Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Making Sense of the Christian Faith

Session 6 Discussion Questions - Life Wins

1.  Why do you think people got upset when Jesus proclaimed the coming kingdom of God?  Should we be upset about it today?  Why or why not?
2.  Jesus' parable in Matthew 20:1-16 seems to suggest that in God's kingdom we are all treeated as equals - not in terms of what we deserve or what we earn, but simplhy in terms of how much God loves each and all of us.  Is that problematic, comforting, both, or something else?
3.  Why is it so important that someone who says, "I love you," also knows you?  Woyuld you trust someone's, "I love you," if you were hiding something?  What is hard about letting someone really know us?

Read Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

4.  Do you think that the younger brother is truly repentant, or is he merely rehearsing a speech that he believes will at least get him back into his father's household?  Does it matter?
5.  Can we go through life living like the father does, just forgiving everything?  Do we ever need to be older brothers?  How do we redoncile the differing reactions of the father and the older brother to the younger brother's return?
6.  How does this parable help us to understand what is going on in Jesus' cross and resurreciton?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Making Sense of the Christian Faith

Discussion Questions for Session 5 - God con Carne

1.  It is easy to think that the Bible is a little boring, because it is an ancient book and can be challenging to read.  But what happens to our understanding of the Bible when we think of it as an adventure or "wild ride," the story of a passionate God committed to saving God's beloved children?

2.  Does it matter who makes a promise?  For example, does it matter if a sales clerk or the store manager promises you a discount on an item?  Does it matter if a colleague or your boss promises you a raise?  How are promises affected by the person and the authority of the person making them?  Does this help to explain the importance the early Church put on Jesus being really and fully God?

3.  In Greek philosophy during the time of early Christians, God was sometimes described as an unfeeling, unchanging, powerful deity.  How do you think the idea of God becoming human and experiencing human feelings, pain, and hope would have played in a culture heavily influenced by Greek philosophy?  Why do you think it was important for the early Christians to argue that Jesus was truly God and fully human?

4.  What difference does it make to your faith to say that God not only knows that you exist, but understands what it's like to be you and cares very much for you?

Read John 1:1-18

5.  What are the most important details that stand out to you while reading this passage? 

6.  What claims is the author making about the Word?

7.  This passage is often read at Christmas, the Feast of the Incarnation.  Why do you think this is?

8.  How does John 1:17-18 help us understand John's story of Jesus in relation to the Old Testament story?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Making Sense of the Christian Faith

Session 4 Discussion Questions - East of Eden

1.  How do promises function in our lives?  How do they affect the future?  How does it feel to have a promise kept?  Or broken?  If God makes and keeps promises, how does that shape our sense of God's covenant?

2.  What are the most significant covenants (or promises) in your life?  How do they keep you in relationship with others and remind you of that relationship?

3.  How do our laws today reflect the Ten Commandments?  What are some current laws that help us treat our neighbor well?  What kinds of laws would better reflect God's will that we care for each other?

Review Exodus 19-20

4.  God declares Israel to be God's chosen people before giving Israel the law.  What difference does this make?

5.  Behind each "you shall not" phrase in the Old Testament is a positive value.  How would you re-write a low to express its intent in more positive terms?

6.  The Ten Commandments deal with our relationships with God and with each other and creation.  Are there any laws that seem to be missing?  Any essential relationships we would want to add today?