In this episode John and Gregg resume their discussion about church attendance, this time regarding children. John starts by wondering about Gregg’s process in allowing his children to make choices about where to attend church, and also about the difference between teaching our children to believe Christianity, versus to understand (life, and so Christianity).
Gregg explains that it would have seemed deceptive (to his children) if he and his spouse tried to force their children to approach Christianity in a way different from how the two of them were approaching it (i.e., by not allowing them to make at least some of their own decisions, such as where they wanted to attend). Gregg see this as allowing the children to have some information (about Christianity) yet also standing back a bit and allowing Christian experience (and particularly the experience of God) to “unfold” in his children’s lives.
So Gregg hunches that a big reason for the children wanting to come to the church that he and his spouse play is that large role that they saw this church (and especially, Christianity) playing in their parents coming back together after many months of marital separation.
Today we discuss Easter. John characterizes Easter from his past as a moment of rejoicing that Jesus’ resurrection means that Christians have eternal life. He wonders what significance Easter holds for Gregg?
Gregg’s view is that Easter is about how Jesus’ life and death broke down barriers, particularly in the sense that through Jesus’ life and death all humanity was / is now able to be in right relationship with God. Gregg sees this as somewhat similar to his own experience of Good Friday in Switzerland, in 1996.
Gregg goes on to highlight the importance of understanding the continuity of the Easter story with the larger story of Israel (and how often it seems that evangelical presentations are sadly discontinuous with this story, and so seem fragmented as a result). In other words, from Gregg’s perspective the story of Jesus at Easter only actually makes sense within the context of Israel’s story, and otherwise Easter often amounts either to a “guilt trip” about either to be joyful or to be ecstatic about the idea of external life. Continue reading →
This episode looks at Chapter Two of Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. In light of Kyle Idleman’s view that Christianity must “cost us” and that authentic Christianity is marked by Jesus “interfering” with our lives, John opens the question of what constitutes Christian commitment.
So we explore Idleman’s view that Nicodemus, while being impressed by Jesus’ love, remained only a fan (which cost Nicodemus nothing). Gregg disagrees: Can we remain untouched by love? And how does the notion of “interference” fit within a love relationship—do my children mostly “interfere” with my life, or is there a better way of seeing the matter?
We go on to consider believing in God versus following God, and so discuss the implications for monotheistic Jews “believing” that Jesus was the son of God compared the implications for us believing the same thing today.
Bringing together the question of Christian belief or commitment and the idea that Christianity involves a love relationship with God, Gregg argues that Christianity is not about reward (going to heaven) or punishment (going to hell). We examine this by contrasting love and the experience of love—as a law written upon the heart—with an orientation to God that stems from will and duty.