Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Notes for session 1 - ethics series

if you missed the class tonight and want the notes... here they are. If you don't know what I'm talking about - don't worry.

July 2006 – Summer Series -

Although the scribes could explain where the Messiah should be born, they remained quite unperturbed in Jerusalem. They did not accompany the Wise Men to seek him. Similarly we may be able to explain every article of our faith, yet remain spiritually motionless. The power that moved heaven and earth leaves us completely unmoved.

What a contrast! The three kings had only a rumor to go by. But it spurred them to set out a long, hard journey. The scribes, meanwhile, were much better informed, much better versed. They had sat and studied the scriptures for years, like so many dons. But it didn’t make any difference. Who had the more truth? Those who followed a rumor, or those who remained sitting, satisfied with all their knowledge? – the FAITH, the SEEKING OF JESUS… must change the way we live!! Otherwise it’s a sham. Søren Kierkegaard

I. The Value of Ethics –

  1. truth brought to the earth
    1. the incarnation of Jesus – John 1:14
    2. the carrying on of his Incarnation – John 14:12
    3. the priority of practice – James 1 – Matt. 10:42 – illus: either/or orthodoxy or orthopraxy
  2. lives blessed and transformed
    1. Luke 4:18; Luke 7:22; Matthew 25:34 – app: call to action, service, blessing

II. The challenge of Ethics –

  1. the source of authority has contexts –
    1. Old Testament theocracy –
    2. New Testament: powerless sojourners
    3. Historical illustrations across the spectrum – Augustine, “City of God”, Byzantium, early martyrs, Wilberforce, Bonhoeffer.

  1. The privatization of faith
    1. with respect to culture -
    2. with respect to our own community
    3. application: without community responsibilities, the ethics of Jesus become far less compelling

  1. The separation of Christ from Ethic – Matthew 7

III. The strategy –

1. an alternative community

2. building fences not walls

3. recognizing evolution

4. holding firmly to truth – including the truths of grace and humility


    1. recall a time when you’ve been impressed by an action carried out ‘in the name of Jesus’
    2. give an example of how Jesus’ vision for life on our planet is different than the life most people live
    3. describe a time when a wall has divided you from people of faith
    4. of the ethical issues we’re discussing (religion, politics, sex, art) – which one interests you most? Why?


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