Christianity

Nostra Aetate

Nostra Aetate,”In our time,” are the first words (and thus the title words) of an important document produced by the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) addressing with new openness the relation of the Roman Catholic Church to non-Christian religions.

Transcendentalists

Transcendentalism was a movement of 19th century American thought, associated especially with Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82), Henry David Thoreau (1817-62), and subsequent liberal and Romantic thinkers. Their vision was stretched toward universalism by a vision of the Transcendent, which Emerson called the “unbounded, unboundable empire” underlying the whole universe which is, at the same time, the “one soul which animates all men.” Some would argue that this thinking came from their encounter with the sacred books of the Hindu and Buddhist traditions.

Genesis, Book of

The first book of the Humash or Five Books of Moses, Genesis (or Bereishit, meaning ‘In the Beginning’) details the Jewish understanding of the creation of the universe, from the seven days of creation, through the Garden of Eden, ending with the events of Joseph and his brothers in Egypt (the fathers of the Twelve Tribes).

Christmas

Christmas is the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Since the 4th century this observance has been held on December 25 in the Western church.

monastery

A monastery is the residence of monks, or monastics; the term is commonly used in both the Christian and Buddhist traditions. Monasticism refers to the life of work, study, and discipline led by monks and nuns.

evangelism

The Greek word euangelion means “good news” and an evangelist is one who proclaims and shares the good news of Christ. Evangelism is the preaching and witnessing to that good news. Evangelicals are Christians who emphasize the personal experience of God’s grace and salvation in their lives and the affirm the divinely inspired message of scripture. While much of the history of American Christianity has been evangelical in this sense, the term today denotes a broadly conservative group of churches emphasizing the divinity and authority of scripture, and the importance of mission and... Read more about evangelism

cardinal

A cardinal is a high-ranking office in the Roman Catholic Church, conferred by the Pope and involving both ecclesiastical and administrative duties on behalf of the church. The College of Cardinals is charged with the responsibility of electing a new pope when the office becomes vacant.

Mennonite

The Mennonite church is one of what are sometimes referred to as the “historic peace churches” because of its radical commitment to the pacifism and non-violence of Jesus’ teachings. It traces its origins to the Dutch reformer Menno Simon (1496-1561) who is one of the Anabaptists who rejected infant baptism in favor of the baptism of adult believers.

Protestant

Protestant is a term used for the range of reform movements that broke with the Roman Catholic Church during the period called the Reformation. There are many branches of Protestantism, including the Lutherans, Anabaptists, Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians. While they differ in many respects from one another, they agree on the rejection of the papacy, reliance on the Bible more than church tradition, and justification before God by faith alone. The Protestant Reformation is a reform movement that began in the 16th century with Martin Luther in Germany and... Read more about Protestant

diocese

A diocese is an administrative unit of the Christian Church, presided over by a bishop.

Bible

The Greek term biblia means the “books.” Bible is used in both the Jewish and Christian traditions to refer to the book which gathers together their sacred writings. The Hebrew Bible includes the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings—a collection referred to as Tanakh. The Christian Bible includes the Hebrew Bible as well as the four Gospels, the Book of Acts, the apocalyptic Book of Revelation, and the letters of the apostle Paul and others.

Luther, Martin

Martin Luther (1483-1546) was the reformer who broke with the Roman Catholic Church and launched the German reformation. He denied the authority of the Pope and the church of Rome, emphasized the sole authority of the Bible, the priesthood of all believers, and salvation by faith alone.

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is the first day of the season of fasting, penitence, and spiritual discipline and study called Lent, the six and one half weeks preceding Easter. For many Christians it is a day of fasting and a day on which the season ahead is symbolized by the imposition of ashes on one’s forehead.

Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God is the biblical language for speaking of God’s reign of justice and righteousness that will one day become fully present on earth. For Christians, Jesus made clear that the Kingdom of God is not only a future hope but a present reality to be discerned and nurtured in the midst of the community.

Patrick

St. Patrick (c.390-c.460) was born in Britain and became known as the Apostle of the Irish, having spent most of his life establishing and nourishing the church in Ireland.

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