Faith Seeking Understanding is a series of  4-5 minute videos written and hosted by Rev. Dr. Steven Albertin.  These 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.

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 seek to apply the Crossings perspective on faith and life to a variety of issues faced by Christians today.

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!

“What Is Crossings?”

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
Pre-Viewing Questions
  1. What do you know about The Crossings Community?
  2. What does the phrase “Faith Seeking Understanding” mean to you?
  3. How do you try to connect your Christian faith with daily life?
Post-Viewing Questions
  1. 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?
  2. 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?

Click here for a PDF of the discussion questions for all episodes
Faith Seeking Understanding: Episode 2
“What Is Law & Gospel?”

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.

Faith Seeking Understanding: Episode 3
“What Is The Crossings Method?”

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.

Faith Seeking Understanding: Episode 4
“How does the Gospel work? The Sweet Swap!”

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!

Faith Seeking Understanding: Episode 5
“Do you have Yabut's disease?”

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!

Faith Seeking Understanding: Episode 6
“What is Christian Freedom?”

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.

Faith Seeking Understanding: Episode 7
“Where have you seen God in your life this week?”

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.

Faith Seeking Understanding: Episode 8 
“Will Everyone be Saved?”

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.

Faith Seeking Understanding: Episode 9 
“Why do bad things happen to good people?

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:
Or, why do bad things happen to good people?.

Faith Seeking Understanding: Episode 10
"Fake Gospel or Real Gospel"

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.

What make the Christian religion ... the right one?
Faith Seeking Understanding
"Episode 11: What Makes The Christian Religion . . . The Right One?"

The world is filled with religions all which ask similar questions about right and wrong, death and eternity, etc. But Luther wants us to ask a different question when it comes to God: What do I fear, love and trust more than anything else? That is my God. Christianity answers that question differently from any other religion. It offers a God like no other. Its God does not demand that we HAVE TO do something to be saved but instead we GET TO believe that God has gifted us in Christ. How do we know it is true?  Because God has loved us into believing it is true.

Does Prayer Work?
Faith Seeking Understanding
Episode 12: "Does Prayer Work?"

Does prayer work? Can it change anything? Can it change God? Many think that prayer can never change God. If prayer changes anything, prayer changes us to accept what God is going to do anyway. Instead, prayer is “part two of a conversation started by God.”  God starts the conversation by announcing that he is Our Father and we are his kids.  God promises to do whatever it takes for us to keep on believing that good news.

Were Adam and Eve Real People?
Faith Seeking Understanding
Episode 13: “Were Adam and Eve Real People?”

Many assume that the story of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis is a historical report of what really happened.  But what if story was something else? What if it was a story not just about the past but a story that reveals the truth of our human condition now? Adam and Eve are us. When we hear their story, we are also hearing our story.

Do I have to be baptized or go to church to be a Christian?
Faith Seeking Understanding
Episode 14: “Do I Have to Be Baptized or Go to Church?”

This question makes it sound like being is a Christian fulfilling requirements. But what if being a Christian is not about what we do but trusting the promise of what God does for us in Christ ? That changes the question. Instead we ask, “Do I GET TO be Baptized or go to church to be a Christian?”  Answer: Yes! Of course! Who would want to turn down gifts like these?

Am I Really a Christian?
Faith Seeking Understanding
Episode 15: “Am I Really a Christian?”

We are all haunted by this question. We can never find a satisfying answer because of “The Tyranny of the Adverb.” Such adverbs like “really” always force us to look at ourselves and ask HOW MUCH is real? We can never be sure. We always need MORE. The adverbs make the unconditional announcement of the Gospel conditional on us and what we do. The good news is that it has nothing to do with us and everything to do with God . . . I Christ!