How To Preach On Culture To Exiles

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24 Responses

  1. Kevin H says:

    I commend it, too. 😉

  2. Steven says:

    Excellent.

    Thanks for sharing

  3. Michael says:

    Thanks, Steven…if evangelicals follow this lead good things can happen…

  4. Janet Linn, BrideOfChrist says:

    I really appreciated this. As a woman, and a mother of two, this really resonated with my experience. Yet .I had an ectopic pregnancy at age 28 when my husband and I were attempting to start a family. I spent week in the hospital and I had to have multiple blood transfusions, an abortion, and emergency. surgery to remove my ruptured fallopian tube where the baby ( fetus?) had attached itself. That excellent medical care saved my life and preserved my fertility -I was able to give birth twice after that initial life-threatening pregnancy. I must admit, that the realization that God” knew” this unborn being that nearly killed me, is very confusing, and very chilling to me. Why would God do that to my husband and I, who were Christians, married at Calvary Chapel? Why would he send a life to destroy my husband’s and mine? We even even waited until we were married to ‘consumate’ our marriage. As good as this pastor’s message is, it still doesn’t answer all of the questions regarding personhood and God’s will. I bring this up because this was my experience, and I have wrestled with the reality of it, and the questions surrounding this traumatic experience for many,many years.

  5. Michael says:

    BoC,

    Thank you for sharing your experience.

    These are difficult questions that refuse answer with a bible verse.
    My best guess…the one I suet maintain my sanity…is that everything is broken in a fallen world.
    Experience tells us that God doesn’t often intervene, nor is all that happens His will.

    My hope is in the redemption of all things…the only hope I have.

  6. Kevin H says:

    Janet, I’m sorry for what you had to go through and for which there are hard questions you might not even get answered this side of heaven.

    As for the sermon, I think one of the difficulties is that one only has 40 minutes as opposed to hours and hours to delve more thoroughly into the many different aspects that make up this difficult subject. In the time that he did have, I think he did a very good job addressing multiple important aspects of this issue.

    Even as your ectopic pregnancy did involve a truly real little person created by God, we also know that the child cannot survive such conditions and trying to carry out the pregnancy will likely result in the death of the mother, too. Until if and when medical technology would advance to the point where the child’s life can be saved while also not killing the mother, this is just the reality we live in. The questions of why God allows such to occur are never easily answered.

    But I think I can safely say that those who carry the cares and concerns that Pastor Kyle demonstrated would be the last ones to express any condemnation towards those who are in such situations or similar, regardless of whatever decisions are made. Nor do I think anybody could profess with certainty to perfectly know God’s will or perspective in such difficult situations like these. Some things may be unanswerable, at least completely so, for even the best.

  7. Janet Linn, BrideOfChrist says:

    Thank you for your kind comments. I also felt that the pastor’s sermon was very good – really the best I’ve heard on the subject. It was obvious that he did a lot of research and that he put much prayer and thought into his sermon. My experience certainly shows how complicated the issue is in the real , fallen world and how especially vulnerable the lives of both women and children are even in this age of advanced medical knowledge.

  8. Alan says:

    I’ve not yet engaged the sermon but just note that the issue raised by Janet is one of theodicy more than cultural engagement though the overlap is not lost on me.

    We do not draw our faith from the processes of this world and this life. We draw our faith from the crisis of the Cross. The goodness of God is not the record of the avoidance of pain we have enjoyed but it is in his coming into our pain to rescue us.

    I am pretty sure that I am on a minefield and virtually everything I write can be taken badly given the pain reflected in the above discussion nevertheless perhaps it can be received. Our desire to parent children is akin to our creator’s desire to have us as his children. God in love was willing to ‘risk’ the entry into his world of death by sin in order to realize his love. Our gospel (good news) is the proclamation of what God did to rescue his world.

    He might have dashed it to pieces and begun again – perhaps the flood hints such a sequence – but he did not. He entered into our agony. Why? That is indeed the question. It eludes us whether discussing our losses or his strange rescue action. But this much is sure. He came and he came with a force that will vindicate his strange ways.

    We do not really know at what point human life begins. Though most of us prefer to settle upon the idea of conception as that beginning. We deduce our answers by our search of scripture and reason and human experience. We do know that the author of life is for us. Our Christian faith is a defiant intention to live in hope and not despair. Christ has made that hope sure.

    We have no unambiguous answers to our complicated questions — we have him.

  9. Kevin H says:

    Alan, those are good words.

  10. Captain Kevin says:

    “We do not draw our faith from the processes of this world and this life. We draw our faith from the crisis of the Cross. The goodness of God is not the record of the avoidance of pain we have enjoyed but it is in his coming into our pain to rescue us.”

    Thank you for that, Alan.

