Elect Exiles: 1 Peter from The Village Church

The Village Church has just started a 4 week sermon series on 1 Peter. Here is the first sermon. 

The first 40 minutes less preaching and more of an extended commentary on changes in the culture that we live. It’s really a kind of introduction for the next 3 weeks. Very insightful. And a reminder of why the letter of 1 Peter is so important for Christians today.

Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be serious and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13

Are Christians our own worst enemy??

Today I had the privilege of being a part of a Q & A session at a high school Christian lunch time group. On any given week the group is usually about 30 kids. Today it was 45. It’s an unusual group because about half of the 30 regulars are not Christians. Obviously the Christian were out numbered today.

A few months ago the group set up a board in the school asking students to complete the following – “My biggest problem with Christianity is…”

Over the last few months the leader of the lunch time group has set out to address the issues people have. Today’s challenge was to answer the question of what Christianity has to say about homosexuality. It was a tough gig but very worth while I think.

Something that really hit me as I was listening to their objections, was the way they were very quick to attack what the Bible says, without actually knowing what the Bible says. Of course Leviticus was mentioned more times than I could count, but there was a complete ignorance to anything else the Bible has to say about homosexuality, or in fact, any kind of sexuality. There were some genuinely shocked faces when I said the Bible has lots to say about sex.

But I don’t really blame them. I suspect they are repeating the only info they’ve ever heard about the Bible and homosexuality. A week ago I meet with a teenaged Christian girl to think about these same issues. When I asked her “why does the Bible say homosexuality is wrong” she had a hard time answering. Eventually she said “I don’t know, all I know is that the Bible says its wrong”.

I’ll admit I’m kinda thinking out loud, but I feel like this is our fault, for having the wrong conversation for so many years. We need to not talk about the fact that the Bible says its wrong (cause everyone knows that anyway) and instead talk about the presuppositions that sit behind the conversation. For example, some things I noticed that all the students today assumed are – all desire is good, sex is a right for every person, and sexuality is integral to identity. The Bible has a lot to say about these 3 assumptions and without addressing them, anything the Bible says about homosexuality makes no sense.

I think unless we start moving the conversation we are our own worst enemy. What do you think?

What put the fear of God into these kids????

I went to lunch today with a friend of mine and she told me about an article that she had read in a magazine. The article is titled ‘What put the fear of God into these kids?’ and tells of churches in the US who, each year in the lead up to Halloween, run what is known as a hell house or judgement houses. Inside these ‘houses’ which are usually demountable classrooms set up to look like an old haunted house, actors (usually members of the church) reenact scenes of a school massacre, abortion, date rape, suicide, child molestation, drink driving accidents and in previous years a scene of a gay man dying of AIDS. The scenes are acted several times a night for group of up to 20 children, often as young as 11. All these scenes are narrated by ‘the devil’ – who wears a mask and a black cloak and hood, much like the grim reaper. The final scene ends with a message from a pastor of the church – “There’s only one way to heaven and thats if you have a relationship with Jesus. You must make your choice.”

The article showed pictures of a number of these scenes – these pictures being what stunned my friend the most. She was horrified. Her thoughts are that sending kids to see this amounts to child abuse and that if she didn’t know me she would think that all Christians were like this and she would never have anything to do with them. She also, wisely, said “there are bad things in this world and sometimes they happen to good people. Surely being a Christian doesn’t mean you will never be the victim of child molestation or date rape, so isn’t it just a lie to say that you make the choice of one or the other??”
I praise God for the conversation I was able to have with her because of this.
I’d be interesting in other people’s thoughts on these hell houses.