Many times in recent years I have written about the problem of biblical and theological illiteracy in the U.S.
In the process, I've often recommended Stephen Prothero's book, Religious Literacy, as a starting point for knowing what we should know and gaining wisdom out of that knowledge to help us live in an increasingly pluralistic society.
I'm working with some Kansas City folks now to try to create some kind of center for religious literacy, and as I do that I'm alert to other efforts to make progress in this area.
I'm pleased to find just such an effort coming from Presbyterians (my denomination).
The Synod of Mid-America (made up of regional Presbyterian governing bodies), in partnership with several other groups, has begun to create "Theocademy," which describes itself as "a way for Presbyterians to form their faith anytime, anywhere."
Yes, this is aimed at Presbyterians, not a wider audience. But that's a good place to start, for if we can't articulate our own faith well we'll have difficulty engaging in ecumenical or interfaith dialogue. As you can read on the Theocademy website, it "wants to provide members of the Presbyterian Church (USA) with the finest theological education they can get short of attending one of our 10 seminaries."
I hope some of you in other faith traditions are working on something similar. And because Whitsitt is an advocate of open-source sharing of ideas, I know he'd be happy for you to learn from what Theocademy is doing and see how you might adapt that approach for your community.
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ONLY A PARTIAL ACCOUNTING
The Vatican's new accounting of the human and financial costs of the sex abuse scandal in the church is simply heartbreaking. And you can be pretty sure that the figures offered are conservative. The figures offered for the number of defrocked priests and settlement costs tell us nothing about the pain of the victims.