Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Book discussion, NT Wright's "Simply Christian"

Discussing NT Wright's Simply Christian.
I hope people jump on to this discussion. We will take it one week at a time. This is really opened ended. But just a chance to react to the book and offer some reflections. What you liked or didn't like but I hope he gives you a fresh way to understand Christianity in a winsome way today.
The first chapter was about Justice, or as he likes to put it, "Putting the World to Rights." It looks like he will uses this "Echoes of a voice" metaphor throughout. He asks the question on page 6, how is that we all have this sense of the world is not the way it ought to be, that it needs to be made right, and yet after millenia of debate and attempted solutions humanity seems no closer than it was 2000 years ago?
He quotes a Dr. Johnson who says everyone just wants "to be happy at home," and asks if this is a dream or a reality that we can persue. Is the dream of a just world a childish fantasy, or a world we hope to one day escape to with little we can do about it now, or is it a voice calling us to, to put things right and make us right? (pp. 8-9)
He goes on to argue that the Christian faith is among three great religious traditions that takes the third option. But of course people object that Christians have done a lot of nasty things and he responds saying yes and no. There are great stories of Christians doing great things and that these stories are not told enough. Christianity is relevant and something about it drives it to do something about whats wrong with the world. (pp. 12, 15)
I'll get us started with three basic questions:
1) Do you resonate with this sense of the world not being the way it should be?What do you think about how Wright describes it as echoes of a voice?
2) Do you agree that the aim of human endeavors "is to be happy at home"? Which way do you tend to view the dream of a better world: a childish fantasy, a place to escape to one day, or not a dream but a voice calling us to "being put to rights?"
3) What stories have you heard that have encouraged you about Christians doing great things that really make a difference?
Feel free to share anything else you liked so far.

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