This spring our boys are participating in a Confirmation class at Schweitzer.
It is a new venture for them and for Anna and I as we have never before been in a church that practiced/offered Confirmation. The curriculum in use is called Credo and available through Cokesbury.
The Confirmation class is a unique setting for these young teens to explore theological doctrines of the faith; Doctrines about the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, Creation, Atonement, and Wesley's Quadrilateral. Confirmation gives them room to affirm the baptism vows taken for them by their parents. Confirmation helps begin to expand their perspectives globally. This past weekend we went on a retreat to St. Louis, the confirmands were exposed to the Catholic Basilica and to an Orthodox Church.
At the Basilica we participated in a low mass, no choir/organ/music. For the Homily the Bishop focused his remarks to the 400 or so Methodist confirmands about the Gift and Presence of the Holy Spirit. He prayed that the Spirit would be poured out upon them and unite them to God. It was a powerful homily in an incredible space.
Later in the day the Bishop Schnase, Missouri Conference UMC, also addressed the confirmands. He gave an encouraging word to say yes to Jesus, where ever it may be that Jesus invites us to follow.
I've heard people wonder how much of the whole confirmation experience sinks in. There is a strong assumption that Middle Schoolers take on theological doctrines like ducks take on rain. I suppose we might rightfully have the same assumptions about biology or algebra - yet teachers persist. What is becoming clear to me is that the exposure to doctrine is a calling worth not shrinking back from. When theology and doctrine are couched and encouraged with the spirit and language of the two Bishops, Confirmation is a means of Grace.