Deepening the Life of Faith: Catechesis as Mystagogy. A one-day conference with Hans Boersma – March 23, 2019 – Waco, TX
It’s a common misperception that catechesis only pertains to a certain kind of doctrinal “check-list,” where a new Christian learns the bare basics and then move on to more interesting things.
Such a view, however, couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, the way a person first comes to learn the faith has profound significance for the lifelong shape of that Christian’s faith (or lack thereof). How we go about catechesis, in other words, has a major impact on lifelong discipleship. The basic framework and categories we set up in catechetical teaching will come to influence the nature of our faith for the rest of our lives.
I hope many of Anglican Pastor readers will be able to join!
Boersma’s voice is a much needed one in the conversation about catechesis, as he has an excellent way of bringing together the doctrinal, spiritual, and moral emphases that are ideally characteristic of catechesis.
Through books like Heavenly Participation, Boersma has helped many Anglican theologians discover what Shawn McCain has called on this site a “sacramental imagination”—that is, a way of perceiving reality that connects all of life to Christ.
Hans is, needless to say, a theologian in service to the church, and his ideas have an especially strong resonance among Anglicans (a longtime professor of Regent College in Vancouver BC, where he attends an ACNA church, he will be joining the Nashotah House faculty next year).
Boersma can help us think well about moving beyond connotations of catechesis as merely rote or merely intellectual and show us instead the profound connections between the foundational work of catechesis and entering more deeply into life with God.
Catechesis as Mystagogy
Deepening our life with God is the basis for the title of the conference: “Catechesis as Mystagogy.”
Mystagogy means “leading into the mysteries,” and it was the technical term for post-baptismal catechesis in the early church, where new believers were taught the meaning of the sacraments of Eucharist and Baptism.
More broadly, however, it means being led into the spiritual reality of life in Christ. Paul van Geest describes mystagogy as the task of making new Christians “aware of the transcendent dimension of human existence and to bring about openness for the mystery of God that is as incomprehensible as it is near in the Person of Christ.”
In four lectures, Hans will offer presentations on the task and purpose of theology, the need for catechesis in the modern age, a more robust understanding of memory, and how to read Scripture within catechesis.
Each of the four lectures will also include responses from “working pastors”—Fr. Lee Nelson of Christ Church Waco and Fr. Shawn McCain of Resurrection of South Austin—so that we’ll be able to have good conversations about how Hans’ teaching can bear fruit in the context of the local church. There will also be plenty of time for Q&A and interaction with Hans and one another. We’ll do morning and mid-day prayer. Lunch is included.
To find out more, click here!
Early registration (before Feb. 1) is $125 ($95 for students/pastors/retirees), and $150 after Feb. 1 ($125 for students/pastors/retirees). But do not let cost be prohibitive. Scholarships are available on a limited basis, so please direct any inquiries here .
I hope that you’ll join us on March 23, and that you’ll consider sharing this event with those in your churches or schools who might find this helpful.