Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Responding to Questions

Hey all,

I'd like for us to have at least a little bit of conversation about Adventures in Missing the Point before moving on. If you would be so kind, please respond to at least one of the following questions in the next week. And then, if you can, please try to respond to at least one person's response. Thanks.

Here are the questions for discussion:

1. In the "Theology" chapter Campolo talks about how different cultures do theology differently. They have different questions, different assumptions, etc. Often, from our American/European cultural perspective we can tend to think that our theologies are the standard and every other culture's theology is true or false, good or bad in relation to ours. But this is clearly not true. My question is how does our own "Western" culture influence our theology? How do our particular questions, concerns, and assumptions get reflected in our theology?

2. In the "End Times" chapter Campolo contrasted theologies that see the world as on a downward moral spiral headed towards disaster and judgment, with theologies that see it as being guided towards God's ultimately good purposes (i.e. the kingdom) and thus gradually improving. What signs do you see in the world that supports either the pessimistic view or the optimistic view and which way do you personally tend to lean (and why)?

3. In the "Evangelism" chapter McLaren talks about five kinds of questions non-Christians commonly ask. Which, if any, of these questions have you encountered from non-Christians? What other kinds of questions have you been asked by them?

4. In the "Culture" chapter Campolo states that he thinks much of contemporary entertainment is a "cesspool" and "worthless". What do you think? Is his basically right or are there redeeming aspects to contemporary entertainment that Tony is missing? Also, are you personally more at risk of isolating yourself from the culture or of adopting its harmful values, such as consumerism?

5. In the "Leadership" chapter Campolo responds that he think Dorothy isn't the kind of leader he'd want in a crisis. What would you want in a leader during a crisis?

6. From the "Homosexuality" chapter, how do you respond to this statement: "Homosexual orientations are not chosen" (p. 203)? What are the practical implications of your view?

7. From the "Worship" chapter: what else should worship include in addition to music? What do you think about including historic Christian spirituality into worship?

8. Other: choose your own question from the discussion guides at the end of each chapter and then answer it for us.


JillF said...

Regarding #2. Is the world getting worse and worse or better and better?
I suppose the world and also we each are like a big piece of clay that has to get scrunched up to be made pliable and ready to reform. If you picture yourself as God, how else could you do it? People surely haven't listened to simple conversation in the past.

Mike Clawson said...

So are you saying that in order for it to get better, first it might have to get worse?

Jen said...

in regards to question 4:
I was in a class in undergrad called Communicating Christ Today. This was probably my favorite class. One of the books we read was "Epic" by John Eldridge. In this book he explains that many of our favorite movies present a gospel type message or they commicate our need for someone to love/rescue us. What am I saying? One of the projects I had to do was pick a movie, watch it, analyze it, and write about if it did tell this message of our need for Jesus. So I watched Mouline Rouge. I invited tons of friends over, we sang along and had a "good-ole-time." And true to John's book Both Satine the prostitute and Christian the writer needed love and someone to rescue them from their hopeless situation. I think lots of the common culture's entertainment: books, art, music, even architecture seems to scream out our desperate and lonely situation, and some incredible art like the Sistine Chapel presents a message that is full of awe and glorifies God. That's not all to say that I approve completely of all the foul language and prominance of sex. I think if we devote ourselves to studying the culture we belong to and listen to the groans of our culture through entertainment in order to identify with our neighbor and contextualize a message of hope presenting Jesus as the hero he is who is the only one able to offer hope.
The second part of question four: do I withdrawl or adopt more from culture and entertainment? Well, I'm adamently opposed to consumerism and militerism and yet I don't shelter myself from everything. Maybe I realize the tension and can choose to neither withdrawl or adopt.

JROB1972 said...

Response to question#4:

I guess on the surface I have to agree with Tony Campolo that much of the entertainment today is worthless. I think you would have to search long and hard to find any value to a show on MTV, or on any reality TV show that is popular today. On the other hand, while there is a lot of junk out there, I think there are also a lot of movies, music, and television shows that do have positive messages. I'll give an example from a movie I just watched last night. We had rented the movie "Click" with Adam Sandler, figuring it would be an entertaining comedy. The premise is that Adam Sandler's character comes across this universal remote that can control every aspect of his life. He is able to use this to make his life easier by fast forwarding through arguments with his wife, tiresome dinners with in-laws, or any other uncomfortable situation. In the end he has fast forwarded through his life, his kids are grown, his wife has left him for the speedo wearing swimming coach and Sandler realizes that he has made a mistake spending his entire life at work trying to succeed and ignoring his family. He tells his grown son that family is first, take care of them first. So long story short, there is a morale to the story that money and the pursuit of material things is not as important as building strong and lasting bonds with family.

This is just one example, but there are many movies and shows with valuable messages. If we watch and listen to entertainment with our minds working and our hearts open, I think there are many positive messages that can be taken from our entertainment.

As for the second part of the question, am I more at risk of isolating myself from culture or adopting its harmful values. This is a good questions that I can't really come up with a black and white answer for. We have ditched our cable TV, which isolates us from society because many of the conversations people initiate revolve around a TV show, football game, or news. On the other hand, it is sometimes hard to keep from getting swept up with consumerism. I tend to like gadgets and cars, so there it is always a struggle to keep from coveting the latest video games, HD televisions, or satellite radio. So far I have resisted the urge for these cool toys, but man there are days when you just want to go drop some green and pick one up. So basically I guess I so some of each, try to isolate from culture to some extent and fight the urge to give in to negative influences on the other.

April said...

Question #5 in the evangelism chapter, "Campolo says non-Christians take our personal testimony more seriously than our intellectual arguments. If you think he's right, why might that be the case? If you disagree, say why.

In my opinion people today are looking more for personal testimonies that are pointing towards the gospel rather than intellectual arguments.

A few months ago I was talking to a Youth Pastor that was out here with his youth, he was telling me about one of his family members who is also a youth director who was having an affair with one of the youth leaders at that church.
He also said that young people today are looking for churches that are grounded with tradition and hierarchical structures. This just after saying the youth and families at his family members church were going to be extrememely hurt when they found out about the affair.
I'm sitting there thinking...the last thing those kids are going to want is someone who is leading them to be telling them they should believe in a God of truth and righteousness living a live of dishonesty.

I would also come to this same conclusion because of my experience in AmeriCorps, my teammates could not have cared less about doctrines and intellectual arguements, they wanted (needed) to see a faith lived out rather than talked out.

Mike Clawson said...

I wonder what he meant by "tradition and hierarchical structures"? Do you know what kind of church he was from? On the one hand I agree with you, April: I doubt that the kids in that church are going to respond well to any kind of authoritarian approach to faith.

On the other hand, he may have been referring to the fact that a lot of young people these days are gravitating towards more liturgical churches. There is a sense in which young people like the connection with tradition and history. However, I think this has more to do with what you were saying about actually "living out" our faith. Liturgy and ritual tends to be more about "acting out" our beliefs in worship, not just about cognitively teaching/preaching them. It's more tangible, more active and less about just "knowing" (or being told) what to believe. I think that is what is attracting some young people to those traditions.

April said...

You hit it right on Mike. I believe he was from and Anglican Church.