Thursday, October 13, 2005

Good News?

There’s a church near me that runs a street hockey out-reach. It’s a pretty cool deal where you come and play at no cost, and midway through the night we gather for a short Bible message. I have been playing there for many years now and really enjoy the opportunity to get away, get some exercise, and most of all, play some hockey- even if it is only the street version. On occasion they have asked me to share during the “break” which I have done.

This week- and I don’t mean to be too critical here, especially of the guy who was sharing as he is a really nice, well meaning guy- but this week, I was really surprised at something he said. He grabbed an 8x11 sheet of paper and used a pen to put a dot on it. He said the paper is eternity, and thus the dot, if we could see it, represents our life when measured against eternity. “We spend so much time thinking about this life, which, if you think about it, is pretty stupid. The majority of our lives in eternity, happens after you die.” He then went on to ask if we knew where we were going when we die, and added, “Guys, I gotta tell you, the Bible talks a lot more about hell than this life.” Really?

Now granted, he’s giving a 5 minute presentation in the middle of a game. He’s not preaching a sermon. Maybe he mis-spoke. Maybe he meant to say “heaven.” (I did a very quick search…54 mentions of hell in the KJV…500+ of heaven, and I didn’t differentiate between the various words that are translated hell…sheoul, ghenna, etc.)
I suppose he could have an argument if he meant to say heaven, but even still, does the bible talk more about life after death than it does life? I just don’t see it.

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard well meaning Christians say misleading or untrue things during this sharing time. One guy was speaking against Islam and said, “My God doesn’t tell us to kill others.” I know what he meant, but suppose one of the guys goes home and decides to dust off the old family bible and opens to say, Joshua?

I wouldn’t even write about this except for the timing of it. I had just finished speaking at a retreat and leading a couple of youth groups in a teaching about caring for our world, loving others and being good neighbors, rather than focusing on ourselves and our eternal destiny. (Of course I used Trees)I have also been preparing for a discussion of Brian McLaren’s A Generous Orthodoxy. His chapter, “Why I am Missional” directly addresses this very thing. He raises the question as to whether the good news is good news for the world or just some of us.

More later…maybe.


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