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Archive for January 2015

Exodus/Fully Surrendered

Exodus/Lifestyle

OK, that pegs my Weird-o-Meter!

Week 4

UNCONVINCED is our skeptics venue here at Christ Community Church.  Our aim is to make a space for people who just aren’t yet convinced with what we read in the pages of the Bible.  Each week I look for things that the thinking person is going to trip over.  This week is going to be a steep challenge.  Blood.  Blood everywhere in the storyline of Exodus.  “You are a bridegroom of blood to me” says Moses’ wife as she grabs a flint-knife and circumcises Moses’ son!  Exodus 4:25.    The Hebrews are told to sacrifice a little animal, smear his blood on the door-posts, then the destroyer will pass over their home.  Why so much blood?  How did Yahweh manage to get his point across using such a graphic medium?  We look at blood today so differently.  What did blood sacrifice mean in the Ancient Near East?  Why would God shed blood as a basis for his redeeming actions?  Is that even consistent?

Click here for PDF version of this week’s resource sheet:  Unconvinced Week 4 Blood Sacrifice

Come on out and join in.  Last week we had a lively discussion about religious pluralism and more than once the crowd managed to stump the chump up front.  Bring a friend.  We meet Sunday mornings at Christ Community Church at 10:45 in the Atrium.  Look for us on the left!

Question to ponder this week:  What does red beer and Sekhmet have to do with why Yahweh may have turned the Nile to blood?

Unconvinced – Week 3 Religious Pluralism

Week 3

We had a great time last week in UNCONVINCED considering whether or not miracles really happen.  This week’s question comes from watching the action in Exodus chapters 7-10.  The big show-down between Yahweh and Hapi.  Or Yahweh and Hekqet.  Or Yahweh versus Re.  Call it whatever you like, the plagues are an all-out religious war that Yahweh wages on deity after deity of the Egyptian pantheon.  Yahweh isn’t interested in cooperation, negotiation or peaceful settlement.  Yahweh is intent on all out holy war on the gods of Egypt.  Why?

Download PDF of this week’s resource sheet here:  Unconvinced Week 3 Pluralism

Religious Pluralism is an undeniable fact.  It’s no use pretending that there is only one obvious choice for people and that humanity has come to accept Christian theism as the only way to God.  Hundreds even thousands of options confront us.  But here’s the question that gnaws at someone reading Exodus:  If all religions basically lead to God in the end, why is there so much religious warfare – starting in the pages of the Bible itself?  If there is in fact only one true God who doesn’t want to mislead us, then why has he allowed such a proliferation of religions?  Can thousands of religions ALL be wrong?  Can millions even  billions of religious adherents be misguided?  This week, more than any so far, I’m going to make the case that the two options that agree the MOST on this contentious question are Atheism and Christian Theism!  Yup.  Come find out the surprising reason we’re such chummy bedfellows on the question of religious pluralism.  It will make sense when you see what we mean!

Unconvinced meets Sundays at 10:45 in the Atrium at Christ Community Church, Old Mill Campus

Exodus/Leadership at Home

Exodus/Higher Standard

Exodus – All In

Hey God! Where’s my burning bush? Do miracles really happen today?

Week 2

Last Sunday about a dozen people joined me for UNCONVINCED.  We tried tackling the age-old question:  Why does God allow Suffering and Evil.    One of the best questions a participant asked was this:  “If God is all-powerful, then that means nothing is impossible for him, INCLUDING making a world where people could exercise free will but not rebel.”

It sure seems plausible to think that way.  It was a very insightful observation.  We talked about God’s nature and whether or not God might have reasons for allowing evil that we can’t fully understand.  “Maybe in order for God to give mankind responsibility for the choices we make, he had to also create the possibility of disobedience. ”  So at a minimum we do have to say God gives permission for evil to exist.  I don’t think the answer completely satisfied everyone in the crowd.  We’re still left with a God who could have prevented evil but didn’t.  But that means if we’re going to believe in God (the kind of God who is vastly bigger and more complex than we are) we may have to accept never fully understanding all of his purposes.  Just because we don’t fully understand something doesn’t mean we can’t believe it.

Download PDF version of session resources by clicking here:  Unconvinced Week 2 Miracles

This week’s question is another biggie!  A CLASSIC question.  It comes from the storyline of Exodus (multiple places).  Can we really believe the miracles recorded in the Bible?  Wouldn’t we all like God to come through with a miraculous sign when we’re desperate?  But does he really have to?  If the miracles talked about in the Bible AREN’T TRUE, then what are we left with?

eric metaxas

I’m eager to jump into a new book on Miracles a friend recommended to me.  Any Eric Metaxas fans out there?  Come on out to UNCONVINCED this week and help us figure this out.  I think you’ll have a great time.  Bring a friend too!  Remember it’s 10:45 on Sundays in the Atrium here at Christ Community Church.

Below is a list from the Back Page of my class notes last week on suffering and evil.  If you have a comment or question, give me a shout!  Or just come on out Sunday!

8 Reasons God may have for allowing people to suffer.

  1. A universal and undeniable consequence for misusing free will (moral and natural). Gen 3
  2. Can be punishment for specific sins – a feedback system to guide us out of self-abuse. Rom 1, 13
  3. An effect of moral evil on the natural order until God remakes the earth. Rom 8:19-23
  4. God is allowing it now, but as a part of eradicating and healing it later. Rev 21 & 22
  5. God has the ability to use evil against itself for greater purposes. Gen 50:20, Acts 4:26-28
  6. To develop character, patience, ability to serve others in crisis, etc. Rom 5:1-5
  7. God doesn’t always show us why he allows what he does! Job 38-42
  8. God uses suffering to bring us to the end of our understanding and get us to seek him!  Job 19:25-27, Job 42:2-3

 

 

Exodus/Prime Reality

 

Exodus/YHWH