Faith Seeking Understanding
Pastor Steve Albertin has created a video series that seeks to apply the Crossings perspective on faith and life to a variety of issues faced by Christians today.
The genesis of the series began in the last congregation Pastor Albertin served before his retirement. He was concerned that his church needed to make more effective use of visual media in order to better connect with a world increasingly dominated by screens and images. He also wanted a simple, accessible way to address many of questions the people in his congregation were asking about faith and life. From that context “Faith Seeking Understanding” emerged.
Steve was convinced that the Crossings community faced a similar challenge. It needed to make its ministry more accessible to a broader audience that was not all that unlike his congregation: immersed in visual media, living busy lives with short attention spans, hungry for ways to better understand their faith and better connect it to their daily lives.
This initial series of “Faith Seeking Understanding” includes ten 4-5 minute videos that seek to do just that. The videos address a series of simple and ordinary questions that Steve hears many people ask in the church today. These questions often address the most basic and fundamental aspects of the Christian faith and life. Two groups of short questions accompany each of the videos that can facilitate their use in a variety of small group situations. The first group of questions for use before viewing the video set the context. The second group of questions for use after viewing the video dig deeper into issues raised by the video. They also encourage further application to the daily lives of the viewers.
Steve Albertin is a Board Member of Crossings and a writer of text studies and occasional offerings for the Crossings Blog. He is a retired ELCA pastor now residing in Zionsville, Indiana. Steve holds M.Div. and S.T.M. degrees from Christ Seminary-Seminex and a D. Min. Degree from the Lutheran School of Theology. Over the years, he has written several new hymns and published several collections of sermons.
We are thrilled to be able to connect and share in the hope of the Gospel.
With your generous donations, we are able to offset the costs of these videos and will be able to offer more opportunities for learning in the future. Thank you for your involvement in Crossings and your support in our mission!
The Crossings Community is an open worldwide network of Christians dedicated to connecting the Word of God and daily life under the motto, “Crossing Life with the Promise of Christ.” What makes our approach distinctive is our commitment to a theological outlook called the proper distinction of law and gospel.
We regard the Gospel as a problem-solving message — genuine good news for sinners — and the Holy Scriptures as problem-solving literature. In a nutshell, we believe that the Gospel and the Scriptures address a festering God-problem that is in, with and under all our other problems, and for which only the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the corresponding God-solution.
Faith Seeking Understanding: Episode 1
- What do you know about The Crossings Community?
- What does the phrase “Faith Seeking Understanding” mean to you?
- How do you try to connect your Christian faith with daily life?
- The Crossings Community uses seeks to read Scripture and the world so that Christ can free people to serve the world. How does Christ change your relationship to the world?
- The “Faith Seeking Understanding” series will seek to connect Christian faith with questions and problems of daily life. What are some of the questions you would like this series to address?
The “proper distinction between Law and Gospel” refers to a theological rule of thumb or interpretive insight for understanding the workings of God in the world. It asserts that God operates in two distinct ways: Law and Gospel. The Law refers to that activity through which God both places demands upon us (summarized by Jesus in the two love commandments: love of God and love of neighbor) and evaluates us in accordance with those demands. Those who fall short of God’s demands are described as “sinners” and inevitably reap the due consequences of that judgment.
The Gospel, by contrast, refers to that activity through which God graciously promises to reconcile sinners to himself by joining them, through faith, to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Trusting this promise of God in Christ, sinners are adopted as children of God, regarded as holy and precious in God’s sight for Christ’s sake, and made new creatures by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Crossings Method is a way to look at life, culture, film, literature, and Scripture through the lens of the distinction between Law and Gospel.
It is a specific process for examining Scripture and ourselves through the prism of distinguishing law and gospel. Once we have listened to the Word of God in the biblical narrative, we set our lives, our narratives, next to it and connect them, “cross” them, to understand how faith in that Word and daily life are interwoven.
How does Gospel work? Why is it Good News? What is the role of faith? Luther loved colorful language sometimes crude, even gross. One of my favorites was his way to describe how the Gospel works. As a SWEET SWAP!
At the time of Luther, a terrible disease was sweeping across Europe, the Plague. Today the world is suffering under a different kind of plague, the Coronavirus. They are not the only kinds of disease that afflict our world. Another disease afflicts our world that is far more pervasive than any plague: the dreaded “YAHBUT’S DISEASE!” The cure of this disease comes from the most surprising of places: the cross of Christ!
One of biggest criticisms of Crossings and Luther is the idea of CHEAP GRACE, that is “Now that you don’t have to be saved you can do anything you want.” Luther addressed this contradiction in his famous essay “The Freedom of the Christian.” He said that as a Christian, you are FREE: lord of all and subject to no one.
And as a Christian, you are a dutiful SERVANT, and subject to everyone. This is no cheap grace but rather a description of the Christian who is FREE to SERVE all in need.
Where have you seen God in your life this week? A Familiar question asked in many churches sometimes even at the start of a sermon.
The answers always focus on the pleasant and happy things of life. But what about suffering, sorrow and pain? Can we see God in places like that? God always remains hidden when we want to find him. Instead God is chooses to reveal himself in Christ and his promise. There we are given the eyes of faith and are able to see God hidden in the ordinary things of life.
What a great question! What about those who have never known or believed in Christ? Will they be saved? In the end, will everyone be saved? What about Uncle Charlie? Everyone has an Uncle Charlie in their lives, the good person who never went to church and never believed in God. What about them? Will they be saved?
Ultimately, that is God’s problem and not ours. Thank God it is. In the meantime it is our job to share with all the one thing that is clear and certain: God’s love in Jesus Christ. The rest is up to God.
Given the current pandemic that is wreaking suffering and havoc upon so much of the world, one of the oldest and most persistent questions that both Christians and non-Christians have asked is now acutely relevant:
WHY DOES AN ALL POWERFUL AND LOVING GOD PERMIT EVIL?
Or, why do bad things happen to good people?.
You discover that a beautiful vase of flowers is not real. It is FAKE. It is not the real deal. There has always been a similar problem in church. We may hear lots of talk about God, Jesus and the Gospel but it is FAKE. The Double Dipstick Test is a great tool to find out if the Gospel you are hearing is the real deal or simply fake.