Christianity is fundamentally a peculiar way of life. Christian initiation is the process a person goes through within a Christian community of being formed and transformed into a new being, modeled after the likeness of Christ. Yet, two facts need faced. First, after almost two thousand years after the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the vast majority of the world's population has not accepted the Gospel. Second, after almost two thousand years of performing baptisms in the church, the lives of the baptized are not significantly different than the lives of the non-baptized. Fact two explains fact one, but the root of the problem lies in a fundamental misunderstanding of Christian faith formation and the church's attempts to educate its adherents. Foiled attempts at Christian teaching have often resulted in unintended outcomes, curious inventions, and misshapen creatures. The Church needs to understand how belief and practice juxtapose to better form its strategy to more effectively produce faith in its eager but undereducated adherents.
Note of correction and apology: It has been brought to the editor’s attention that three paragraphs from page 104-105 of Mark A. Lamport’s article Unintended Outcomes, Curious Inventions & Misshapen Creatures (63:1, Spring 2008), are substantially identical to material from Andy Crouch’s article “Let’s Get Personal.” Books & Culture, January/February 2002, page 12. Mr. Lamport did not previously cite this material in his article. It begins, “Hard to explain, impossible to forget,” and continues to, “should we, propose a new version of Christianity?” The editor extends his deepest apologies for this error to Mr. Crouch, and suggests anyone quoting material from this article to be sure and properly cite Mr. Crouch if using this selection.
Lamport, Mark A.
"Unintended Outcomes, Curious Inventions & Misshapen Creatures: Juxtapositions of Religious Belief and Faith-Formed Practice & the Renewed Case for the Educational Mission of the Church,"
The Asbury Journal:
1, p. 95-113.
Available at: http://place.asburyseminary.edu/asburyjournal/vol63/iss1/6