Does it seem strange to be part of a church that has no program of study fo those who want to explore their faith? Helping each other grow, I would argue, is one of the core roles of a church. This role is made more important due to the almost two thousand years of Jesus’ message being corrupted by generations of people trying fit it into a religious box in order to support their own fears and biases. Noted theologians have publicly expressed dismay at the poor quality of theological training, which has done little to correct the corruption of Jesus’ message.
Fifteen members of the Leopold congregation (about one-third of a typical Sunday congregation) set aside an afternoon each week to study the records of the life of Jesus of Nazareth as found in the synoptic gospels. Participants initially contracted for 6 – 8 weeks, but most have found the process sufficiently stimulating to continue, and so the group continues to meet every Wednesday afternoon.
Modern exegesis of the Gospels is, in itself, interesting, for it challenges some long-held perceptions; however, more important are the parallels found between the spiritual journey of a Galilean 2000 years ago and that of a typical 21st century person. The goal for each is the same: to experience the realm of God. Jesus found the way, and the rest of us seek to follow. The purpose of the study is not just to learn about the journey, but to experience it.