Week 7: God’s Perspective, by Koinonia Housegroup

Nibbles: Travel Stories

Bex has just booked to go to Malta, but it was definitely more about who she was going with… as she had no idea where Malta was. Christina is going to Spain with four school friends. Ewan and Anne, with kids, off to Butlins with their NCT group. We all noted that none of us had invites to the Royal Wedding! For all of us it was a real mix of people and place… Mary loves the Scillies, but wants to share the experiences there with others. We then planned a housegroup weekend away in Poole…

There ARE places we want to see, but we want to share those experiences… we may choose WHEN to go places depending on when others are interested, although it’s also nice to enjoy some time on our own… Bex just had a great 36 hours chilling out on her own in Plymouth (where we used to go on holiday when I was a child).

There was a note that sometimes in visiting places where there is a particular ‘romantic’ feel it can be odd going on your own…

Main Course

Aside from a the beauty of a reading which was only 4 verses, we all remembered the phrase “God will be with you til the end of the age”.

We then focused upon the verse, they saw, worshipped, but some doubted. Even with Jesus in their midst, some doubted – have seen everything that he did… so it’s no surprising that it can be hard for us.  We then started discussing John 20:29 (http://bible.cc/john/20-29.htm) (not seen yet still believe). Were they rejected because they doubted? Were they doubting the resurrection or what they were to do next? The group was split on whether the doubt was comforting or not…

We looked at ‘making disciples of all the nations’, and the question of looking for conversion of those of other religions (or none). On Radio 4 recently there had been a Muslim giving one of the Lent talks. Should Christians be seeking to convert such people, or is it good to have a moderate within the Islamic faith who conversations can be had with?! Battles over conversion tend to lead to wars, so should be true to our own faith… and what does that mean?!

In reference to ‘making disciples’, what does that mean? This doesn’t necessarily mean ‘being a missionary abroad’, rather a 24/7 Christian lifestyle where you are, although there are some who are called to go abroad.

There’s some we wish weren’t out there ‘in God’s name’, e.g. the fundamentalist movement. We started talking about the Louis Theroux programme ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0107zhy), where he visited Westborough Baptist Church. The problem is that he doesn’t believe in the Bible – it needs someone who does believe in the Bible who can debate rationally with the family. In the programme there were difference ideas of what’s appropriate clothing, which then led us into a discussion of the recently enacted French law banning the Burkha… is it enabling or disabling choice?

The most important commandment we’re given? Making disciples is fundamental (doesn’t necessarily mean conversion, rather encouraging/enabling growth). Where does that ‘leave all authority?’.

We talked about Ship of fools and some of their jokes. What’s in common and what’s not in humour (across religions/cultures, etc.), can be divisive (but can also bring together).

One of the group brought in the example of a colleague who is a Jehovah’s Witness, and such a good witness at work; patient, friendly, generous, etc..

The different flavours of Christians can be an interesting mix, charismatics, evangelicals, etc..

Reflection

We meet people who work abroad, are they probably more proactive & willing – so more positive? When people GO as missionaries, do they rely on faith more than we do? It can be inspiring (but we also need to be inspired by everyday stories). We have it easy but it’s getting harder…

True poverty is super hard, but for those with food, are they happier with simple lifestyles? Do we need better networks? 100 years ago we didn’t move around so much, and the church was the hub of village life. Was it also the tool of the state, keeping order, etc? E.g. you would only get alms if you regularly attended church, but the church was also the first to provide free education etc… There was no TV/radio to distract (but would definitely have been other options for distraction). As with any institution, some bits work & some don’t. Then the job of clergy was a ‘career’, now it’s definitely a heart vocation. In past times, the dim/aristocratic second son became a clergyman (see how Jane Austen represents them). A quick discussion of Rev (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00sz26s), which we enjoyed, and are looking forward to the second series that has been commissioned (and we saw filming at Greenbelt last year).

Puddings

We talk about science/religion quite a lot, so we skipped over that, and the rest of the group haven’t read the book, so we also skipped that question.

In actions, do smaller things make more difference? Do ‘good things’ make you Christians? How is it  noticeable that we are doing this (because/as) Christians (not standing out like “the only gay in the village” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/littlebritain/characters/daffyd.shtml))?

We thought that in future, it would be good to have a mix of audio-visual amongst the puddings also.

We talked about the Stations of the Cross, they are not known to all (comes from the Anglo-Catholic traditions). It’s a contemplative journey, think through Jesus’ life, and how you apply to your life.

The group liked the option of nailing prayers to the cross.

We talked about representations of Jesus’ crucifixion, and discussed The Passion of the Christ (Mel Gibson), which was seen as too gory… or is it actually too real and we usually shy away from it? Is there a difference between audio and visual representations, and we don’t always want to watch! What about those who have experienced the horrors of war – those in the group who had family with shell shock/nightmares (now known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

The ACTS way of praying was not liked by two of the group, which felt that it uses complicated (non meaningful) words for what should be simple things (although they recognized that it’s been helpful for many).

Others had used the ‘PRAY’ acronym: Pray; Repent; Ask for Others; Ask for You.

After Dinner Chocolates

All about trying to find a different perspective on life. In Winchester, we can certainly go up a hill, and those of us in office blocks can go higher…

 

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