"Napa Valley" Brocken InaGlory. Licensed. Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0
Q very nearly pulls us under with the theologizing in this Dialogue!
- In the last Dialogue, we saw another wine label. It's humorous story sets the stage for an important spiritual emphasis in this one: the necessity of taking a risk, of venturing further than our knowledge alone can take us. In other words, living by faith. Remember that "faith" is best thought of as a verb . . . something you do . . . rather than as a noun for a collection of ideas one might agree with. When we think about it that way, what does "the Christian faith" mean?
- Nearly always, we fear such risk-taking will result in a loss to us . . . and it does! So what is it that Advocatus fears he'll lose? Do you agree with him that he needs what he fears he'll lose? Do you agree with Snark? Do both of them have a point? What have you feared you'd lose in taking a risk? How did it work out for you?
- As they discuss the meaning and merits of "authority figures," Snark refers to his take on the meaning of "Original Sin," a doctrine of the church which is often described very differently. What have you heard about this doctrine? Does what you've heard make sense to you? Should it be, as Phyllis Tickle puts it in her book The Great Emergence, one of the doctrines the church puts out on the curb as it holds its "rummage sale" of doctrines? Or do Snark's ideas about its meaning appeal to you?
- Snark's take on Original Sin leads him into redefining "the divinity of Jesus" which is another (sometimes contentiously fought over) doctrine of the church. Do you think Jesus is divine? If so, what do you mean by that? How does Jesus' nature . . . divine or not . . . relate to your nature?
- One of the big issues in this era of an emerging new paradigm in Western culture is that of "authority." Christians have often appealed to the authority of the Bible . . . or tradition . . . or reason . . . or experience. Sometimes it has been to a combination of some or all of these. In this Dialogue Snark intimates that what was authoritative about Jesus were his actions. In her book Christianity After Religion, author Diana Butler Bass says that the new Christianity will be focused more around action in the world rather than around beliefs. How do you react to that? What has authority for you? Why?