Author Topic: Faith Formation  (Read 517 times)


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Faith Formation
« on: April 29, 2011, 01:42:10 AM »
I'm a layman here, and realize that most of my ALPB "peers" are clergy.  And my question for you is this: how do you approach faith formation?  What I mean is, what do you emphasize while building faith for the young, and how do you approach faith for those of "formed faith" who suffer tragedies?  Basically, how would you catechize and preach to Seth and Job? 


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Re: Faith Formation
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2011, 08:12:37 AM »
To be honest, Travis, I'm not sure this thread is big enough to hold the answers.  You've touched on a massive topic, in that there is no simple, straightforward answer, as there once might have been.  Younger generations (HS, JH, College) are lost on a sea of irrelevancy, busy-ness, and social accommodation.  There is, among many of the younger generation, a complete lack of morality, a strong, if not total sense of the loss of the reality of evil, an "I'm OK/You're OK" mentality, (in reality its often "I'm OK/You're not), and a complete lack of having faith in anything beyond what is observable through the senses or determinable through logic.  This in itself is a paradox, as so many today rely more on emotion and "feeling" than on logic and fact.

One thing I'm doing is attempting to stress the reality of evil in the world.  I do so in sometimes brutal fashion - not through slasher/horror movies, but through the reality of world events.  Confirmands here all have seen "Schindler's List" to illustrate the reality of evil.  I try to teach faith concepts through the use of media and the means most familiar to teens.  Abstinence education is a part of confirmation, only because no one else is teaching them about it any longer, especially in the schools. 

As but one more example of how to try to teach having faith in something that is not necessarily observable with the senses, we watched a portion of the Nicholas Cage movie, "Knowing" - specifically the opening part with the sheet of numbers from the time capsule, and then his character discovering that they were all dates and casualties of all the major world catastrophic events.  The question then was posed, "if you had evidence of knowing of unseen things and future events based on something written in the past, what would you do?  Would you believe it?"  The intended goal was to stress the validity of the prophetic witness of the Bible, which was then discussed.

Did it work?  That's the rub.  I hope so, but only time will tell. 

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Faith Formation
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2011, 12:08:18 PM »
"Faith" is a bit difficult to define. On one hand, faith is given to us by God. With this definition of faith that centers on God, God has given us all the faith we need. We don't get any more. However, we can continually learn and expand our knowledge of what God has done, is doing, and promises to do for us. (Our knowledge does not bring us greater benefits from God.) Sometimes this expanding knowledge is what is called faith -- but this then puts us at the center of faith, which leads to "the other hand" below.

John Westerhoff III in Will Our Children Have Faith states that "Faith is a way of behaving which involves knowing, being, and willing." With this definition (which centers on us, not God,) we certainly can grow in our ways of behaving through improving our knowledge, self-understanding, and volition.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]