Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Do It Yourself Confirmation Classes

Though I am completely not surprised, I have been a bit distressed at the lack of quality confirmation class curricula to be had, especially in the Episcopal Church. I say I am not surprised because the Episcopal Church is apparently having a full blown identity crisis on confirmation, or precisely what it is. This is to the extent that some people in the church are calling for us to do away with it in its entirety.

Being a ornery Anglo-catholic, I have to say I am somewhat horrified by this. Granted, as far as I can tell, the people who are calling for a "cease and desist" order on confirmation are from the solidly Protestant end of the Anglican spectrum, and they make no bones about that fact. Though I have not heard them say it directly, they seem to be girding their argument with the Reformation Protestant idea that there are only 2 sacraments instituted by Christ: baptism and eucharist. Therefore, confirmation is not a sacrament and can be dispensed with as such.

There is a certain logic to that. If that logic is in fact the basis for their case, I can understand where they are coming from along those lines of thought. I don't particularly agree with that logic for several reasons, particularly my belief in the very important adult affirmation of faith of some kind if, in particular, baptism is done as an infant.

Coming from a catholic perspective, I am also uncomfortable with the idea that one particular denomination (like the Episcopal Church for instance) can up and add or detract from the number of sacraments. To me, that is very dangerous ecclesiology and that can only be done by ecumenical council because otherwise it smacks of special revelation to the few, not the many.

To me, the more convincing Protestant argument is that the church is that place where "the Word of God is preached and the sacraments are duly adminstered." That sounds nice. However, the current confirmation controversy throws a monkey wrench into that because it creates a false dichotomy.

On the one hand, getting rid of Confirmation smacks of no longer having sacraments that are duly adminstered. On the other hand, since the denomination can (apparently on its own recognizance) water down the number of sacraments to two, then its easy to say we are duly adminstering the sacraments. . To me, it seems that the protestants in regards to the sacraments are trying to have their cake and eat it too. But, that is just me.

That is neither here nor there for purposes of this post. My initial and primary reason for this post (tangential ramblings aside) was to lament the lack of descent confirmation curriculum. I have searched high and low for such a curriculum, and have yet to find one to my liking. There are some to be had, but mainly the ones that are worth anything are geared towards the more traditional confirmation age of 13 to 14 years old, which is not exactly an adult level.

Most of the people coming to my confirmation class are adults, most of whom are older than I am. All the curricula I have found is either too in depth, too flaky, or simply non-existent. I know the Episcopal Church can do better than that. I have a young adults series that the church put out in the early 80's for middle school kids based on The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It is, bar none, the best all around curriculum I have ever seen. I know we can do better, or at least I can. I am going to create my own curriculum.

Take that, Via Mediocre.

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