Religion is a deadly serious topic. People are willing to kill over religion. And it is vast and complicated. So our other goal in this book is to capture a lightness of touch. We want the text to be accessible to someone who is completely unfamiliar with, or distrustful of, religion. Inevitably, this means that complexities are ruthlessly simplified and sometimes nuance is lost. We felt that we had no choice but to do this.
Accessibility had to trump detail.
This book is intended to be the start of a journey, not the end of one.
Using this Book
This book can be used in several different ways. A friend who is curious as to why you are a Christian or going to an Episcopal Church will find this book a gentle introduction. But it is also intended for groups to study and work with this book.
- For Confirmations: the text is intergenerational - a Millennial combines with a Baby Boomer. In the eight sections, there is the basis of a course. In the first section, the group is invited to experience faith - the leader should encourage the group to reflect on the moments when they sensed the transcendent all around them. In the second section, the group will reflect on the challenge of religious diversity. The leader should encourage the group to reflect on why God allows different religions to emerge; and why one can both believe in the truth of Christianity and have a generous disposition to religious diversity. In the third section, the basics of Christianity are described. The leader should encourage the group to start reading the Bible and reflecting on their practice of prayer. The reading prior to the session is very managable. So it guarantees a thoughtful basis for a discussion.
- For Group Study at Lent. Most congregations encourage some sort of 'taking up' of a discipline at Lent. The first six sections are perfect and fun for a group to engage with the basics of the faith during Lent.
- For the Enquirers' Class. This text goes right back to the basics. How do I find a way in to faith? What about science? Do I have to believe that every other religion is going to hell?