Questions

Questions from Sunday – 11 March 2018

There were lots of questions submitted on Sunday. Some we got to, some will wait for another day. Keep them coming. 

Question 1 – Health:

There was of course the question we tackled briefly on physical health.

Do we have a moral/ethical/spiritual duty to keep in good health? Obesity rates are at an all time rate. Doesn’t the Bible teach us that our body is a temple, and we should take care of it.

And the answer, briefly (non-brief answers to follow) was yes and no. Brian noted that we need to be aware of context (health issues, injuries, mental health) before we judge anyone.

Pastor Brian pointed out that the exegesis of 1 Cor 6:9 was strained, as Paul is speaking very specifically about sexual sin. Pastor Brian also pointed out that we need to be careful not to conflate health with goodness.

Seth pointed out that we need to be careful that our judging assists. Judgement with assistance is ministry. Judgement without assistance is not something a christian is called to do.

Question 2 – Life Coaches:

Is it worth it to have a Christian life coach?

So life coaches are not good for us? Where do we get guidance from? Do we just read the bible for guidance? “

The sermon pointed out that we should be aware of Guru’s someone who claims to have all the answers in themselves. This prompted the question of life coaches.

The discussion centered on assistance versus control, discipleship vs indoctrination. Brian noted that guidance and accountability are good things. Pastor John noted that bad coaches foster dependence. Good coached lead us to independence (being healthy and holy in ourselves) and interdependence (helping other be healthy and holy). Seth noted that good counselor is a godsend, but that they hand you insight that you proceed to process yourself. They don’t do the heavy lifting for you.

Question 3 – The Alchemist

Is it ok to read ‘new age’ books (like The Alchemist?) Isn’t it playing with fire, if we know it could be in conflict with biblical thinking? Shouldn’t we just read the bible?

Would you recommend reading the book “ The Alchemist “ ?

Much discussion turned on Pastor John’s reference to the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (Pastor John: “say that name a few times: it’s fun”). But also around the role of wider media in the life of a christian. Pastor John pointed out that we must still engage culture to understand it, and to understand where people are coming from. Pastor Brian pointed out that Paul appears to be very well read as many of his arguments are aimed directly at the philosophy of his time. Seth ventured a thought that said we can’t “just read the bible” because reading the bible assumes a whole complex set of discourses about textual history, translation, church history, theology etc. that need to be navigated just to “read the Bible as scripture” and to preach scripture requires an understanding of our audience and a working theory of what God is doing in the world and why. Perhaps a better to question to ask is how do we pour the story told in scripture into our own lives, and into our own contexts? How do we live scripture in our every day?

Question 4  – Postmodernism

One of the positive outcomes of postmodernism is that the idea of consent has gained importance, yet it can be used to justify choosing whatever one is desiring at the time. How can we sift out positive social changes from the ones which take us further from God’s authority? How can we lovingly encourage others to do so as well?

I understand that God is above all, but can people live with the other part of their lives and Christianity together? E.g. keeping in touch with aspects of their pre Christian lives. ”

Are all aspects of post-modernity wrong or off limits for Christ followers?

Pastor John pointed out that there are blind-spots in every worldview and that sometimes looking at things from another angle can help us critique our own. Pastor Brian pointed out that uncritically accepting any worldview is a bad idea. Seth had far too many things to say and stayed quiet.

Questions we didn’t get to

Some of these are very deep and will need time and care.

How does someone who has lived with shame, low sense of worth, and condemnation most of their life connect with God, especially when many of these experiences have been within church circles?

One of the positive outcomes of postmodernism is that the idea of consent has gained importance, yet it can be used to justify choosing whatever one is desiring at the time. How can we sift out positive social changes from the ones which take us further from God’s authority? How can we lovingly encourage others to do so as well?

Where does feminism fit within the Christian way of life? We’ve been brought up with the idea that the man is the head of the household but that often doesn’t fit anymore or both parents working or even one parent having to be mum AND dad. Are we independent women until we get married? How do we be christian in a feminist/postmodern thinking type world?

Lastly, an administrative question

Would it be possible for a notification email to be sent out with the topic of the main church service as well as the top shelf service? For the weeks the message is the same I’d be more inclined to top shelf but I would be discouraged from going if I arrived at the 10:30 service to find the message was the same at both.

We’re gonna work on this. Watch for a newsletter signup on the website soon.

So, discuss if you like. Enjoy.

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