Jesus; the Sum, the Center

“Jesus is both the sum and center of our Christian faith. In a conversation I was privileged to have with noted theologian Dr. David Wells, he made mention of a very insightful fact. Unlike most religions, Christianity has no place, language, race, or culture that serves as a center to hold it together. Christians share no worldwide headquarters, no common language, no common race or ethnic heritage, and no common framework. The only thing that holds all of Christianity together is the risen Lord Jesus Christ who is alive today.”

Mark Driscoll
Vintage Jesus pg 200 –

Wether you Eat or Drink…

 

I recently heard someone preach on the verse: “whether you eat or you drink, do it all for the glory of God..” (1 Cor 10:31). The preacher went on to say that as Christians we sometimes “dichotomize” our lives. We’ve got the “secular” part of life: being with friends, going out, doing laundry, whatever. And then the “religious (or spiritual)” part of life where we go to church, we have our devotionals, we pray, we seek God. Rightly so, his point was that “dichotomized Christianity” doesn’t really exist.

This is a concept I’ve been thinking and wrestling with a lot over the last few weeks. Most might say that the subject and focus of this verse is “you.” That is true, but let me take it further and add to it.

I want to point out that the end all, the purpose, the goal, the highlight is not about what “you” (and me) are doing… but its about the Glory of God. This tells me much about God’s character, He’s interested in the ‘fine print’ of life. Ever read the Bible and get to a genealogy? Those are kind of boring, but they remind me of God’s attention to detail; to me and you those names mean nothing! But God see’s them and smiles because he knows everything about them.

God’s not so big and great and awesome that he only cares about the “important things” in life, but he’s so big, great and awesome because he see’s and cares about every little thing in every person’s life, that ever existed and ever will. In fact, the day he called Abraham he knew that I would be writing this note today. The day of the flood, he knew that you would be reading this note.

So wether I eat, or I drink, I’ll glorify God because He knows that I’m eating and drinking. But it doesn’t end there. Romans 8:28-29 says that all things work together for the good for those who love God and are called for his purpose. Everything includes the small things…. my conception of this is that God allows EVERYthing to happen so that they become an opportunity for the good, which is to be more like Jesus. It comes down to this: when you pray for more faith, will God just give you faith or will he give you an opportunity to have faith? Or maybe your dealing with patience, like most of us who like to be in control of time. Maybe you can figure that one out and let me know.

I wish I had a proper conclusion to this, luckily its not something I’m graded on… but Jonathan Edwards, an 18th century preacher said “the chief ends of man is to Glorify God; BY enjoying Him.” When all is said and done, all our unpleasant circumstances will still remain unpleasant no matter how much “Christian jargon” we add to it. BUT, there is a peace when we realize that, whether we eat or drink, whatever we do… we can glorify God, because while you are doing your thing, God see’s, he knows, he hears, and he’s setting you up, not to fail, but to succeed in becoming more like him.

Postmodernism and the like

Book: Postmodern Youth Ministry
Author: Tony Jones

This book nothing more of a tool that helps many youth workers understand today’s culture, based on the ever present era known as “postmodernism.”

Among the many definitions, in my opinion postmodernism cannot have an absolute definition because times, lifestyles, subcultures and mindsets are constantly changing (which if you already know something about postmodernism you know that this statement is quite ironic).

There is so much we can say about postmodernism but let me stick to the basics and attempt to define it.

Firstly, we need to understand that postmodernism is a cultural shift that evolved from the era of modern thinking (hence the name POSTmodern).
Here is a list of important “postmodern credos” that will help us with communicating in the world of postmodern cultural patterns and thought processes:

1>Deconstruction: in basic terms, is a movement that questions everything, which includes traditional beliefs and assumptions on certainty, identity and truth. So nothing escapes questioning. As the author states: “skepticism and cynicism rule the day.”

2> objectivity is out, subjectivity is in: No one can have an objective viewpoint because everyone has one point of view.
The author gives a good tip here for youth workers: always preface your opinion with a description of you: “i’m a 21 y/o christian Euro white male living in North America at the turn of the 21st century”

3>There is no absolute truth! Everything is relative. What might be truth to me might not be truth to you, unless of course my truth is an exclusive one, that’s when it’s not true.

4> Tell stories. According to the author, stories are the best way to carry meaning when communication. One author calls this “abductive reasoning” because your abducting listeners from their world into your world.

This being the incomplete list of credos for postmodern thinkers, here are some practical values that will help shed light on the affects of postmodernism:

1. Experiential: Instead of just hearing of things, people want to experience them. Interactive video games is a huge industry today for highschoolers. And high adventure vacations are a huge hit with the post-college crowd.

2. Spiritual: Spirituality is in. Ever hear of yoga? Of course you have. Religious themes “permeate our culture.”

3. pluralism: you can be spiritual without believing in God.

4. Relativism: as mentioned earlier. Students find Christianity’s claim of exclusivity the most difficult to swallow.

5. Community: The postmodern interest in community is evident due to all the wonderful reality tv shows such as: the real world, road rules, survivor, big brother and many more.

6.Creativity: the arts: “beauty for beauty’s sake” is regarded as valuable.

7. Environmental: Global warming is a huge issue. The world is concerned about the planet and its future. College campuses are giving “earth day” an official holiday.

8. Global: Students are now considering themselves citizens of the world. The start of this was when we landed on the moon. The internet strengthens this standpoint.

9. Holistic: Every part of your life is interconnected. This is why integrity is so important. If your a christian in the church, be a christian in the home and the work place.

10. Authenticity: People want the real meaning. The entire meaning. The whole Bible must be preached. This is why expository preaching is so important in today’s world. People want to know what it’s really saying! No more surface sermons on topics we’ve all heard before!!!

I know there is much more that I can add to this definition. But let me conclude.

In my opinion, much can be found in the Bible. For example, among the many skeptics in the Bible, one most notably we should consider is the one and only doctor and gospel writer: Luke. His opening words in his account of the Gospel is:

“Though many had already written a narrative about what happened, and even eyewitnesses were involved, it seemed good to me to follow things closely for some time so that I can also write an account of what happened so that you(Theopholus) can have an accurate account of what needs to be taught.” Luke 1:1-4 (My version).

Is this postmodern movement bad news for Christianity? Maybe. But maybe not. In agreement with the author, we must be aware of these cultural shifts but not necessarily blindly adopt each characteristic. Lets be learners of this culture, just as Paul, Peter, John and Jesus were so that we can be affective communicators, writers, preachers, and leaders wherever we are.

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