When a person arrives at a church for the first time there is a question around the individuals background in Christianity.
In general and as broad categories I’d see that there are two groups here.
- First those who have an inherent Christianity – a Christianity that they may not yet fully own for them selves, but have received it from those who nurtured them.
- The second group is those who have no background in Christianity. Those who came fresh to things. Often several generations away from an inherent Christianity, if it is there at all.
Now with these two groups, much of the Church I’d say work well with the first model, that often there is an assumed background as to what is happening, as to when to stand and sit. As to the rites and rituals of the congregation. The things that are done and why do we do them.
However there is for me a lack of understanding as to what is done and why do we do it. Until we reach the point if been able to explain what we do and why. There is a lack of understanding within the Christianity community to explain what we do, and to be able to adapt to explain to those who have little idea of what is done and why.
Part of this comes in our own understanding – do we hold these things for our selves, or do we repeat what has been passed on to us without an thought as to what and why we do these thing. The church can often become dependant upon a degree pre held knowledge that would otherwise not be available to those who have never encountered such things before.
There is a need to both grasp the simple and every day items that we do, and also the big ones. We can often take a good amount of time over the big theological questions, yet we often forget that the little simple things can be as distracting or hard to follow.
So I’d encourage that we look to how we do things, and become more aware of what we do and why.