At City Life church the last couple of weeks we’ve been exploring doctrine. “Excuse me?” you say. Yes, you read that correctly.

We’ve been exploring the Heidelberg Catechism, a teaching tool about Jesus from the early days of the protestant reformation. The document emphasizes how a connection to Jesus settles a deep need in our hearts for belonging. Ultimate, comforting, belonging. But it does so in question and answer format, that teaches the basic inner workings of the Christian faith. In other words: doctrine.

It’s a little out of vogue to be openly doctrinal. But the alternative is to be like someone who drives a car and doesn’t believe in ever making sure there’s a working motor under the hood; or refusing to go to any doctor who has an Anatomy and Physiology book on her shelf. Being spiritual without specific beliefs is our fad, but one must ask whether or not anything specifically good can ever come of such a spirituality.

This week, we’ll dial it up even more, piling on top of doctrine, ritual.

This is just one more incredibly fascinating thing about Jesus: while he seemed to bring about a colossal end to the importance of ritualistic religion, he instructed his followers to carry out one important ritual: baptize. Dunk people in water. Splash their heads as you welcome them into the fold.