  11. Michael says:

    Well said, Alan…thank you…

  12. Janet Linn, BrideOfChrist says:

    Luke11:12 “For if a child asks his father for an egg, will the father give him a scorpion instead?” This verse ran through my head over and over as I lie in my hospital bed: I had asked God for a baby and instead had the most painful, traumatic experience of my life. My Pastor visited me in the hospital and gave me the Bible verse Matthew 2:13 ” In Rama
    there was a voice heard’ lamentation’ and great mourning” Rachel weeping for her children and she would not be comforted, because they are not.” He was my favorite pastor, he understood my pain and he let me grieve. But God is good: he gave women TWO fallopian tubes – the one I had left allowed me to easily conceive children.This pastor later baptised my two children! I worry that women’s voices are not being heard in all this debate – and this is about women as much as it is about the unborn. Clearly, not every pregnancy is a blessing. Perhaps God allowed thus experience in my life’ for such as time as this’ and to so that I could tell my story, ad only a women can.

  13. Officerhoppy says:

    Alan and Kevin

    Gotta be honest and say I don’t know what this means: “We do not draw our faith from the processes of this world and this life. We draw our faith from the crisis of the Cross. The goodness of God is not the record of the avoidance of pain we have enjoyed but it is in his coming into our pain to rescue us.”

    Faith drawn from the crisis of the cross? Coming into our pain to rescue us?

    That sounds to me like a religious word salad. It sounds religious but what does that look like practically?

    Not challenging or arguing. Seeking understanding. I’m thick!!

  14. Michael says:

    If I may…

    Practically it means that all questions of theodicy are answered by Christ on the cross.

    It doesn’t offer much practical help.

    When we suffer we want to at least be able to track Gods hand somehow, especially when we can’t see any reality of it.

    When I had heart surgery, I did have a “peace that passes understanding”.

    This morning I have nothing but pain and raging anxiety…

  15. Officerhoppy says:

    Thanks for the response Michael

  16. Alan says:

    Word salad… ha guess that makes me Kamala Dread

    1. It is life’s anomalies and pains that unsettle us. But those do not inform or impart our faith. We draw our faith from the revelation of Jesus in the cross. Christianity is indeed foolishness to the rational mind. But it is the power of God for our salvation.

    2. The death of Christ – was according to Athanasius the proof that “He who ascended the cross is the Word of God and the Savior of the universe” Practically it meant that Jesus went into death and destroyed death thus taking from us the fear of death and the dread of it. We do not look at death and cast doubt upon God we look into death and cast ourselves upon Christ who alone can help us.

    In Hebrews 2 we read it this way… 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

    It is help when life tempts us to curse God or to reject faith.

    Furthermore, Athanasius said much about how we know Jesus is the Word of God because he vanquished all idolatry and by the sign of the cross demons took flight. He meant it as a practical reality.

    “For if, after the cross, all idolatry has been overthrown, and all demonic activity is put to flight by this sign, and Christ alone is worshipped, and through him the Father is known, and opponents are put to shame while he every day invisibly converts their souls—how then, one might reasonably ask them, is this matter still to be considered in human terms, and should one not rather confess that he who ascended the cross is the Word of God and the Savior of the universe?”

    Athanasius, Saint, Patriarch of Alexandria. On the Incarnation: Saint Athanasius (Popular Patristics Series Book 44) (p. 17). St Vladimir’s Seminary Press. Kindle Edition.

    Word salads do abound in theological literature and in the writings of the Great Tradition of our faith.

  17. Officerhoppy says:

    Thanks Alan. Still don’t make the connection.

    Your statement reminds me of the Sunday school teacher who asks her class what grey, fluffy, has a bushy tail, loves in trees and eats nuts? One little girls says “I know the answer is ‘Jesus” but it sounds like you’re describing a squirrel!

    Just sayin’

  18. Michael says:

    “But those do not inform or impart our faith. We draw our faith from the revelation of Jesus in the cross.”

    Agreed.

    That does not solve the problem of temporal pain untouched by Bible “promises”, but it is the reason why we have faith despite the tension.

  19. Officerhoppy says:

    Thanks Michael. Makes sense

  20. Alan says:

    The problem of temporal pain is touched not by promises but by the living presence of Him who gave himself for us in order to give himself to us.

    We endure all things by his living presence. He is actually with us – experientially present.

  21. Michael says:

    Alan,

    I agree…with the caveat that His presence is usually mediated by humans acting on His behalf…or sometimes…cats…

    I have no special sense of the presence of God in this current trial, but I see Him in those who have reached out to help as they can…

  22. Alan says:

    Michael

    Please understand — I cannot live without that conscious experiential presence of Him by his Spirit. That is my life.

    It is what has made Eucharistic theology easy to embrace after years of incoherence.

  23. Michael says:

    Alan,

    I have no doubt that your experience of the presence of God is real and valid.

    But, as I told Linn…one size does not fit all and God raises all of His kids differently.

    I rejoice at anything that holds people in the faith with Him…

  24. Alan says:

    Michael

    Your experience redounds to make you a great pastor, an empathetic friend and a fierce advocate.

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