Our topic this year is "Jesus Christ Savior and the Church", which
means we are continuing our focus on Jesus Christ as Savior (and so
specifically the soteriological dimension of Christology), but now
moving from the more general and personal understanding of salvation
to the more communal dimension.
You might say that year one was asking, "How or in what way is Jesus
Savior, and what is the salvation accomplished in Christ", coupled
with the question, "How does that apply to specific sins, people,
etc.?" The paper I produced last year was an extended study of
Jonathon Edwards's understanding of the history of
redemption/salvation, and the import of his theology for his
This year, we are looking at Jesus Christ Savior as it is worked out
ecclesiologically. So, during our first session in Notre Dame, we
discussed Lumen Gentium; for the RC understanding of
salvation and the church, plus some of the confessional documents of
the Presbyterians (!) for an example of the Protestant approach to the
church and salvation. Our visit to the Amish Anabaptists was another
stab at understanding the ecclesiology of a specific community, one
quite different from Protestants and Catholics. In the fall, we're
reading a variety of books representing a wide array of
ecclesiologies, including some of the books I've reviewed in previous
posts and will continue to review as I work my way through them.
In the spring, we're looking at The Princeton Proposal, and a
collection of essays edited by Braaten/Jenson on the church.
In the meantime, my own particular writing and work will be on these
two things. First, I am looking in-depth at Yves Congar (which means
I will probably also need to look a bit at Henri de Lubac as well).
He is my "resource" theologian.
Second, for a paper, I'm working on a constructive piece with the
working thesis, "The church is the body of Christ poured out in the freedom of the Spirit for the sake of the world." My very preliminary comments on this thesis (to myself and now to this larger audience) are as follows:
"In this way the church is sacrament. This conceptualization unifies
two things of concern for our pastor-theologian group, a) the
evangelical catholicity of the church (ie. The Reformation and
East-West splits are a tragedy, and we should be moving towards
visible unity), and b) the social justice dimension, that structures
often put energy into maintaining structures, and in this way cease to
be true “bodies”; structures that are not poured out in love are dead
bones that need the revivification of the Spirit."
Addendum: I experimented with posting directly to my blog by e-mail, but apparently the formatting does not work correctly. If anyone has more experience with this, please let me know what I may have done wrong... Thanks.