Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Get to 'amazing'

Letter to my minister:

When you talked about the basic element of the Bible, I thought of the Shema: almost right, but I liked your reliance on Genesis 1:1. The basic teaching here is that 'base' reality is personal; or rather personhood is basic to and the source of reality, explicated in the subsequent verses. We live in a thoroughly materialistic intellectual environment with inevitable overlays of post-modernity (the great reaction to a materialist conception). Contemporary neo-paganistic 'self-ism' is the response to its futility.

Your words about communicating our faith reminded me of being urged as a young Christian in the late 60s to 'tell my friends about Christ'. without any guidance whatsoever. Most attempts ended in a shambles as I had no way of connecting my 'church world' to their everyday world.

I think a Christian needs to be able to cogently answer three questions and have three answers; an arresting 'elevator pitch', a longer 'coffee shop' response, and a fulsome conversation maker.

The three questions are:
  1. Why do you go to church/what's church about/what's in it for you?
  2. Why do you read the Bible?
  3. Why are you a Christian?
There are three types of answer:
  1. the objective
  2. the 'what's in it for me' and
  3. the teleological
But all answers should be able to lead to:
  • the reliability of the Biblical text and its content,
  • that it truly speaks about the reality of human life and experience/the dilemma of evil and its frustrations, and
  • that it is true.

The end game is to get to two crucial matters: why we have excellent grounds to believe God is, and excellent grounds to accept that the resurrection occurred and Jesus is who he said he was.

I was, when I was baptised, urged to 'bring people to Christ'. Pretty hard for a 12 year old to comprehend, but what we need to do is equip people to have conversations about faith that 'put a pebble in the shoe' of our listener. Not a log in their path, or a cliff ahead, but a grain of challenge to their worldview. If every Christian in Oz could do this....amazing!

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