Here are some frequently answered questions about Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church and our Christian Faith.
Does God answer prayer?
Yes. Sometimes we just don’t like the answers. The purpose of prayer is to align ourselves with God’s purposes, not to get God to give us what we think we need. Pray as if it all depends upon God, work as if it all depends upon you. A model prayer is the prayer Jesus taught the disciples. (See the New Testament book of Luke, chapter 11, verses 1-4 or Mark, chapter 6, verses 9-15.)
Is there a set of doctrines I have to believe in order to be a Christian?
As Presbyterians we are guided by the confessions and certain understandings of who God is and who we are in relation to God. We seek to embrace the fullness of God's love for us and for others and learn what Christ calls us to do and be as His disciples. One of the fundamental questions as Christians we are called to believe is that Jesus Christ to is your Lord and Savior. Together we wrestle with the answer and the impact of that answer upon our lives.
Will believing in God make a difference in my life?
No, not unless you put that belief into action. In a pastoral letter, a person named John wrote, "Do not be hearers of the word only; be doers of the word." In the musical “My Fair Lady,” Liza Doolittle sings: “Words, words, I am so sick of words, show me!” We show the love of God by what we do with our lives.
What is God’s role in the bad things that happen in this world?
Try looking right there in the very midst of it all; that’s where we find God. God is in the details, in the dying and the diseased as well as in the joys and moments of intense pleasure. God is with us. God is here. God is now. And nothing can separate us from God’s presence of love.
Does God have a plan for my life?
Oh, yes. God’s plan for you is the same plan God has for everyone else. God’s plan is that we follow Jesus Christ and his way of truth and love in all of our relationships regardless of the circumstances in your life. The details of your individual life are a mixture of your choices, context and events beyond your control. It is called "trust" in the goodness of God.
The Presbyterian Church
What is distinctive about the Presbyterian Church?
We are "reformed and always reforming." That means that we do not think we have God in a box. We are learning more about the faithful life constantly. And we believe that God alone is Boss of the human conscience. We also are seeking to be faithful to the belief that God is with us in faith and its practice in the midst of our everyday existence.
Why should I go to Church? Can’t I experience God anywhere?
Church is where Christians gather in Christ's name and worship God. We are not ashamed of the God who is "not ashamed to be called our God," to quote Abraham. When we gather as the Body of Christ, we are strengthened, renewed and refocused on God's will instead of our own. We gather to minister in Christ's name and accomplish far more together than we ever would alone. We hear Christ proclaimed and celebrate the Sacraments we have received. Church is a unique place, an opportunity to participate in God's plans in amazing ways.
What is the difference between the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., of which Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church is a part, and other Presbyterian groups?
Some other groups calling themselves Presbyterian do not ordain women as officers (deacons, elders and ministers). And they may or may not have similar positions on a whole host of theological-social issues.
Why should church membership be important to me?
One is the loneliest number in the world. Church members support and care for one another. Church members know that we are all at different places on the journey of faith, and everybody needs to have times of coming together in order to have some greater cause and interest than that contained within their own individual skin. And we need the accountability and correction that comes from loving people traveling with us in the same boat (come and look upwards in our Sanctuary and if it reminds you of the hull of a ship, you're right on board!)
Talking to Children about God
I want to talk to my children about God. At what age should I begin and how should I start?
When the infant is growing in the womb is a good time to start. Sounds, noises, emotions are communicated through the walls of the uterus and the wonderful connections of mother to child. The way a child is nursed, held, touched — all that and everything else is "God-talk" with the child. It is an attitude thing! And then relax and answer questions the child asks. Remember that the greatest gift you can give your child is to love the persons with whom you live. That is always communicated.
Why do Presbyterians baptize babies?
Presbyterians baptize people, some of whom are infants. Presbyterians believe that God loves us and our children, and that parents and the faith community are to educate and support the child in such a way that she or he will always be aware of God’s love and acceptance. Baptism is a way of saying, "You belong!"
How do I explain death to my young children?
Let them see your reaction to death. Help them to face the "little deaths" they will experience–the death of a pet, the loss of a friend who moves with his or her family to another city, etc. Death hurts, we are sad, we go through it, we move on. And it still hurts. As Archie Bunker in All in the Family used to say, "One out of one die. That’s life." And life is also trusting that God takes us to God’s self.