Monday, October 12, 2015

WMTRBW 7: It's Not Too Late

This week we are reading stories from the life of Abraham and Sarah--stories which make the important point that "It's Not Too Late."

Much of the chapter focuses on one of the most difficult stories from scripture, that of Abraham nearly sacrificing his son Isaac in Genesis 22:1-14. I didn't preach on this story yesterday because I knew I wouldn't have time to treat it thoroughly and fairly while also highlighting the rest of the Abraham and Sarah stories, but I am intrigued by the angle the chapter takes towards it.

Read the story, then read the chapter, and consider in particular this idea:

Imagine that you and everyone you know believes that God is a severe and demanding deity who can bestow forgiveness and other blessings only after human blood has been shed. Imagine how that belief in human sacrifice will affect the way you live, the way you worship, and the way you treat others. Now imagine how hard it would be to be the first person in your society to question such a belief. Imagine how much courage it would take, especially because your blood might be the next to be sacrificed! Questioning widely held assumptions about God can be a dangerous venture indeed...[But] over many centuries, led along by many teachers and prophets, Abraham’s descendants came to believe that God wanted one thing from humanity… not sacrifice, whether human or animal, but this: to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God. The only sacrifice that mattered to God was the holy gift of humble hearts and lives dedicated to his way of love. So with faith, it’s not too learn something new. (WMTRBW p. 28-29, 30-31).

When has an assumption you always held about God or about what God wants or what is acceptable to God been challenged for you? When have you changed your mind or belief about something central? As McLaren asks at the end of the chapter, where might God be wanting you to realize it's not too late to change your mind about something today?

Reflect on these questions as you read this chapter this week, and if you are willing leave comments below to continue the conversation among us!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One of the first times I was challenged about what God expects of me happened almost 50 years ago. I was working as a summer missionary in Maine for the Evangelistic Assn of New England. We young college students were teaching what is like our Music and Arts summer program at BBC. Then we were working in summer camps sponsored by various churches. I had always been part of a Baptist church which had regular times of the year called Revivals. Some special preacher would come to the church and every night for one or two weeks would preach about becoming a Christian. Many people would attend and some would find faith in God for the first time and be baptised. I thought this was the way to witness to others. That our pastor could do it and other pastors could do this but not regular folks in the church. Then in the EANE summer camps I was working with just normal young college students not pastors or people planning to be pastors. I was the only Baptist in the group. Others were from different denominations. They talked to the children and teens about God and finding faith. Some of the campers began their faith journey and asked God to come into their lives. I learned more than one thing. First that anyone can tell others of God and the love of God and how to become a Christian. I also learned that there were faithful people in all denominations and that Baptists were not better or more faithful to God. Nancy Lively