Didache Blog Tour – Day Three, Chapter Four

Didache Blog Tour – Day Three, Chapter Four December 4, 2009

Yesterday, Holly Rankin Zaher and Tripp Fuller both weighed in on The Teaching of the Twelve: Believing and Practicing the Primitive Christianity of the Ancient Didache Community.  Their assignment was to reflect on Chapter Four, “There Are Two Ways.”

Holly is a committed youth pastor, and has been for years.  It’s from that perspective that she writes,

In my context of a youth ministry trying to live out the way of Jesus, I can’t help but wonder what our confirmation process look like if we used the Didache to shape at least part of the process. Might that help reshape the notion of confirmation and discipleship from ritual-driven to apprenticeship? Would a frank discussion on ethics and living life in a certain “way” help people understand a relational understanding of faith? Could it be that in discussing a way to life we might discover a deep vat a grace that Tony highlights?

Indeed, that’s exactly what what the Didache’s original purpose seems to be: as a catechetical manual.  It’d be interesting to know if any youth workers out there have used the Didache in confirmation classes.  If I were teaching confirmation today, I would use it.

Tripp, also a youth pastor as it so happens, comes at chapter four from his own ana-bapti-mergent perspective, writing,

The way of life, found in Torah and Jesus, is an insurgent’s way when the world is dominated by a political and cultural ordering of society that fails to value life and live in love.

He goes on to say that the Didache presents a contrary view of initiation into the Christian life than the “Romans Road” version that is often espoused by modern Christians.  And he’s right, the Didache’s way is one of orthopraxy.  As I quote Trucker Frank in Chapter Four, it’s “the heart of God on paper.”

Online Resources:

Previously: Adam, Thomas, and me on chapter one.  Amy, Ted, and me on chapter three.

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  • An update: The book shipped a week ago from the publisher’s warehouse, so it’ll start shipping from Amazon, Barnes&Noble, etc., as soon as they get it in their distributors’ warehouses…

  • I’d be interested in the discussion about a confirmation process or a teaching series for high school kids. Seems easy enough to teach it, as the Didache is so straightforward, but I’d get some grief from confused folks about non-canonical works…but they’d probably be fine with “Prayer of Jabez.” Ughh.

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  • Annie

    I’ve used it in my introduction to Christianity, which I think of as a kind of advanced catechesis. My students were pretty resistant to it–one of them said it was clearly based on communism. I had a good chuckle over that. I have to say, though, that I’m not sure in what church context the concept of living life a certain way is absent. Certainly not the context I was raised in, nor the conversations I’m a part of now. I’m not saying this gap doesn’t exist. But there is a strong tendency to say “Christianity” when one means something a bit more limited.

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