MYW 4.6 PROBLEMS WITH TRUTH – WHITEBOARD

MYW 4.6 PROBLEMS WITH TRUTH – WHITEBOARD

The background for this whiteboard is described in http://maxdoubt.wordpress.com/

See also the Y-point exercise MYW 4.9.

How do we know that Jesus is truly the Way?

There are four ways to argue. Different people have a bias towards some and not others.

EVIDENCE FROM SCIENCE

How do we know what is true? What is proof?

Arguments from the design of the laws of matter and energy, the wonder of discovery, and symmetries.

Arguments from the existence of time/space, of beauty/qualia, of goodness/morality.

EVIDENCE FROM MY EXPERIENCE

My own experience of sorting it and doubting it.

My reasons why I think I did not make it up in my head

What are my experiences of the living God?

EVIDENCE FROM HISTORY

The reliability of the text about Jesus and its transmission through history

The apostles as eyewitnesses and their martyrdom

Historical research adds just-like-it information that mostly fits the biblical narratives

EVIDENCE FROM SHARED EXPEREINCE

In many ages and cultures, many kinds of personality have had similar experiences of God, thus bearing a common witness

Different religious systems, though different, share common ground on some things.

When we argue between shared religious/philosophical positions, we need to look to all four parts of this frame.

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MYW 4 Not such a bad idea

Not such a bad idea

By Ian Robinson

I have been thinking about ‘bad ideas’ lately. A few decisions I regret, some jobs too hard for me, some commitments on which I think I over reached myself. And some public debates that are pathetic and so they are going nowhere. Bad ideas. To make the depression complete I started thinking about why people don’t want to engage with Jesus, even though I think it would be brilliant idea.

Some say that the suffering of the world points to a pathetic god or no go at all. If that is a statement about the Christian God, why are there so many Christians doing so much about suffering and at such cost to themselves in the name of that God? When we turn to accuse God of doing not very much about the suffering, he can turn around and say: “That’s exactly my question – what are you doing about your neighbour?” Maybe it was statement about santa claus or myself.

Some say that the paedophile scandals and the caught-in-the-act evangelists (add in your own horror story here) are proof that Christianity doesn’t actually work. If that is a statement about Christianity, why are church services every Sunday commenced with confession of sin? If we turn to the church and say “you are full of hypocrisy”, the answer is “We know, we all are. It is the single biggest problem that we are sent here to address.” Maybe it was a statement about arrogance in an organisation, but the church has no freehold on that one.

Some say that the evidence for the existence for God is weak and no proof exists. If that is statement about the Christian God, what could possibly count as proof? This statement is best seen as a sudden realisation that no discipline runs without a set of assumptions and axioms that define it, and which cannot be proved from within it. Even “1+1=2” needs some qualifiers and statement of assumptions, as in this geek joke: “There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who understand Binary and those who don’t.” The knowledge we have of God is no different to the knowledge we have of anything, so here’s to lifelong learning.

Some say that that the cost of becoming a Christian is too high. On two counts, it is unjust to be forgiven, and the behaviour and attitude adjustments are enormous. Money, time, sex, humility, community, justice – where will it end? On the other hand that’s the very thing that makes me smile – yes I go free, yes it is amazing, yes I can live with that sort of grace. And yes, like any good decision in life it is going to cost me and its going to be worth it.

Can you see from all this above why I think this is not such a bad idea. I get to connect with a loving and non-judgemental God, and am sent into a hurting world to address hypocrisy, injustice and suffering. In the process, I get changed, challenged and healed. And I am not alone. I am part of a very faulty human movement called ‘the church’ that accomplishes amazing things, bats well above its weight, and which falls flat on its face regularly. I can belong to that; I couldn’t belong to a perfect organisation, as in the joke by the brilliant Groucho Marx: ‘I would not want to join any organisation that would accept me as a member.” What else is going to make a difference, to me or anyone else? Politics? Fame? Facebook?

MYW 4.7 PROBLEMS WITH CHRISTIANS whiteboard

MYW 4.7 PROBLEMS WITH CHRISTIANS

Here is one frame for the exercise that should capture all the feedback and experience and equip people to speak for the gospel.

I AM

I am part of the church. I apologize for wrongs we did/are doing.

I fail my own best, do you?

No one is perfect. No organization is perfect.

HYPOCRISY IS

Everyone fails their own standards.

Need to be disillusioned.

Does God set higher standards for us?

Pretending we did nothing wrong is worse than the original offense

INTEGRITY IS

What makes some failures acceptable and some screaming for revenge?

