It has been my experience within Protestantism that for many, the Eucharist is a meaningless ritual. It is often done in a perfunctory way out of sheer obedience, if at all. Teaching, if there is any, can be pretty stale. Rehashing familiar views of the relevant Scriptures and debating 16th century metaphysical arguments is normal fare. Over the years when I pastored traditionally, we tried different things to bring more meaningful experience to folks. There were occasionally moments of wonder, but generally it was a wholly dissatisfying experience. What has it been like for you? What if there is more to it than many of us have been taught in our traditions? This seminar is designed to provoke primarily those from Protestant backgrounds to reconsider some things regarding the Eucharist, communion, or the so-called “Lord’s Supper.”
The Eucharist: In Adam-In Christ
This seminar does not rehash Catholic-Protestant-Greek Orthodox debates. Those avenues are well-trodden and ample literature is available to anyone interested in reviewing the history and the four or five major points of view on the matter. Rather this seminar will address these questions:
Is it possible that there is more to the matter than traditions normally acknowledge? Could some areas of the Christian life where individuals seem to be “stuck,” in one way or the other, be related to disdain or disregard for the transformative power in the Eucharist? How does the Eucharist relate to our being authentically human individually and corporately as the Body of Christ?
My thesis is: I think we are missing out on some weighty matters. This is especially true for anti-sacramental leaning Protestants and for those in many “de-churched,” “unchurched,” “organic church,” and “home church” expressions. It has been my experience in those universes that the regular partaking of the Eucharist is virtually ignored or denied as having any meaningful function in the life of the individual and the community.
Session One: Jesus the Authentic Human
Jesus identified Himself most commonly as the Son of Man, a familiar term within Judaism. Oceans of commentary have been written about what exactly Son of Man means. Centuries of Western overlays of substitutionary atonement doctrines (son of man=representative substitute) have obscured the practical implications of the term for new creation beings and new creation life. Understanding the term and how it relates to us is a necessary “set-up” to understand, and benefit from the Eucharist.
Session Two: The Logos
John Q. Average Christian has been taught that logos means “word” and that is about it. The Church was not the first entity to use the term. It was a well-known philosophical term that the church Fathers adopted and epically redefined. This session will examine how a broader and deeper understanding of the term “logos” impacts being human according to Christ. What is the key characterizing element defined humanity “in Adam”? What is the key characteristic of the new humanity “in Christ”?
Session Three: In Adam, In Christ
This session will take a look at the terms “in Adam” and “in Christ” untethered from centuries of soteriology (“salvation”) and Augustinian overlays. We will take a look at some issues surrounding human origins and cultural origins as defining what it means to be “in Adam” rather than Augustinian “original sin” motifs. Then, we will take a look at Christ’s work and unpack the practical and transformative power in a faith-filled practice of the Eucharist as integrally involved in the realization of the new creation.
Session Four: Our Union
What are the sociological implications of the Eucharist? Why has something that has supposed to unite us, become a source of division and contention? Are there very real human and social consequences of disdaining the Eucharist? This session unpacks the implications of all the above in the manifestation of our union with Christ and with one another. There is more to our community (union) than other-worldly, “spiritual” and “positional truths.”
HOW TO GET IT
This seminar is available for direct download at stephencrosby.soarlms.com. To download the files, it will be necessary to set up a student account with an email and password. There is a fee associated with the course.
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