Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sermon for this week

As usual, this week's offering is on the New Kid Deep Stuff page, here's a taster, click on [more] for the rest!

Trinity 12 (2001) Year C RCL Principal

Practical Spirituality

If I had 5p for every time someone told me that ‘Christianity is boring’ – I’d be at least two pounds better off by now!! It’s a common misunderstanding. People confuse the trappings of the Christian Church – whether it’s smells and bells, or guitars and choruses, with the Christian Faith – and if they don’t like the way things are done, then obviously the Church is boring.

But the Christian Faith is certainly not boring. And in fact, if you ever get into a conversation with someone about faith then it will usually emerge that people find Jesus, the founder of our faith, fascinating. They just seem to be able to separate Jesus and Christianity – and the latter is given the label boring.

The Christian Faith, however, is (or perhaps we should say the Christian Faith should be) exciting, challenging and disturbing. Exciting because our faith comes from Jesus, the son of God and Son of Man, the holy one, the Messiah – who showed us how we are truly meant to live, challenging because this same Jesus never lets us rest on our laurels, but constantly calls us on to new and different things, and disturbing because Christian Faith can turn our world upside-down and make us think, even make us change so we become more like Jesus ourselves. [more]


The Gatekeeper said...

You're a wise man, my Brother! I have been a Christian all my life . . . well . . . actually I came to know the Lord for myself at age 18. Before that I was just the Preacher's kid. In any case, I have never known the Christian faith to be boring. Not for one minute. I wish I could write those little golden nuggets of wisdom the way you do. Keep writing.

Nick said...

In my experience, people I come across tend to perceive Christianity less boring and more oppressive. It's not helped by the current global political climate. I used to get it a lot at school... my peers slowly hardened their hearts and turned against the religion they thought was being forced on to them.

In some ways maybe they were right. I don't think you can educate people in matters of faith by quite the same means as you would teach a normal school subject. Learning bible stories and teachings only goes so far... and if it is only remembered in the mind then it has failed utterly. It has to make it to the heart... for faith is not a matter of memorizing data. It is about perceiving and understanding the truth... and allowing that truth to motivate your actions.

If you look at the world, you see what it doesn't have and what it tries to recreate. How many people class themselves as "spiritual but not religious" i.e they want the experiences that come with spirituality... but not the name tag.

When teaching other people about Christ, we need to do it in a way that encourages them to engage with the Godhead... not just a manner that has them sitting back and writing notes.

It is risky... but I believe we need to be bold.

I a;ways remember at school when we went on retreat... my peers WERE at that time filled with zeal... because their belief had been given to them in a way that encouraged them to reciprocate.

Saul was definitely among the prophets on that day!

jeff said...

I was gonna read your post but it was too boring. I kid, I kid.

John 3:8--those who are born of the Spirit are like the wind. The institutionalized church is to blame for some of the perception of boredom because we don't let people live the exciting adventurous life of faith. instead we tell them what to do about everything and use judgmental attitudes to take away all fun, which is why the world accuses us of boredom.

It's not really an issue of whether it's boring or not, it's an issue of knowledge. I know people who say baseball is boring, I think it's captivating. But I think taht cuz I know what I'm talking about with baseball. The same is true of Christianity. If you're in it and well-informed, it's an adventure, from the outside though, it just looks like rules to end your fun.

Nick said...

Which is what I was getting at Jeff.

You can't teach a living faith like any other subject. It is not about facts and data that needs to memorised. It needs to be something active and alive.

You could answer a mutltiple choice exam sheet perfectly, or write a theologically impressive thesis. However if that cerebral knowledge does not become "heart knowledge" it is of little or no benefit. It's just clashing gongs... not just to us... but to others who hear it.

Love has to be behind everything we say.

jeff said...
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Dr.John said...

Another great sermon. I really missed them when you were on vacation. The Church is exciting even when a congregation is not.

Marion said...

So glad these sermons are back, Alastair...I missed them while you were away!

ronnie said...

spirituality should always be practical!