and make the celebration of Christ's birth the reason for the season and everything else secondary? Me, too. Good thing there is Grace or the hole I've dug would simply be too deep for me to ever exit without a helping and guiding hand. So, what is next?

In church we're going to study Christ's early and adult life, teachings, betrayal, suffering, death and resurrection more than we do the remainder of the year. Do you think the clergy knows they have our hard-to-get attention and presence for a good four months and must emphasize the lessons we must take from the examples given? Are we still using that checklist and simply going through the motions to accomplish the various tasks without ever asking for or understanding the teaching that was just offered to us? Many of us have a religious experience that knows everything but understands nothing. We can do a good job of addressing the 'how' question but explaining the 'why' is what eludes us.

This brings us to Via de Cristo – I know, some of you thought I'd never get to the point of today's missive. Some of us (including me) just can't seem to learn by reading – we need more participation by our various senses. We're called 'experiential learners', as we must experience the message to truly understand the meaning. The Via de Cristo method does a good job of taking us to the water, but still, we must be willing to drink. Borrowing a concept from James Baldwin, I'd like to suggest that the Cross is the principal tenet of Christianity and that the most common route of discovering the Cross is by way of the Bible, while at Via de Cristo we return to the Bible after experiencing the epiphany of the Cross.

Steve Renquist
Minnesota Via de Cristo Convener


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