If Church sets itself up as ‘perfect’ or a moral authority, it deserves its fall from grace

Someone who can acknowledge and apologise has real integrity.

Christians confess their sin every week in public. Who else?

JESUS IS

Gave his most stinging rebukes to hypocritical religious persons

Reforms the church regularly with new ideas and values

Too loving to reject us for our wrongs, including our hypocrisy

Too holy to leave us that way, calls and equips everyone to be like him.

MYW4.5 Problems of Suffering – Whiteboard

MYW4.5 Problems of Suffering – Whiteboard

Here are the four steps that frame this question well.

The first two steps are practical and pastoral, but pastoral in the sense of courageous as well as comforting.

I AM WITH YOU – THINGS WE CAN DO FIRST

Talk about how we might approach the question and the questioner

How do we say “I don’t know”, or just say nothing.

How to stay close and not let the suffering or death or anger turn us away.

Stay the course through the long grief. Most others stop after three weeks.

GOD IS WITH YOU – GLIMPSES OF GREATER GOOD WORKING IN

God suffers with us, sends us comforters.

God knows what it’s like to suffer. He watched his son die from betrayal

You find out who your real friends are!

Find out what we are truly made of.

Witness awesome human resilience

Carers such as doctors and nurses are simply amazing

The next two steps go upstairs for the larger view, and require a capacity for perspective. If a person is still raw they cannot make these steps.

GOOD COMES – NAMING WHAT WE ARE NOW GRATEFUL FOR

Good is coming out of the evil

We now know how to care for someone else in this situation

Challenged to care more deeply about the things that really matter

Realize how much richness we have already – thanksgiving

If we did not struggle we would appreciate nothing.

GOD COMES – WHAT IS GOD DOING AND PLANNING

The gift of life points to a giver who calls us to be givers.

God is working with a world that can recognize him if they want to.

The world is both very beautiful and very broken, not just one or the other.

Realize our own giftedness and how cherished. Ready to give.

God has set a day when all the wrong will be set right, and sent Jesus to light the way to it.

MYW 4.2 Feedback and Discussion

MYW 4.2 Turn the Page

Whiteboard from feedback for the short Bible study

Jn 3 Gospel to Jewish man

Comes to Jesus because of Miracles

Not about mind but Spirit

Belief/trust/faith

Old question: God loves the world.

Jesus on the cross/like the serpent.

Jn 4. Gospel to Samaritan Woman

Jesus is lost on the street

Jesus asks and does not tell, intrigues

She needs ‘something more’ in her life

Jesus crosses cultural barriers. Gets attention.

Avoids old religious questions.

No cross reference, just new life in the Spirit

Acts 17a Gospel to Synagogue

Look at Scriptures

Messiah had to suffer and rise

This happened to Jesus

Acts 17b Gospel to Marketplace

You are busy searching

Your culture has some clues.

Let’s focus on your lingering unknown

The Creator of all

Jesus is resurrected so proven Christ.

The group definitely saw the parallels between religious (Jewish) background and non-religious backgrounds.

So we thought

The gospel to the religious should be:

Based on scripture, it is about Holy Spirit not mind, the other way got the messiah crucified, so turn around/born again.

The gospel to the non-religious was:

Do you know what you are longing for, the creator has shown us to seek him, he sent Jesus to be the way, so open up the Spirit he gives.

It blew a few people out of the water to see that neither Jesus nor the apostles said what they would say was the gospel. I think, to be fair, even after those summaries , the group felt that we had a lot more to think about, and that it didn’t finish off our study of these passages. Part of it is that we discovered we didn’t know much about Jews, Samaritans, or Athenians! After all these years of bible studies and sermons!

MYW 4.7 Group Feedback

MYW 4.7 Group Feedback

The way we framed the discussion is as follows

YOU’RE RIGHT!

That sort of Christianity is not for us either, nor for Jesus.

ALL HUMANS FAIL

I am not perfect either

ALL GROUPS FAIL

Every organization is corruptible

Gets off its own track

NEED A SOURCE RENEWAL

Jesus calls us to love, to build something with integrity

MYW 4.5 feedback

MYW 4.5 Group FEEDBACK

I AM WITH YOU

“God sends no one suffering”

“I don’t know why this has happened to you.”

We find extra compassion comes from within

You can make it.

GOD IS WITH YOU

God understands

He suffers with us

People get great strength and resilience

WHAT GOD DOES

God is raising greater love out of evil

God made a free world

God waits patiently

Jesus suffered wrong too

WHERE IT ENDS UP?

We all will die.

God has pledged to end all the suffering one day

We will all see the reasons are OK. Trust.

Join in with God’s flow

The best is yet to be