Ripples of Acceptance

Ripples of Acceptance

You may not realize that your world has just been radically changed, when you read Acts Chapter 10. That’s understandable. You don’t stagger with amazement at what was laid on Peter’s plate only because our cultural context is far removed from the culture of Acts 10. We don’t suck in our breath and feel a little roiling of disgust in our guts, when Peter has a Roman contingent stay in his lodging and then has a warm conversation with a Roman officer in his home, because we are not an observant, Torah abiding, purity keeping, Shabbat observant, glatt kosher Jews. As Jesus was. Because Jesus tussled with the religious leaders of his day and was called out by them for breaking Jewish laws, we have a tendency to think that Jesus routinely transgressed the Torah, the law of Israel. I know I do. Didn’t Jesus touch lepers and bleeding women? Didn’t he heal and pick grain on the Sabbath? Yes. But in every case, Jesus offered his own interpretation of the Torah. His interpretation conflicted with the interpretation of the scribes and Pharisees, but Jesus didn’t say, “The law is no longer valid.” Instead, he defended his behavior as the fullest expression of the Jewish law. Jesus was an observant, Torah-keeping Jew, as were his parents, and his first followers, including Peter. They might have argued over the application of the law, but the idea that there were no laws about cleanliness, no laws about kosherness, no laws separating Jews and Gentiles was unthinkable. The religious implications of eating pork or ingesting shellfish might be inconsequential to us. The...
Youth Group Update: Faith & Science

Youth Group Update: Faith & Science

Writing about the “un-churched” in a letter to Christians in Rome, Paul has something very surprising to say. “What can be known about God is plain to them,” he writes, “because God has shown it to them… through the things God has made” (Romans 1:19-20). Taking this early Christian leader at his word, our Youth Group studied a few of the most magnificent, important, and disturbing creations of God using stories told by mainstream scientists and historians. We discovered how unusual it is to find Oxygen in an atmosphere, how distinct and diverse species of bacteria became one in the Eukaryotic cell, and how mind-blowing Einstein’s theory of time really is. We also shared fun, goofy stories about giant prehistoric mushrooms and flower bulbs that sold for as much as a house in 17th century Europe. Once we even stared into the face of tragedy and wrestled with the theological questions raised by the story of smallpox. In the process, a few of our youth rekindled their faith and many more got excited about learning about God through the stories that mainstream scientists tell about the world around us. This was important to do because the Barna Institute has identified “the church coming off as antagonistic to science” as one of the prominent reasons young Christians disconnect from the church in their late teens and early twenties. Rather than say, “Christianity is not opposed to mainstream science,” we strove to show this fact by listening to the stories that scientists tell without an agenda and by remaining mindful of points of connection to or tension with our faith. On the whole, the feedback on the unit has been extremely positive. The youth...
New Song Debuts Urging Acceptance

New Song Debuts Urging Acceptance

Faith’s Dawn Band debuted an original song, written by band member, Curt Rozeboom. The song reflects on our scripture passage for April 26.  In Acts of the Apostles’ Chapter 10, Peter receives an urgent vision that he is to eat all foods, not just kosher foods.  A voice tells him, “Do not call unclean, what I have called clean.” Peter’s vision opens the way for acceptance of all people, even those who were previously considered unclean.  “There is grace enough for every child that God has called...