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Yay! I'm happy for you.

I think that the emphasis on Christ The Guy stems from the Protestant Reformation. I also think that you are conflating salvation and goodness, which are two separate ideas in Protestant theology.

Pre-reformation Christianity had become a wide-ranging panopoly of salvation mechanisms, from praying to assorted saints to saying Hail Marys to paying priests for indulgences. Martin Luther's campaign for reform centered around re-establishing Christ as the only vehicle for salvation, and emphasizing that individuals could have personal relationships with Christ rather than needing the intermediaries of the saints, the Catholic hierarchy, or the Virgin Mary.

Many Protestant churches use a wide range of iconography and storytelling to talk about goodness and reverence and choices and faith. But when it comes to salvation, Protestant theology is emphatic that salvation is through Christ alone. So ministers talk about Winne the Pooh or history or literature or current events or poetry, but ultimately, salvation is through the grace of Christ.


What an excellent way to meet a new friend!

Today, I went to church for the first time in a long time. My son was getting baptized. The church is not the type of church that I enjoy. It was too sacchriney-sweet.

I would much prefer a GK Chesteron-quoting, Walker Percey-quoting, Flannery O'Connor-quoting church. I might have to find a new church to offset my son's new church.

Good luck with the church and the friend.


Besides Dillard he brought in GK Chesterton

:-) I wonder if it's something about college towns. During undergrad, I attended service at a friend's church once and thought it was very good; I preferred the thoughtful sermon on the problem of anger to the more self-righteous and politically conservative sermons I'd heard at an evangelical church. The friend later said that the minister was "the GK Chesterton-quoting type." To some Christians, this apparently represents potential excess of intellect.


The idea that christianity is nothing more and nothing less than the body of Christ crucified is one that goes back to St. Paul, and it's true. Try reading your bible, it has much information on this subject.


I have to say that I strongly disagree with misspixie about pre-reformation and non-protestant conceptions of sin and salvation, and indeed with the way that she explains the protestant conception of sin and salvation. However, 'twould be rather more of my effort than it's worth to devote to theology, comparative or otherwise (unless I were trying to cook up some propaganda).


I was working in a bookstore on Cape Cod in the summer of 1987, when I eloped (but before I eloped) and a woman asked me if I had the latest Annie Dillard novel. I said Yes, it's over there. She said, are you selling many? I said, I think so. She said, did you read it? I said not yet, but I've read other stuff by Dillard. She asked me what I thought of her and I offered my frank opinion that she was mostly very very wonderful but sometimes a bit much.

She said, I can't let you go on like this, I have to tell you... I'm Annie Dillard. And I was literally (literarily?) speechless. Perhaps I said something incredibly stupid like, "Omigod, that's so cool but I feel so stupid."

She is one of my favorite writers. Her "An American Childhood" may as well have been mine, but on the other end of Pennsylvania and a decade or two later.

I do love a good sermon (not that I've been to church in a while) and I'm so glad you heard one.


This is definitely one of those moments where we must mark the intersection of life's roads. Sherry, I'm giddy for you!

That lawyer dude

"And then, when the thing was done and I was leaving, a handsome man in the pew behind me asked whether the service was always an hour long. I said I didn't know, that it was my first time at the church. Oh, are you new in town? No, just new to church. He is new in town, and like me, relatively new to church. We walked out, talking, and spent the next two hours at breakfast at a little cafe I suggested, talking about faith, and searching, and snow, and water. Tonight, a movie."

It doesn't always work like that, though it is nice when it does! Just remember, God answers all prayers...sometimes the answer is no. I am glad this time you got a yes and it was quick too.


Thank you for such a creative, insightful and intelligent blog! I've been searching for good blog reading fodder for a while now and found this indirectly through various other blogs I've stumbled across...via Shrink and Fade, Just a Little Space, and The Rants of Issachar ~ my friends Andrew's blog.

Anyway, I'm sitting here beaming to hear about your experiences today! (please forgive the wierdess of this admission, but after reading some of your posts I felt God nudging me to pray for you last night, so I'm absolutely delighted to read your last post!! :)

The Happy Feminist



I apologize here at the start for such a long comment.

It is interesting to me that at some point in a developing human's evolution, one often gets to the place where they quest for knowledge beyond themselves and that of the physical world about them. It seems right that you, Sherry, seem to be arriving at that type of inquiring place at this time.

The question that arises for me when one approaches a church/religious experience is, what are you looking for? My experience is that churches can provide a wonderful community experience and a lovely rhythm of joining in that community on Sundays or other times. In this case it sounds like the preacher also provided stimulating and moving content in his sermon as well. That is not always the case.

But if your questions go deeper into an understanding of human life and its physical, emotional, spiritual depths I'm not sure that this can be found in your standard religious form.

From an early age I have held questions about reincarnation and Karma, even tho I had no reference to these concepts in my thinking, practicing religious (catholic) community. So my tendency has always pushed beyond what an intellectually or even holy, well intended person could relate from a pulpit. I longed for an understanding of the more esoteric elements of our existence.

If one makes the simplest observations, you meeting this charming fellow at church yesterday for example, one might discern that most if not all encounters happen for a purpose. That purpose could be growth, challenge, joy or fulfillment let's say. But a major element in any of this is one's FREEDOM to use each encounter to it's greater or lesser fulfillment.

I don't mean to evangelize here, only to offer, as one's own destiny may lead them, but to just state that Rudolf Steiner's writings and thousands of lectures on Anthroposophy (called spiritual science by Steiner, it a spiritual philosophy and approach to investigating non-physical levels of, and influences on, reality) can lead one to this sort of exploration and understanding.

Steiner's insights about the Christ came in my life (in my thirties) at the time when I could no longer just accept the figure of Jesus Christ as a good God/man. Religions that dwell on only the physical/thinking plane can not penetrate such depths. We live in an age that is ripe for human thinking and feeling to birth into the worlds beyond the physical. This endeavor needs careful training and discipline along with the most upright of intentions to help in the evolution and fulfillment of Earth and Humankind.


So, how was the movie?


I thought that you were waiting for other people to suggest where to have breakfast, now.

Notorious BLT

Wonderful, insightful, and inspirational...

The adjectives keep me cheking in.

All the best...



Don't feel guilty for feeling comfortable. I grew up in a WASPy church in an affluent community that turned me off church for years. When I became serious about Christianity again, I figured I would never join one of those again.

Two to three churches later (I moved around a lot, and some of those churches were wonderful, others not), I figured I would just "check out" a church that I kept hearing about. When I got there and saw it was actually a white suburban megachurch, I figured I wouldn't be staying. Well, it's four years later and I'm still there. It's not the composition of the church that matters - it's whether the church helps you to grow in your own relationship with God. For me that meant the church engaged my intellect as well as the more spiritual/ emotional side of me and made Christianity relevant to the world *I* live in.

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