We stand pretty much 2000 years into Christianity. The tradition that stretches out behind us is vast (albeit nothing compared to the Eternity that awaits us in the New Heaven and the New Earth). Many voices, Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, are calling us to rediscover that tradition. I believe that the rediscovery of what I call “Classic Christianity” is a task well worth investing ourselves in.
Christ alone is sufficient for salvation, but many, both “liberal” mainline and “conservative” evangelical, stand in a place of dissatisfaction with the Church and how she goes about things. Diving into the Great Tradition, rediscovering Classic Christianity, is a way we can connect more fully with Christ and better find out who He is, seeing how others have interacted with Him throughout the ages.
I believe, then, that — following the Glorious and Holy Trinity itself; the events of the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of the Incarnate God; and the Holy Scriptures — 2000 years of history, writings and tradition are the jewels of Christianity to be discovered and treasured and delighted in.
My first recommendation for the disillusioned is to read the Gospels and the Psalms. Evelyn Underhill, a twentieth-century English mystic, recommended those as the foundational texts for anyone interested in mysticism.
My second recommendation is to acquaint yourself with classic Christianity and the Christian Classics.
Classic Christianity — more than just the old books. The poetry, liturgy, prayers, lives, art, songs, hymns, theology, devotional works, mysticism, contemplation, disciplines, worship practices, virtues, and history of 2000 years of Christianity — this is Classic Christianity.
Starting 2 December 2012, there is a seven-year cycle of readings of the Church Fathers beginning! This is a great idea; the homepage for the project is here, and I’ve blogged about it here!! What better way to get into Classic Christianity than to read most of the Fathers?
I believe that rediscovering a more classic type and approach to Christianity is the cure for much of the dis-ease felt by many Christians who find themselves in the post-evangelical situation, or who are considering turning to other faiths for answers and depth lacking in the version of Christianity handed out in many churches today.