We know so much about movies. We study assiduously in our higher education courses. We keep tabs with music; not a single afro-beat catches us unaware. But, do we know our Catholic doctrine in its depth and breadth? Are we at least trying to study the Church’s doctrine? Everyone should be careful not to end being what Mary-Anne described to her friend Vera in The River And The Source: that possessing the best education from school, we would remain at kindergarten level in our spiritual life and knowledge. Margaret Ogola was not wrong to write about the problem of ignorance. There is much ignorance, spread among many, even in supposedly learned circles.
But where and how can one begin learning and assimilating the rich and nourishing Catholic teaching. One must go beyond the basics they learnt in catechism. Perhaps we have even forgotten most of what we learnt. We also must not be content with learning just for own sakes. We are to equip ourselves enough to be able to teach others. And for whom do we want to leave the defenses, when enemies of the Church and its saving doctrine are more than ever working against it, not sparing the horses? The task of learning and assimilating Catholic teaching is one of a lifetime. Yet we have to begin somewhere.
This was the rationale that prompted the birth of 3D: Deep Doctrinal Discourses. Every Thursday from 5.30pm to 6.30pm would gather in the Red room of Mbagathi Study Centre a few seekers of the truth. Their aim: to discuss the most sublime truths.
Two people would study the designated study material and prepare to make a presentation of the topic. There would be a moderator, one who has done some learning already, to lead the discourse. After an introductory presentation by the presenters, everyone attending would join in the discourse. Everyone studies the material; the presenters make sure to study it more surely. Questions concerning the topic are the fuel of the discussion. Arguments get challenged, wrong ones are refuted, correct ones are defended. Some questions get answered, many others are left unanswered for lack of time. They have to be left for another discussion.
All this began in March. The first season of 3D, focused on man. Who is man? What is his origin? What is his nature? What fulfills him, what is his end? Here we covered the soul-body unity of man, the interaction of his will, intellect and affectivity is his actions, his inviolable dignity, his social nature and his desire for happiness – the God-shaped hole he bears upon his human heart. God alone can fill it.
The first season thus prepared the ground for season two. Having known man in his fulness. Knowing that God is both his origin and end, we then proceeded to appreciate God’s coming to meet us men. Here we discussed and debated God’s mercy, God’s revealing of Himself. We then asked what value other religions have, and the specificity of our Christian faith, which possess the definitive revelation of God to men. We explored the historicity of the New Testament and the importance of Sacred Scripture. Then, Tradition we discussed next, what it is, and its relation to Scripture, its place in Revelation. Season two ended with two engaging discussions of the relationship between Faith and Reason. What supernatural faith is, the role of reason in coming to believe. We did not spare the historical issues linked to this debate: the Galileo Affair, Scientism, Evolution and evolutionism, creation theory and creationism.
We still hunger for more. We are to begin season three. We will be discussing the Apostles Creed piece by piece.
3D has been an occasion for forming and strengthening friendships. Every end of a season would be followed by a small celebration. Drinks, snacks, music.