The sermon at church this morning was good because the pastor in his sermon was really highlighting some tensions.  He was preaching about John 17, in which Jesus radically distinguishes his own from the world.  Here are some points that the pastor made:

1.  How do we engage the world and benefit from what it has to offer (i.e., entertainment, money, etc.), without being taken over by the world’s mindset?  The pastor’s answer was continuing prayer and Bible reading.

2.  How can Jesus portray the world as evil and his disciples as set apart from that, when his disciples themselves had flaws?  The pastor quoted a commentator who said that God is more interested in the direction we are facing, even if we in our present state have flaws.

3.  The pastor said that Christ can be at the center of our lives, and yet we may still have things that don’t fit into that, such as resentment.

4.  The pastor remarked that obeying Christ can seem burdensome, and yet Christ being at the center of our lives brings us peace.

I was more impressed by the tensions that my pastor highlighted than by his answers or resolutions.  It’s not that I left the service feeling inspired.  It’s more that I left it thinking, “Good thing I’m not the only one who asks questions like that.”

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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