Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jesus' Main Themes

Sunday's topic was "The Main Themes of Jesus' Teaching."

Here are some of the questions we discussed and some of the answers we came up with:

1. What are the main issues or topics that the church seems to be concerned with?
  • abortion
  • gay marriage
  • role of women
  • individual salvation
  • authority
  • conformity
  • correct doctrine
  • sin

2. What are the big problems our world is facing?
  • hunger
  • poverty
  • war
  • disease
  • homelessness
  • environmental issues
  • persecution
  • prejudice
  • oppressive or corrupt governments

The point of these first two questions is to examine the relevance of the church. I'm not saying the issues in #1 aren't important. But if the church is to be God's agent in the world, shouldn't we be concerned with all issues that impact our world?

3. What issues did Jesus address most in his teaching?
  • God as Father
  • God's Kingdom
  • Ethics
  • Love
  • Forgiveness
  • The poor
  • Prayer
  • Repentance
All of these reflect our central Scripture passage for the evening--what we refer to as the Great Commandment. In Jewish culture, it is part of the Shema, the most important prayer in Judaism. The commandment is found in Deuteronomy 6:1-9, Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-34, and Luke 10:25-27

4. What did Jesus say and do that was so radical?

He challenged the religious status quo. He said that it's not about you, it's about God and other people. He taught about grace rather than the law. He emphasized communal living, caring for one another, rather than focusing on individual spirituality. He taught about bringing the Kingdom of God to earth, not just about getting to heaven when we die.

For Jesus, the bottom line was to love God and love people. Everything else is secondary to that. Being focused on the things Jesus was concerned with will help us make sure we are addressing the right problems in our world, rather than getting caught up in things that we may think are important but don't move us closer to loving God and loving people.

Question to think about:
What does it look like for us--the Convergence community--to love God and love people? If we're called to specifically love and support artists, how are we doing at that? How can we do better?

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