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...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sermon Questions...

Yesterday's topic was, "the role of beauty in peacemaking', drawing from the story in I Samuel 25 about Nabal, David, and Abigail. Here some questions for discussion. Feel free to post your thoughts.

1. What's the danger in elevating the role of beauty as a source of that which can arrest our journey towards sin?
2. As we looked at the text yesterday, we considered the 'spiritual' aspects of beauty, such as Abigail's humility, solidarity with her husband, and boldness in telling the truth to David. Yet the text says that this woman was 'beautiful', and the context demands consideration of her physical appearance. What role, if any, does physical beauty have in arresting sin? How does the church address this?
3. It seems that the evangelical church is often somewhat disabled in this realm, exalting precepts and minimizing the pursuit of beauty. What can be done to help change our priorities?

I welcome your input on any, or all of these questions. If you missed the sermon, you can get it here starting tomorrow.


At 12/2/07 12:59, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not a trained theologist!

I thought yesterday was one of your top 10 sermons! I am a "feeler" and this sort of stuff resonates highly with me. Having just come back from Cambodia and taken fotos of kids who are amazing to look at from a standpoint of outward beauty makes me wonder how those like Pol Pot could do what they did. Children are so vulnerable and that is apparent in their eyes and expressions. Anyhow keep up the digging into issues like these for those of us that just don't have the time to devout to this kind of study.

At 26/2/07 15:17, Blogger Matt Wenman said...

Sweet Freedom and Moderation!

I think there are dangers in elevating the role of beauty as a a source of that which can arrest our journey towards sin, such as depending on beauty or intentionally (or unintentionally) looking toward beauty before Christ to turn us around, to begin the momentum in the other direction toward peace, unity, and grace than sin, slavery, and a life in the darkness. It's idolatry - quite simply put, by believing that it's anything other than Jesus himself reediming us from our sin. I try to imagine ways that I have seen this in my own life and see that I have gone through so many stages of looking towards so many other things than God for this "holy arrest". I tell my self that I just need to get outdoors soon so I can come to my senses, I look to my fiance (an amazing persona & symbol of beauty in my life), I try to read the latest "painful but good" devotional book... but none satisfies. By seeking the outdoors, find emptiness and frustration, in looking to my fiance (or other relationships before God) I get dissappointment and resentment, and in reading I feel tired and disatisfied...
Only when I seek His face in the outdoors, when I see His heart and hear His words through those closest to me, and when I ask for Him to open my heart to His movement through liturature and study do I find my hard heart, and Godless ways are brought into the light and I am gracefully lead to repentance. After all it is Him that supplies the inherant beauty in the things we find captivating.
I am reminded often of the words of Derek Webb:

"don’t teach me about politics and government
just tell me who to vote for
don’t teach me about truth and beauty
just label my music

don’t teach me how to live like a free man
just give me a new law

i don’t wanna know if the answers aren’t easy
so just bring it down from the mountain to me

i want a new law
i want a new law
gimme that new law

don’t teach me about moderation and liberty
i prefer a shot of grape juice

don’t teach me about loving my enemies

don’t teach me how to listen to the Spirit
just give me a new law

what’s the use in trading a law you can never keep
for one you can that cannot get you anything
do not be afraid
do not be afraid
do not be afraid


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