Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Interrupted: Week 4 {pgs. 107-136}

A few weeks ago, as I walked into church on Sunday morning, I noticed some boxes of kolaches from Krispy Kreme sitting by a group of benches outside the church. Someone had written on them in Sharpie, "Help Yourself! Happy Sunday!"

This particular grouping of benches is the spot that many of our homeless friends congregate before the service begins. They talk and have one last cigarette before coming into the worship service.

Someone thought to leave them some breakfast that week.

I nearly burst with gratitude to be a part of a community that loves others with such thoughtfulness.

As I read this section of Interrupted, with its challenging call to make the church more radiant by living the gospel, I thought of all the wonderful people at CCC who do just that. Together we can change our neighborhoods, our city, and our world. 

If you're reading Interrupted with us, I hope it is wrecking you for a life that is anything less than remarkable for God's kingdom, like it is doing for all of us in the Tuesday night group. May we see all the places we can touch God's heart by pouring out His love in the lives of others. May the become our favorite place to live, and the longer we spend considering His great affection for the poor and broken, the more we desire to love and serve.

Long live the gospel. May our love cause the church to shine forth in glory.

Reading for next week: Finish the book! Woohoo!!

Interrupted: Week 4 {pgs. 107-136}

general summary:
In this section of the book, the Hatmakers’ new dream of missionally driven kingdom-based life becomes a reality. They leave the comfort of a stable position at a church and try to figure out what God wants them to do next, exactly. Eventually, desperate prayers and faith lead them to planting a church with a missional, post-modern strategy.

Excerpts to discuss/ Discussion questions:

“On a Need to Know Basis”
{from p. 111} “Since we couldn’t rely on our default responses- planning, organizing, mobilizing, controlling- we did the only thing left: We prayed like crazy people…. I hate that place and love it- depends on the day. There is freedom in not being in control, when something utterly imagined by God is coming for you. It’s exciting, sort of awful. It felt as if we were on the precipice of a violent waterfall and out raft had gotten sideways. My instincts told me to bail, but this was the most crucial moment to stay the course.”

Have you ever been in a situation like this? Has prayer ever been not a last resort for you, but your only tool to deal with a crisis or a change? How does one discern the difference between your instincts and Godly wisdom?

{from p. 114} “There are hot controversies about the true Church. What constitutes it, what is essential to it?....Does a church preach the gospel to the poor- preach it effectively? Does it convert and sanctify the people?.... If not, we need not take the trouble of asking any more questions about it. It has missed the main matter…. Friends of Jesus, the Gospel is committed to your trust…. You are to dig for diamonds amid the ruins of fallen humanity, and polish them up for jewels in the crown of your Redeemer.. The church edifice is your workshop.”

“Ignorance is not Bliss”
{p. 122} “Does our duplicitous representation of Jesus not only assault Him but also offend the rest of the world? Is this partly why the church is declining in America? How could it not be? When we strike others the same day we fast, we bring no integrity to the gospel. Unbelievers may not understand the nuances of our theology, but they know paying empty lip service to God is repulsive....”

Has your own cultural view of church shifted over time like it did for Jen? How does the gospel play a part in your own involvement in the Church?

“A Modern Mess”
{p. 123} “Our modern ideas include:
  • More education creates a moral society
  • We make decisions if they make logical sense
  • All knowledge is reachable via the mind
  • We can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps
  • People can only trust what is proven through observation and experimentation
  • Modernity deeply values security and protection
  • Influence is obtained through institutions, through structures and positioning. The higher up in the structure, the more power you have because modern people respect position.
  • The needs of the individual supercede the needs of the community..”

“Turn and Face the Strain, Ch-Ch-Changes”

For many postmoderns, the prominence of the individual is diminished. They say the personal pursuit of happiness should no longer be supreme; rather, the betterment of the community is a dominant value. Other variances of postmodernity:
  • Rationalism doesn’t make a better society.
  • Deconstruction reigns; there is no absolute truth that undergirds all of life.
  • Everyone’s story is part of a bigger narrative.
  • Postmoderns ask questions and challenge the status quo.
  • Postmoderns have a global outlook in terms of responsibility for the ecology of the earth and its inhabitants.
  • SInce most postmoderns do not believe in absolute truth, judging is preposterous.
  • Postmoderns are marked by a deep skepticism, and the twin ideas of power and control are repulsive.
  • Answers to life’s questions are never simple or simply reduced. Postmoderns believe life is messy, not easily dissected or understood.

Discuss modernism vs. postmodernism. Where do you feel your own beliefs lie, more modern or postmodern? How do you feel these worldviews affect us personally, as families, in the workplace, as a church?

“Mission Possible”

{from page 130} “Is this the kind of fasting I have chosen; to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? (Isaiah 58:6) This sounds like the postmodern rejection of individualism for community. Responsibility for each other is the first description of the fast God requires: abstinence from selfishness, greed, and egotism. Discipleship is not a personal journey with a few links to community; it exists to spur one another on toward liberation and execute justice for those too trapped to free themselves.”

{from page 131} “Church simply provides a nice context for us to live on mission together. It’s not about your church and how it is thrilling or failing you. Rather, what kind of bride are you helping to prepare? With the glorious addition of you and your gifts, is she becoming radiant?”

How much do you see yourself as personally responsible for the greater community of God’s kingdom?

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