“Stump the Pastor” Sunday

 

Royalty Free Stock Photo: 3d man sitting with red question mark over white ID 35343815 © Dreammasterphotographer | Dreamstime.com
ID 35343815 © Dreammasterphotographer | Dreamstime.com

Sunday, June 30, we will set aside liturgy and normal order for a bit in favor of an open hymn sing and a “Stump the Pastor” morning. People can ask/text/write to me any questions they wish that are on their minds, dealing with church, theology, Bible, belief or my hair.

Yes, hair, as in “What color IS your hair today?” and “Is that curl/frizz for real?”

But onto more serious things  . . . I know I’ve said lots of times, “when I get to heaven, I’m going to ask . . . ” and then go off on whatever issue is bothering me that particular day.

Well, I’m a long way from being God–although, of course, I’d like to think I’m on the verge of godliness–and am interested in hearing the questions that seriously bug people about spiritual/religious/church/salvation/Bible stuff.

Will I have answers? Of course! Now, if you are going to ask, “Will she have the RIGHT answers?” the response may be a bit different.

The thing about “RIGHT” answers is that we tend to think the right answer is the one we already agree with.  Since no one has ever accused me of being a particularly conventional thinker, the chances of my answers agreeing with lots of others is highly remote. Nonetheless, I’ve spent my life studying the Bible and reading theology, exploring eternal things and seeing how our hopes for freedom from brokenness and disease and war and just general nastiness ties in with the biblical witness.

So here are some of my questions:

  • Was it really necessary for Jesus to die?

  • Why are we humans so generally unkind to each other?

  • What is this thing called “the kingdom of heaven?”

  • Is the Bible (and therefore God) as sexist, racist and pro-slavery as it looks on a first read? If so, will heaven be sexist, racist, etc?

  • Can someone who was thoroughly rotten, evil, cruel and destructive in this life be admitted to heaven and perfect bliss by simply saying “the sinner’s prayer” on his or her deathbed?

OK, all that came out in one interconnected thought.  Deep breath time.

More questions flow:

  • Why is there so much poverty in the world?

  • Why is it that some of the most evil people are also the richest?

  • Can people who abuse little children actually go to heaven? If not, where is the line drawn?

  • What about just lazy and irresponsible parents? Or men who have been “baby daddies” to multiple offspring by multiple women but who support neither the women or the children?

  • What about drug dealers who systematically take over and corrupt entire neighborhoods?  Do they get in if they are believers in Jesus?

And what does it mean to “believe in Jesus?” What if the Jesus I believe in doesn’t match the Jesus you believe in?

Then of course there are the almost universal questions like,

  • Do unbaptized/unbelieving children go to hell if they die before the “age of accountability?” as many Christian groups teach.

  • What is the “age of accountability” for those born with severely damaged brains and reasoning abilities or with differently wired brains that cannot grasp metaphor and other language that seek to explore the spiritual and unseen world?

And since we’ve been examining the nature of the battle between good and evil for the last few weeks, there is this question, “Why doesn’t God just wipe out all the evil in the world?  Why does it have such free reign?”

And I haven’t even begun on “If evolution is true, is there a literal Adam and Eve?”

Send me yours!  The youth of the church have already offered a list and it would be great fun to create a compilation of the “most wanted to ask” questions. And a huge challenge to answer them–the kind of challenge that energizes me to the core of my soul.

Here are the questions the youth have already sent:

  • Why is it so hard to help others pull out of depression?
  • Why do we do mission work?
  • How can we forgive others?
  • Were angels people who died or were angels always angels?
  • Why do some people go to church and act like a Christian and go home and act completely different?
  • What will heaven be like?
  • Is there such a thing as anger? (not sure here what the questioner needs here. Is this about the possibility of righteous anger?)
  • Did Judas go to hell?
  • Can you choose rebirth?
  • How can the Holy Spirit be one with the Trinity and yet be individual?

Please add yours!

12 thoughts on ““Stump the Pastor” Sunday

  1. Where did the devil come into the picture-I read the Bible-hear some say he’s a fallen angel? If in the beginning there was only God in 3 persons-where did that fallen angel-devil cone about?

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  2. If gays are married from a state that allows it, and they want to be christians & be saved,must they walk away from their marriage and if they have kids in common what do they do?

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  3. What does the Bible say about homosexuality?

    And what does it say about divorce?
    Is being divorced a sin?

    And one I’ve always wondered about. If a person has accepted Jesus as the savior and asked for forgiveness, can this person turn away from Jesus and lose their salvation? in other words be lost to sin?

    And what happens to the good Jews when they die? Do they go to Heaven?

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  4. You are all offering such great questions. I am going to put all these together and see what the common themes are. Sunday is going to be very interesting. Please keep sending ideas!

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  5. Re your question, “Why is there so much poverty in the world?”, why has God blessed us with such incredible riches? (Compare the comfort and health of the “poor” in modern America with that of the “rich” in Jesus’ time.) Is that business about the camel going through the eye of the needle being more likely than a rich man (in Jesus’ time) getting into heaven for real? What does that mean about how we, the richest people in the history of the world, should live?

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    1. God always asked that man help the needy by gleaning and then there was the Jubilee Law.Education could help lift some out of poverty but then you would also need jobs.Presently in comparison we are indeed rich but what we do with this richness determines our fate. If we cannot see the needs of our brothers and sisters in God’s world through Jesus’s eyes and heart we indeed have missed the intended mark of our beloved Maker. He expects us to never grow weary of helping the needy and to open our eyes and not overlook them. We cannot rely on government to ‘feel’ this urgency on it’s own-we must continue placing people in government that also support this Godly mission.We should also continuously pray for God’s answers and support for this mission.That’s just my opinion.

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  6. Luke 16:20-22
    New King James Version (NKJV)

    20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell[a] from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.

    Who carried the beggar?
    What did they seek?
    What time period does “And it came to pass” imply?
    A daily ritual?
    An hour?

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  7. In response to your question about evolution; I firmly that if one believes in a loving God, then you have to believe in evolution. There is no way a loving God would have created fire ants and mosquitos on purpose. 🙂

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  8. What really happened to Enoch?
    Why can’t christians act like christians? They(some) think they’re so loving but they cause hurt in God’s church-done it so long & why do christians let them keep doing it?They’ve been nasty to preachers-caused people to leave…guess God forgives

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