WHEN I BECAME A MAN… – “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN
It’s a partial quote from Paul in I Cor. 13 where he talks about rather than thinking like a child, he matures in his thinking. He doesn’t say what thoughts he had as a child he set aside as an adult. I would like to think, because of the context, that he was talking about his understanding of many things about God.
I would love to be able to hear him discuss all the “childish” things he once believed that he no longer did. Can we imagine an apostle saying he had some infantile religious ideas which he was now required by his intellectual growth, to discard? My head swells with the thought of it!
After all, it was his illustration. He must have had something in mind when he said it. Was it something a rabbi said that he came to realize was wrong? Was it the prayer Jewish boys prayed that said. “Thank God I was not born a Gentile or a woman?” Was it that Gentiles should not be called, “dogs”? How much of it was attached to religious prejudicial teaching? For him to use it in the context in which he did, it would seem to me he had the incomplete (childish) ideas about God on his mind.
Did Peter have the same experience when he went to see Cornelius? The (scriptural) teaching about unclean things and people was well known. But when Peter saw Cornelius he said,”God has shown me that I should not call any impure or unclean.” (Acts 10:28)
When did God decide that? Was there a meeting called among the leaders of Israel to amend that law? What an amazing step into maturity Peter took!
Paul was a well trained in Jewish law. He and others like him studied the same books of law and the prophets. How did he become different? What made him become the enemy of those others he studied out of the same books with? You see, that is the question: How can people read out of the same book, in this case, let’s call it the Bible, and arrive at different conclusions? Before you give an answer, remember, Paul believed these ideas about God for years before he had his conversion experience. Ideas I think he now calls “childish.”
All through Christian history, there has been one book read as a guide, the Bible. And yet all those people (religious leaders) had different ideas about how to apply it.
During the Reformation, those who differed with the more powerful were killed as heretics. Remember, same book. In the colonies, there was state religion, which varied somewhat between colonies. However, in the New England colonies, the main religion was a blend of Anglicanism and Congregationalism, better know as Puritanism.
Puritan preachers were said to be well educated and well versed in scripture, the same scripture you and I read. Yet they saw all other Christian groups as “dissenters”. In 1768 one man wrote of the “selectmen” parading the streets compelling everyone to go to church with threats of the stocks or confinement.
What is interesting is that with the coming of Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, Quakers and others, the Puritans, not because their view of scripture had changed, but by the sheer volume of the arrivals, became more open. Had they matured?
However, Baptist (and others like them) suffered persecution, because they did not baptize children for original sin. According to court documents in Virginia, Baptist preachers were “pelted with apples and stones”, “nearly drowned by 20 men”, “pulled down and hauled by the hair,” “tried to suffocate with smoke”, “tried to blow up with gun powder”, “Shot with a shot-gun”, and “whipped by the sheriff”, among others.
Another issue which went on for years was slavery. All reading the same book, but there were those who saw having slaves differently than others. Who were those who put away “childish” thinking when reading the scriptures concerning slaves?
What about historical inequality, especially among blacks? Everyone read the same Bible. Black/white marriage was illegal in many states until the late 60s. It was supported with scripture. Looking at today, who do you think put away immature (childish) thinking?
When it comes to discrimination today, all and any of it, using the same Bible, who is putting away immature (childish) thinking?
Let’s take a little trip back through the history of ideas held by Christians (and some still do) that a more mature outlook has dispelled. And as we do, let’s keep in mind that the situation hasn’t changed.
How about working women outside the home? When was the last time you heard a sermon on “A woman’s place is in the home? Back in the 40s or 50s. What about women wearing slacks or worse, pants suits to church? There’s something in the Bible about that. Or, that “second covering” you know, a hat of sorts on the woman’s head. Or long hair on men? Remember the outrage and scripture quoting when men let their hair grow?
From casual dress to dress coats and ties at the communion table, the arguments have all come from the same book, the Bible. If all those ideas were “scriptural truth” where did they go?
Divorce and remarriage. O my, how that has changed! How could it, if the Bible said it, I believe it, and that settles it.” Has the understanding of marriage, divorce and remarriage “matured”? As you look at those who have had to deal with it, who has the most mature attitude? Keep in mind that the Jews always looked at such issues over and over again to see what was best.
Everything about God is about people. Childish ideas divide and discriminate. Childish ideas diminish and promote injustice.
Do you think Paul was referring to some action in the temple worship, or do you think he was thinking about people?
CONCERNS: Judy (Shivers) Edwards (Ralph and Harriette’s daughter, had surgery in Norfolk for an brain aneurism. She is now in critical condition. Her sister, Ann, fell and broke her leg at Judy’s home. Keep this family in prayer. Remember Shelda and Dwight Miller. Gary Overstreet hopes to be home by the end of the month. Rachel Mitchell is having back and neck issues. Joanne Elder is job hunting as is Martha Foy. Remember Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones. Sheila Jansen and her daughter, Amber Weaver. Melanie Gentry, Douglas Dorn, from the Blacksburg congregation, Wayne Phlegar, Tolly Nicklas, Ray and Darnell Barns, Gil Richardson, Jim & Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
OUR DAILY BREAD: FEB. 20-25
Monday: Psalm 40:1-17
Tuesday: John 8:49-59
Wednesday: Philippians 2:14-30
Thursday: Ephesians 2:1:22
Friday: John 19:1-16
Saturday: Colossians 1:3-20
OUR DAILY BREAD: FEB. 27-MAR. 5
Monday: John 10:1-18
Tuesday: Matthew 13:24-43
Wednesday: Psalm 90:1-17
Thursday: Luke 14:15-24
Friday: Amos 5:18-6:1
Saturday: Psalm 71:1-24
THE THIRD SUNDAY
Today is the third Sunday of the month. The worship service will be sans sermon. We thank Judy McWhorter for arranging the service and Akan Beach for leading the singing, as well as those who will be taking part.
Today is Super Sunday. The weather so far this winter has been unusually warm, and continues to be on Sunday. We have no fires in the fireplace this year. Come and enjoy the weather and the company of good friends.
The steering committee will meet in the library following the Super Sunday meal. Copies of the financial report will be available.
Several of the young people are traveling with Holly to Winterfest in Gatlinburg this weekend. They plan to be back in time to eat with us. Keep them in your prayers.
Each year about this time, a representative from the Gideons comes to tell us of their work distributing Bible across the world. On March 5, someone from the Gideons will be with us. He will give a short talk before the sermon and then take a retiring gift at the door after the service from anyone who would like to contribute.
RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE
Thanks to Martha Albert and those who help her prepare the Sunday evening meal once a month at the Ronald McDonald House.