Because this is not the Sunday School of your childhood, the confirmation class of your youth, or a church membership class. In 1265 St. Thomas Aquinas published the first piece of the Summa Theologica, ‘Core Theological Issues’. The Summa is “one of the classics of history of philosophy and one of the most influential works of Western literature.” It was intended as an instructional guide for theology students, including clergy and the literate laity, offering a compendium of all of the main theological teachings of the Church cast within the framework of the prevailing philosophy. “Core” is a useful English shorthand for this title and provides a worthy title for our Wednesday adult education, for two reasons.
First, an education program worthy of the name is not inherently “secular.” Nor does starting from religious foundations mean rejecting evolution, psychology, sociology, feminist studies, or any other realm of contemporary investigation. “God’s truth” is not a subset of knowledge. Rather, God encourages questioning and is present in all seeking of truth.
Second, “Core” represents a willingness to rethink received ideas. Aquinas fashioned a view of the world that incorporated many of Aristotle’s views but placed them in a different framework, sometimes in conjunction with Augustine’s writings. Setting aside old articulations of faith and knowledge as inadequate and looking for new frameworks within which to comprehend our faith and lives is an act of faith. Core offers a place to undertake that task.
We are not the only place to learn, nor do we claim to discover all truth, but we, like Aristotle, seek truth without feeling bound to the ways it has been expounded in the past. Core is a place to reconsider, reconstruct, and nurture our grasp of faith and life, asking the Spirit to guide us into truth.
CORE’S VISION AND PURPOSE
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
We’re all growing in something. The question is: What are we growing in? At the heart of our Christian faith is story. Stories about God, about those who have followed God, God’s redeeming message, and the way of Jesus. Core can help you find your place in this story. Through classes, forums, and small group discussion, you can find ways to grow in knowledge, wisdom, community, and service.
Core isn’t reserved for “spiritual elites.” It’s for everyone: from those engaging the Bible and faith for the first time, to skeptics, doubters, stay-at-home parents, business owners, teachers, singles — anyone who wants to grow in faith, knowledge, wisdom, and life. Core seeks to equip women and men to grow in their love for God and to live out the way of Jesus in the world.