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Posts Tagged ‘bible’

When I interned at Heifer International, one of the first things my supervisor taught me was to tell stories. He said that we could talk about poverty theory, infant mortality rates, and development statistics until we were blue in the face, but until we connected with a donor’s compassion, it was all useless. This wasn’t meant to be a manipulative, money-grubbing tactic; it was a truth about the heart versus the head. If we think in abstractions, our rationality can turn cold and unkind. A human being with a face and a name and a life is necessary to change the discussion. So that’s what I’m going to try to do in this post, except not about poverty or hunger. I am going to try to witness to the look in my friend’s eyes at a youth conference this weekend.

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Easter Women

As a young woman, it can be hard to find role models in the Bible. Eve brought sin into the world, Rebekah taught her son to steal, Rachel and Leah fought like cats, and Delilah took Sampson’s strength. One of the two women who has a book named after her, Esther, is only important because of her amazing beauty. Self-sacrificing Ruth and valiant Deborah are rare female lights in the Old Testament.

The New Testament is a bit better. Virgin Mary teaches us to obey God’s Will, no matter what the price. Elizabeth is a trusting servant to God and a guide to her young cousin. But I think the finest biblical women are the ones who made Easter possible. Imagine if Mary and Joanna had recanted. If, when faced with doubt and humiliation from the Apostles, they had given up evangelizing, there may never have been a Christian church. Instead of waffling, they spoke what they believed with conviction. They refused to be passive because they knew their faith was true.

That’s an example for all of us to follow.

Happy Easter! Christ is risen!

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Maybe it’s a sign that we’re all drawn to God when every class I take ends up talking about Christianity. This semester, I’m in Colonial African History. Missionaries play a starring role. My professor started today by asking for volunteers. A few of us accepted like lambs to the slaughter. She told us to pretend the rest of the class were Africans who had never heard of Jesus or the one God or church before. Then she asked to answer this question for them: who is Jesus?

A well-spoken Jewish guy went up first. He drew the Cross on the chalkboard. “Jesus died on the Cross… for us,” he muttered. The next girl added the word ‘Jesus’ and said that dying on a cross is a horrible way to die. I went up next, suddenly wishing I had gone to seminary before undergrad. “Jesus is the Son of God, who God sent to teach us how to live.” Far from satisfactory, I know, but the class is only 50 minutes long. I couldn’t very well give a sermon.

“So Jesus is God’s son?” The prof asked and I put my face in my hands.

“Well, that’s getting into the Trinity.” I blushed. Another guy came to the front. He drew the familiar three circles of the Trinity and put ‘God’ at the top. The chalkboard looked about as confused as us.

“So if Jesus has a father, does Jesus have a mother?” The professor asked.

“Well, yea, Mary.” I said. Trinity Guy drew a stick-woman and wrote ‘no sex’ next to her.

The last volunteer, a guy, opened his palms like a book. “This is the Bible,” he said. “Everything in it is right and if you disagree it, well, then you’re wrong. And it’s from God.”

“Ah,” said my professor. “So there’s this Bible thing, too.”

We sat down and the professor wrote ‘Bible’ in big letters on the board, then put a box around it. We looked at our board, filled with circles and lines and words. It looked like we’d made this stuff up off the top of our heads. It made no sense.

“Now try and give ’em Communion,” shouted one girl from the back. We burst into self-deprecating laughter.

“I’m an Episcopalian,” the prof said. “But now you know why Africans thought we were the superstitious ones.”

I’ll let you reflect on this day yourself. Good stuff, though, isn’t it?

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On Thursday I left you with this question: is it okay for Christian students to drink? Especially Methodist students, since our Book of Discipline opposes drinking. Like a good liberal arts student, I propose we first establish our parameters for deciding the issue.

 

1) Does the Bible prohibit recreational drinking? does the amount of alcohol matter?

2) Did Wesley prohibit recreational drinking and why?

3) What are the implications of rejecting the Book of Discipline in this case?

4) If there are restrictions on alcohol, do they apply to everyone or just Christians? (more…)

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