The clouds hung low this last Sunday morning. Already shivering as I stepped outside, I called back to the hustling brood to grab their jackets before we piled in the car. Damp palm trees and lonely puddles hinted that it was about to rain, but only a gray mist colored our morning drive to church. The children and I traveled together in unusual silence, taking in the gloom. 

As we are beginning to see the signs of our economy opening up (well not here in CA, but in some others states), and as we catch glimpses of life beyond this crisis, our thoughts begin to settle again on the future. I, for one, have been thinking a lot about the lessons we will learn from COVID-19. What will be the takeaway for the Christian congregation that tried to navigate the waters of uncertainty and fear while striving to be faithful to their confession and mission?

The old theologians had famously said, “lex orandi, lex credenda,” that is, the law of what is to be prayed is the law of what is to be believed. Or you might have heard it said, “If you show me how someone prays, how they worship, I can tell you what they believe.” At the very least it is an assertion there is a definite connection between how a fellowship worships and what they believe.

By Paul Koch

The other day, The Jagged Word received an email from our most persistent and longsuffering commenter, the one and only John J. Flanagan. He doesn’t always agree with what we write here. Hell, we don’t all agree with each other, but he has always been willing to be part of the conversation, and for that we are very thankful. For in many ways, that is the goal of our relatively agenda-free blog—to have conversations that matter.

By Cindy Koch

What if liturgy isn’t enough? I know that’s the argument that well-meaning, smart theologians will give you. You know how it goes: If the preaching is bad or if the particular pastor’s teaching is less Christ-centered than you’ve understood the Bible to teach, if you at least have the liturgy, you’re safe. If the church is a mess and the people are all over the place with understandings, if you at least have the liturgy, you’ll be OK. The liturgy, a weekly confession of the true faith, built on and sustained by the faithful church for generations upon generations of Christians. A liturgy that preserves the pattern of right confession and pure Gospel proclamation, all bound up in a handy-dandy book, literally at your fingertips every Sunday.

By Joel A. Hess

Christians routinely use the word “mystery” when explaining the faith. Often times when a believer is stuck in explaining a teaching, she is quick to conclude, “Well, it’s a mystery.” The Orthodox really love this word. It often times seems impossible to even discuss with them their understanding of things as they repeat “It’s a mystery” to every request of explanation. And of course, there is the condescending “The East isn’t concerned about systematic explanations like you westerners.” They sound like Apple users snubbing their noses to PC users. Of course, it was my “eastern” friend from Indiana who told me this.