The Quadrilateral & October 15th Discussion Starters

The unrolled scroll at the Simchat Torah service

Yesterday I had several conversations with people of different ages about what God is like.  Throughout time, people have wondered who God is and what kind of relationship we humans can have with God. Methodists often talk about “the quadrilateral” as a tool for examining what we know and believe. The four parts of the quadrilateral are Scripture, reason, tradition, and experience. You can read a little more about it on the UMC website. Last night we had a powerful discussion during youth group. Using the four different parts of the quadrilateral, the youth confirmed statements about God. For example, each of the four sources confirm that God is loving:

  • Scripture passages about Christ’s forgiveness of our sins confirm that God loves us, even when we make mistakes.
  • In our tradition, baptism is a sign of God’s love for us, even before we are mature enough to understand it fully. In baptism, we become part of the church community which promises to love and nurture those who are baptized.
  • Using reason and scientific understanding, we confirm that love is essential for healthy human development. We are created to love and be loved.
  • Lastly, we experience love in powerful ways through family and friends.

No matter the age group, each of our faith formation classes is using Scripture, reason, tradition and experience to learn to know and love God. The quadrilateral is not just a piece of Methodist trivia, but a powerful tool for thinking theologically (which is a fancy word for understanding God).

PreK-2: Ark and Tent (Exodus 25-21, 35-40)

Following up on last weeks story of the 10 Best Ways to Live, we hear how the people treasured the 10 Commandments, creating an ark to carry them in. You can watch the video of the story here and learn how people got ready to be in God’s presence in Moses’ time. I wonder which part of the story you like best? At the end of the story there is a blessing that you can use at bedtime, goodbye time, or anytime!

The Lord bless you and keep you: The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you: The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26.

3-5th Learning about the Bible: the Books of Law (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronmoy):

These books are not just law, they help to shape our identity as children of God. We read the story Knots on a Counting Rope (click to watch the video), which reminds us the Bible “helps us to see with our eyes, with our minds, and our hearts. This books helps us to be strong enough to cross dark mountains, knowing that we are surrounded by Gods great love for us.”

The first five books of the Bible are the same books in the Torah. I was invited to Simchat Torah service last Wednesday night, where the scroll was unrolled. You can read more about that, and see a picture of the Torah unrolled, on my blog.


Youth, 6-12th Grade: I am a child of God! (class 1 of 4)

Scripture Readings: Genesis 1:27; John 1:12; Galatians 3:24–4:7

Dinner discussion idea:  The world is not an easy place. Every day we’re bombarded with messages from school, friends, family and social media that cause us to feel like we’re not good enough.  Read the passages and discuss the idea of being valuable to God, not because of what we do, but because of WHO God says we are. How does being a child of God change how you think or act?

Take a moment to reflect upon the lyrics in this song by Bethel Music.

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