This is the time of the year where we move back into the discipline of school, whether we actually attend classes or teach students or not. The fall is where we typically put away the vacations and trade in the ‘chilling out’ days of summer for routines, studies, and back to the basics of life. That’s what I like about getting back into a daily discipline of personal Bible study and reading.
As I think about getting back to normal life, I am ready to have a season of reflection and contemplation. It is a time to grab a good book, take some time to think and pray. One I am pulling off of the shelf for the fall will be Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense by N.T. Wright. At least annually, I like to re-evaluate where I am in my Christian walk.
What I like about this particular book is the fact that it is geared towards individuals who are already Christians, as well as non-believers. It is a book geared for the post-modern, post-Christian culture. I like the fact that Wright takes the essential components of the faith and expounds on them in order to crystalize one’s own beliefs. His writing connects not only the head, but engages the heart on how to respond to a world that desperately needs what Christ has to offer.
There are three things that come to mind as to why I am excited about this study:
1. Wright uses four lenses through which to see the Christian world view: the longing for justice, the quest for spirituality, the hunger for relationships, and the delight in beauty. He weaves these threads throughout the whole book, but lays them out in an obvious way in the first segment. In the second and third parts, he challenges the reader to use their mind to see his arguments and discourses on the basics of Christianity through these four lenses.
2. Simply Christian lays out the basics of the Christian faith in a way that helps believers to understand why we do some of the things we do in worship, in prayer, and in the study of the scriptures. He meticulously goes through the tenants of Christianity for the skeptics as well. This helps me as a Christian, to be a better witness to unbelievers as I talk, work and live with those who bring other perspectives to the conversation.
3. Bishop Wright brings everything together through practical application of following Jesus through one’s life. Although being a Christian in today’s complex world is far from simple, he pulls together the foundational concepts to where faith meets life. His basic premise is that in order to put your faith into practice, you need to know what you believe! This section is last on purpose. Faith is applied based on the foundational presuppositions of Christianity and not the other way around.
Come join me on this journey with Bishop N.T. Wright, as we explore the basics of Christianity together!
To join Elaine and others in this exploration, visit the course page.
Elaine Friedrich, a theoretical practitioner, has years of professional and academic experience in education, organizational management, and leadership development in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. Dr. Friedrich is a consummate teacher, with a contagious enthusiasm and love for lifelong learning. She is an innovative professor, with a devotion to education and teaching. She is a published author, a sought-after presenter, and a gifted administrator. She holds an earned doctorate in Higher Education from the University of North Texas in Denton.
She currently is the Director of Digital Discipleship at Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church in Marietta, GA. Prior to coming to Mt. Bethel, Elaine has served 17 years on staff at several churches across the country (LakeRidge UMC, Lubbock, TX; Centenary UMC, Lexington, KY; Highland Park UMC, Dallas, TX; Christ UMC, Memphis, TN; Covenant UMC, Cordova, TN). Most recently, she has worked the past 13 years at Strayer University as faculty, dean, vice president and senior vice provost.