Have you ever struggled with the tension between generosity and greed? What was your experience with that struggle?
McLaren writes on p 119
Fundamentalist religious movements . . . take words spoken five hundred or fourteen hundred or two thousand . . . years ago and apply them, sharia-style, as if they were intended to serve as today’s annotated legal code, today’s constitution, today’s how to manual. They underestimate how the original words and teachings were rooted in gritty contemporary problems and human social contexts; instead, they see their sacred texts as timeless, placeless utterances coming from an arid, Platonic plan of universal abstractions.
How do you react to McLaren’s assertion about how fundamentalist have abused sacred texts?
Have you experienced religious people abusing sacred texts?
How do you think this kind of abuse can be overcome?
How can we help everyday Christians learn to read the Bible correctly?
And by that I mean “we must carefully seek to determine not just what Jesus said, but what he meant, and how he would have been heard by his original hearers. Only then can we venture to explore what his original meaning would mean for us today, and even then, we must do so with great humility and awareness of our amazing human capacity to be wrong.” (p121)
Jesus speaks repeatedly of “the Kingdom of God” (sometimes called Kingdom of Heaven), McLaren argues that Jesus would not use that language if he were speaking today. Do you agree or disagree?
What do you see as problematic about the language of kings and kingdoms today?
How do you think Jesus might do it today?
McLaren offers 4 alternative approaches (Chpt 16 p 128ff)
1. God’s love insurgency
2. God’s un-terror movement
3. Global love economy)
4. God’s sacred ecosystem
How does creation teach you?
In chapter 17 he focuses on the Divine Eco-System he asks us to try and describe what it would be like to decrease our distance from creation and see ourselves as part of God’s sacred ecosystem --- can you do this?
What are some of the various views of Jesus that you have heard, read, seen, ect.
Which Jesus do you follow?
What have you struggled with up to this point?