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Mature Disicpleship

This Sunday I am preaching with the above heading.  It seemed like a good idea at the time!

Trouble is, whilst there is a lot that could be said, I'm not sure just how helpful any of it is.  On the one hand, I have a majority of folk in my church who are good, clear thinkers, accustomed to wrestling with complex ideas and the apparent discontinuities within a text.  On the other, I have some folk who tend towards Biblicism, the elevation of scripture over that which it reveals, the temptation to quote verses out of context and to ignore those that say something other than what they want to hear.

I think the direction I will take will endeavour to consider

  • our attitude to scripture - how we read and interpret it
  • our atttitude to so-called secular knowledge such as science, social science, humanties- how we read and interpret that
  • the complexity of life today which involves issues and insights that the ancients would never had imagined might arise.
  • the contradictions and comprosmises we all live with and the need for continued gorwth towards maturity.

So, for anyone who fancies a bit of homework, or a bit of engagment with their own understanding here's a 'little' exercise for you!

Read the 10 Commandents (Exodus 20:1 - 17) and then ponder the following questions (I am playing advocate to the dark side for this, it doesn't necessarily reflect anything I think)...

  • If we are to have no other gods before Yahweh, does that mean polytheism is permissable provided this hierarchy is accepted?
  • If images are prohibited, why do so many Christians have homes full of pictures, photographs and ornaments?
  • If Sabbath work is prohibited, why are Christians are happy to read the Monday newspaper (printed on a Sunday) and/or to watch 'Songs of Praise'?
  • If killing is prohibited, why do some Christians advocate capital punishment, specifically that undertaken by professional executionwers who are in no way related to the 'eye for an eye' limit of ancient times?
  • What does it mean to honour one's parents?  And what constitutes a long life?
  • Is adultery simply to be undertsood as sexual infidelity or are there other forms of infidelity that breach covenant of marriage?
  • Who never told a lie?  Or coveted something someone else had?  If we say we have not done the latter does that demonstrate we have done the former?
  • What do we do when we find other passages of scripture that seem to contradict any of the commandments?  Who/what 'trumps' whom/what?

OK, that's more than enough to be going on with.

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