Tag Archives: elephant in the room

The Elephant in the Room – Week 2 Text Messages & Notes

Continuing our Jacob’s Well series on “The Elephant in the Room.”

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Here are the text messages and notes people sent in during the service yesterday (11/17). See the input from last week’s service here. Leave comments or more ‘elephants’ below.

  • Is the Bible to be taken as literal truth or parable stories to learn from?
  • The entire book of Revelation x2; do we apply it today?
  • How does the Bible fit into today’s world – in whole or in part?
  • Do you need to be SMART to interpret the bible or ACCEPTING?
  • Heaven and hell – can we take it literally that it exists? Is there a heaven?
  • Justin mentions the bible was written by goat herders. What about revisions (with bias) made overtime by monks/priests through handwritten translation?
  • Since the bible is written by “man” is it ok to view the bible as flawed as “man” is flawed?
  • Are you unchristian if you have sex before marriage? Even when ur young?
  • Is it our job to evangelize or lead by example?
  • Is there only one religion of god (Christianity? Related: Is Jesus the only “son” of god?)
  • Can Christianity exclude anyone (x2), and if it did, is it still Christianity?
  • Is Atheism bad?
  • If I tell someone I’m a Christian, it associates me with a lot of people I don’t like. How do I deal with that?
  • How to reconcile what the Bible teaches about Jesus being THE only way into God’s kingdom and a personal belief or conviction that people outside of Christianity are welcome, too?
  • Christians can’t “accept” other faiths/religions as full truth as well.
  • Why do people feel a need to tell others that they are wrong?
  • If God created everything – both good and bad – it’s my belief that then everything is for a reason. With that said, what is the reason that there is such a divide in the Christian faith? Are those with another opinion of God wrong? Is there a wrong? If not how do I deal with those that call themselves Christian, but don’t align with what I believe God is?
  • I have a hard time truly grasping that Jesus was truly the son of God…really? And came back to life? Really? I sometimes wonder if I can really be Christian if I struggle to believe this.
  • Why is it necessary to define oneself as a Christian? And how does the culture of worship interfere with Truth?
  • Did Jesus become the son of God? What if God is a human construct and what is wrong with that?
  • How did god impregnate Mary from heaven?? How is Jesus the son of god if Mary and god didn’t actually have sex? I’m confused.
  • How is Jesus’ death and resurrection any less “fantastical” than old testament stories that work best as a metaphor?
  • If Jesus was born Christ, isn’t it impossible to be life him? If he became Christ, the shouldn’t we expect ourselves to live better lives. If god is all that is, isn’t god more like quantum physics? How do you love quantum physics?
  • So many wonderful questions, so little time. Thank you for the chance to wrestle with them so openly. I’ve wondered why we don’t talk about the Holy Spirit more here. I could talk about/listen about Jesus & God forever, but I’m not sure what to think about the Holy Spirit. Such a minor point, really, but it keeps niggling at me…P.S. I find it easier actually to be loved by the stars in the sky?
  • Why do good Christians have to suffer in health areas? What is God’s purpose in sickness?
  • Disease. Famine.
  • Why do bad things happen? Suffering, war, hunger…
  • I don’t understand war! It’s been around since the beginning. What does it ever prove?
  • Why do the people with the least often receive more than their fair share of hardship? (i.e., Philippines)
  • Why does God allow for so much suffering in the world?
  • Sometimes love and grace can be so big that sin and injustice almost become irrelevant. What the hell happens with Hitler?
  • Why do bad things happen if god can control almost everything?
  • Who goes to heaven, the afterlife or whatever it is after the death of the body. What about your Jewish, Muslim, Atheist friends
  • We don’t pray together every day. If I don’t pray in the morning or evening I feel undisciplined and not a good Christian.
  • I wrestle with my sins in Galatians Chapter 5: 13-15. Will we be forgiven for our sins? Or not?
  • Hearing God’s voice – how to decipher it it’s God.
  • I’ve been spiritual and in tune to God up until now. Now, in middle age God is completely gone to me. I’m pretty much a non-believer. Why would God “go?”

Thanks for all the thoughtful and honest questions. We responded in some way to many of them, but certainly can’t say we resolved them all. That is a lifelong task. My hope isn’t to answer them all, but to let everyone know that questions and doubts are healthy. They can build faith. They are dangerous, not when they are thought, but when they are buried away.

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The Elephant in the Room – Week 1 Text Messages

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Our community, Jacob’s Well, just started a focus for the next 3 weeks today entitled, “The Elephant in the Room.” We figure to be a healthy community we need to openly and honestly deal with them from time to time. We don’t expect to all agree about them or to resolve them all, but they really do lose their negative power over us when we do this.This week was called “The Rules are Dead. ALL of Them.” It was about… rules! You know, all those things people think they have to, or wonder if they need to do to be “Good Christians.” My take is that Jesus made it pretty clear that it isn’t about the rules, it’s about relationships. Relationships that free us to be who we really are, but tie us with bonds of responsibility.

The service was pretty conversational. Thanks to a couple of people who helped me talk about this complicated topic, Melissa Lock and Thaddeus Lesiak, and all the people who shared texts for us to add their thoughts and questions about “good Christian” rules. Here are some of them:

The Y’s and N’s were to these 3 questions:

1. Is God a God of rules?

2. Is the church a church of rules?

3. Is Jacob’s Well a community of rules?

TEXTS

  • 1. Y&N (God has expectations) 2. Some more than others. 3. N
  • Y, Y & N    3. JW has Guidelines, not rules. 1. God have us 10 commandments which are our rules. 2. Traditional Church is littered with Man’s arbitrary rules to ensure order and compliance.
  • Having to attend church on Sunday.
  • Rule: Everything in the bible is real and I must follow all those rules. Question: isn’t that ridiculous?
  • How can we know that our God is THE god?
  • What does “no one comes to the Father but by me?” Not a rule?
  • Do you have to give money to the church? They didn’t answer the question about giving money to the church. 🙂
  • “Real Christians vote Republican” versus “Democrats know what Christ’s love is really about.” How do you address “us vs them” within Christianity? How do we connect?
  • But do you need all of that to be a church… what if “church” wasn’t even just NOT having a building, but not gathering in conventional ways (with Sunday School programs, music, etc) but meeting out in the community on Sunday mornings and reaching out to the community, serving others as Jesus would, really experiencing what GOD is, who GOD is… is there a rule that you have to meet with music, a pastor to preach a message and Sunday School for kids – for us to be a church (isn’t a “church” defined differently in the bible – where one or more meet in my name – why do we have so many “rules” about what a valid “meeting” is).
  • Answer the wallet question. We skipped it.
  • Do you have to believe in God?
  • Rule: to be a Christian you have to go to church, be kind, generous, and never say or do mean or selfish things, or make poor choices.
  • Rule: You must read/know the Bible and pray regularly.
  • I have a lot of questions! To be a Christian, you have to be ‘certain’, no doubt.