These are ideas for community talks which relate the Christian walk with the society around us. These are tentative; posts suggesting additional talks are welcome.
Posts on the ideas n presented are welcome
1 How Christian should relate to politics
We are participants, partners but not masters. We should advocate Godly ways presenting them to the general public as wholesome ways that lead to peace, harmony and promote public (physical) health. We should also participate so that offensive and perhaps unbearable demands are not made upon us.
This leaves open the question of what we should advocate as law and accept from other quarters as law. This may be a fluid frontier.
2 ‘Us aliens in the land of our birth’
Christians are voluntary members of the Kingdom of heaven as well as citizens or subjects of the nation in which they were born. Like earthly dual citizens we certainly hope that the demands of the two do not conflict. More deeply however is that our aspirations go beyond love of country or the love of available pleasures/power/money etc which should make us act different than our non believing neighbors. So if you think that the world has gone crazy, you may be in good company.
3) Christian stewardship, the environment and the poor.
Typical environment benefiting measures usually make things more expensive or reduce opportunity which hurts the poor by the increasing the cost of living, reducing funds that might go to the poor and reducing economic opportunity. In theory, the reduced pollution will reduce the incidence of disease in the poor but these benefits are not obviously present. It is proposed to explore the tension between helping the poor and the environment.
4) Isaiah’s triad Submission to God, social justice and personal holiness.
Isaiah as well as the other prophets said that pre-exile Israel failed in thee broad areas, the attention or submission to God, the neglect of justice which disportionatly affected the poor, the orphan and the widow and personal holiness. These topics are often discussed in close proximity indicating that they are a package. All three are needed, not one of three. This theme begins in the Torah and is affirmed by Jesus,
5 Islam to be taught by a Christian convert if possible. Proposed to cover: a) brief history , b) basic beliefs (5 pillars of islam), c) current standard and extreme practice d) the role of sharia law e) Sunni vs Shite f) attitude to non Muslims and g) key differences and commonalities between Islam and Christianity.
In terms of nominal adherents, Islam is the second largest religion in the world , second only to Christianity. Branches of it occupy the news often and its values seem to collide with western values and Christian values as practiced today. As such, we should understand the basics of it is we can better evaluate the assertions of what is and is not Muslim. This will help us open our hearts to Muslims but be less accepting of all that they say and temper our political opinions
6 The founding fathers, the constitution and Christians.
While the New Testament provides guidance for the believers, it does not give any procedure to allow a government to be called Christian nor does it provide any guidance on the ideal or acceptable human government. The US constitution disestablished any specific denomination/faith and the founding fathers were a mixed group religiously. Adams on one end was reputed to be the most religious most were in the middle , Jefferson was Deist and Franklin was a libertine. So it cannot be asserted that the American government is particularly Christian in origin however much its citizens adhere to Christ.
Never the less, it can be asserted that the constitution and the present government based on it is a providential blessing fro Christian and non Christian alike. It allows us to practice as we believe, live , learn and grow in the faith, and as we grow, shed our mistakes as we become convinced by the Holy Spirit, not convicted by some court
While terrorism today is synonymous with Islam, other groups have used terrorism to achieve their goals. Recent examples the Viet Cong, Khmer Rouge (Pol Pot) , the IRA and to a lesser extent the IRA’s opponents. More distant in time but more local examples can be seen in the KKK and the earlier 1850s Jayhawkers who were on the other side of that fight.
My definition: Terrorism is the infliction of harm, usually deadly, primarily on a civilian population which is in some way in a struggle the group committing the violence. The purpose of this violence is to induce fear as opposed to destroying ability to fight. Military and governmental targets are left untouched and civilians not directly involved in the fight are killed or maimed. If armies targeted in this manner, it would be considered a war crime.
While killing more people is worse than killing a few people, it remains terrorism if a single person is assassinated or even beaten or property destroyed or simply trespassed. Here, the KKK tactic of burning a cross is instructive, nobody was hurt, the KKK brought their own cross and gasoline so the victim was physically unhurt and his property intact, but the victim was was terrorized.
As noted above, other groups have used this tactic with varying degrees of success. The common thread appears to be an attitude that ‘who we are matters to the exclusion of (at least) the target group’. In effect, the target group is subhuman. There are many corollary expressions of this but they all come down to ‘we are right so we can do anything to win, people matter only to the extent that they support us’. For these people, The Cause trumps ethics, compassion and respect.
As Christians we must reject such ideas, after all, Jesus laid down his life for us while we were yet sinners. We need to reject the attitude that leads to terrorism wherever it may occur, especially in our own thoughts. We need to teach others to avoid these proto-terrorism attitudes.
Now it must be acknowledged that the news media can tell us who the most avid current users of terrorism are and it is not Americans in NW Ohio. We however have a ministry to help people in the Anthony Wayne area so teaching people here how not to start on that road is what we need to do here and now. You already know how bad they are; the press has told you. Telling you again how bad somebody else is does not help us or them.
8) Christians and Politics, how do they relate
9) Wilberforce the movie Amazing Grace movie and dinner to discuss it
10 Women in the Bible
11) John Wesley
12) Parents with small children
14) Bullying Program’
15) Drug Program
16 Homeland /security
17 REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT