May 16, 2012 by Jason Hood
This week’s Sunday assignment is a bit different. I have two sessions with the high school kids, a sort of “Bible and Jesus FAQ.” This week they turned in questions to the youth ministers:
- 1. Where did Cain get his wife?
- 2. If God knew Satan would turn evil, why was he created?
- 3. Are people pre-destined to go to heaven or hell?
- 4. How do we know the Bible is accurate?
- 5. How did the Bible become 1 book and how did they decide which ones went into the Bible?
- 6. What is the most important thing in the Bible?
- 7. Why do we worship God since we haven’t seen Him?
- 8. Where was Jesus the 3 days between his death and resurrection?
- 9. What are the “Lost Gospels” and why didn’t they make it into the Bible?
- 10. Which came first…chicken or the egg?
- 11. How would you explain “evolution” from a creationist viewpoint?
- 12. Why isn’t much of Jesus’ childhood included in the Gospels?
- 13. What does Jesus look like?
- 14. When will Jesus come back on earth to take all his believers?
- 15. Where did God come from?
- 16. Can you explain the Trinity and how it works?
- 17. How do people know when God has spoken to them?
- 18. Why didn’t Jesus marry?
- 19. When God spoke to people in the Bible does it mean out loud?
- 20. How do we end up with peoples on the North American continent with histories dating back longer than the Bible dates the earth being?
- 21. Why would God create people knowing they would go to hell?
- 22. What is the point of prayer is God already knows the plan?
- 23. How did we determine the 10 commandments are still important to follow as Christians, but not the rest of the Mosaic Law?
- 24. What happened to Jesus’ flesh when He ascended?
- 25. How do you explain the 2 billion year old rocks found on Iceland?
- 26. How do we know our religion is the right one?
- 27. Where did hell come from?
April 24, 2012 by Jason Hood
Joseph Frank identifies something important about Dostoevsky and Christianity, which is neither full-on acceptance of the status quo nor the cold self-serving shrug:
If we place The Idiot in the perspective of Dostoevsky’s work as a whole, it may be considered his most courageous creation. Not, however, because he tackled the almost impossible creative task of presenting a “perfectly beautiful man” within the limits of a novel form he wished to respect.
It was courageous because, in doing so, he was putting his own highest Christian values to the same test as those to which he had been most opposed. The inspiration for his best novels, before and after The Idiot, had been provided by his polemical relation to the doctrines of Russian nihilism….[In Raskolnikov et al] Dostoevsky had dramatized the disastrous consequences of such nihilist ideas if taken to their ultimate ideas in human action. But this is exactly what he ends up by doing in The Idiot as well–except that the values in this instance are those that he himself cherished with a fervor made more ardent by his full awareness of their fragility.
With an integrity that cannot be too highly praised, Dostoevsky fearlessly submits his own most hallowed convictions to the same scrutiny that he had used for those of the nihilists. What would they mean for human life if taken seriously and literally, and lived out to their full extent as guides to conduct?
The moral extremism of his own eschatological ideal, incarnated by the prince, is portrayed as being equally incompatible with the normal demands of social existence as the egoistic extremism of his tormented and tortured nihilistic figures.
September 16, 2011 by Jason Hood
For some of us, this is the hardest aspect of Christian ministry.
Graham Tomlin’s Spiritual Fitness has a chapter on the spritiual practices Jesus with his disciples. Much like Paul Miller’s book, Love Walked Among Us, this is a helpful, lay-friendly look at Jesus that longs to learn from what he did. Here’s one example (142-3):
A striking feature of Mark’s Gospel is that Jesus very rarely did things alone. Occasionally he went off into the hills to pray, but most of the time he did everything with his discipes. At times it was with the whole group, at other times he took just a few of them along, but he rarely acted alone. The pronoun used most often is ‘they’, not ‘he’.
(Note that much of Paul’s story in Acts is similarly dominated by “they” language, not “he” language.)
As Jesus moved . . . [to] Jerusalem . . . this was a communal journey where everything was done together. They experienced together the elation of the transfiguration when Jesus took Peter, James and John with him on that most extraordinary and personal encounter with his Father (9:2-13). They experienced together the grief and despair of Jairus’s daughter (5:35-43). They encountered fear (4:38) and went through failure (9:18). Jesus took them through the whole range of human experience and they went through it together, not alone.
There was a commitment to each other which transcended even commitments to family. In fact this group actually became as close as a family – Jesus ask the rhetorical question, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers? He looked at those seated in a cricle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!”’ (3.31-5).
Here at the heart of Jesus’ practice of church was a willingness to expose his life to theirs and their life to each other’s, in the intimate setting of a small community of around a dozen people. Without that depth of companionship, it is unlikely that our churches will get very far with real transformation.
This is a necessary and challenging word for someone who is very content reading alone, and I suspect that among readers of this blog, I’m not alone.2 Comments