Showing posts from January, 2019

Inhabiting the Christian year: Pentecost & Ordinary Time

With this post we conclude our series looking at the Western Christian year  ( liturgical calendar ) . For the other posts in the series, click a number:  1 ,  2 ,  3 ,  4 ,  5 , 6 , 7 , and  click here for a related post on the shape of the church's liturgy. So far in this series on inhabiting the Christian year, we've looked at Advent , Christmas , Epiphany , Lent , Holy Week and Easter . Now we conclude the series looking at Pentecost and Ordinary Time . Pentecost The ancient church chose to end the 50-day-long season of Easter with a Pentecost Sunday celebration. It was on Pentecost (50 days after the Resurrection and 10 days after the Ascension) that the risen, ascended Lord poured out the Holy Spirit in order to form and empower the church for mission. You will recall that at the Last Supper, Jesus promised his disciples that he would send them "another helper," the Holy Spirit (John 14:16, ESV). Following his resurrection and ascension, our Lord f

What is the relationship between doctrine and theology?

As readers of this blog know,  The Surprising God  deals primarily with theology, though occasionally looks at doctrine. But what is the difference between theology and doctrine? How are they related? This post offers brief answers for your consideration. Doctrine (and dogma) As used in Christian circles, the word doctrine  typically refers to the primary teachings of a particular denomination or church. Orthodox Christian doctrine elaborates the dogma (core beliefs) that have been set forth in the historic and orthodox creeds (e.g. the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed). Though most churches embrace the creeds as the core of their doctrinal teaching, different doctrines have emerged from this core. Holy Eucharist at the Council of Nicaea (public domain via Wikimedia Commons) Dogma comes from the Greek word for a thought-out idea—a particular position you hold. Doctrine comes from the Latin word meaning “to teach" or "teachings.” We teach (through doctrine) what

Inhabiting the Christian Year: Easter

This is part 7 of a series of posts exploring the Western Christian year  ( liturgical calendar ) . For other posts in the series, click a number:  1 ,  2 ,  3 ,  4 ,  5 , 6 , 8 . So far in this series, we've looked at  Advent ,  Christmas,   Epiphany ,  Lent  and Holy Week . The first three constitute the  cycle of light and Lent begins  the cycle of life , which continues with Holy Week, Easter and Pentecost. In this post, we'll look at Easter---the celebration of our Lord's resurrection. Icon of the Resurrection (public domain via Wikimedia Commons) According to Bobby Gross in Living the Christian Year ,  Easter is both a day (Easter Sunday, sometimes called Resurrection Sunday), and a season (sometimes called Eastertide) lasting 50 days: Within a century of Jesus' rising, the church had established the extended Easter season. But why fifty days? First, because the enormity of the resurrection invited a lengthy celebration. Second, Easter lasted until