Friday, March 31, 2017

Spring Fling

Our annual Spring Fling is coming up on April 8th. It will be a time of family fun, creativity and competitive Easter egg hunting :). It's also a time of amazing community and fellowship. Too often churches hunker down and focus inward. They stress about finances, membership, issues within the congregation. But Jesus was the One who looked outward. One of the coolest Bible tidbits I learned in seminary revolved around the word tear. When Jesus is being baptized, the Heavens are torn open and God declares that Jesus is His Son, with whom He is well-pleased. We only see that version of the word, tear, one more time in the New Testament, and that is when Jesus died on the cross and the curtain to the Holy of Holies was torn in two. This curtain is what kept out the general people. Only specific priests could enter the Holy of Holies and now the curtain was torn and all could enter. All had access to God. All had access to the One who loves them beyond measure.

So we too are called to tear down the curtains and barriers in our own lives and church lives. Where are we excluding others? Where are we only focusing on ourselves or our church's needs? Where do we need God to reach in and tear away the dross that inhibits our abilities to serve and love others? As we continue into this time of Lent, may we focus on the God who desires for every person to know His Name and His amazing grace and love. May we welcome the stranger in our midst and share in real community. May we be like the early apostles who " devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." (Acts 2:42)... and if we have some extra time let's hang out at the church on April 8th from 10 am - 12 pm for an awesome time together.

In Christ,
Rev. Michelle

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Shack

Several church members have asked me if I am going to see "The Shack" or if I think it is okay for them to see it.   My answers are no -  and go ahead if you want to – BUT,  do so for entertainment purposes and in the understanding that it is not a Christian movie and it presents some troublingly flawed theology.  Any time we are confronted with entertainment that contains theological inaccuracies we must be ware of those failings.

I read the book when it came out several years ago and found it to be entertaining fiction.  Nothing more, nothing less.  It is not a treatise of Christian faith and quite frankly it conflicts with scripture in several significant ways.

As one example, the representation of God is really flawed.  Not because God is portrayed as a Black woman, but because the Father and the Spirit are shown in human form. That is completely contrary to Scripture. While both Old and New Testaments present Father and the Spirit they never do so in human form.  In The Shack the characters specifically identify themselves as individual members of the Trinity.  This is heresy.

Yes, it is ‘just a movie’ and a work of fiction that never claims to be the Bible. However, there are masses of people who will watch this show and be confused because it is a “feel good” story and the average viewer will not understand how flawed it is. Many of them will identify with the emotions, and the struggles with pain and evil in life.

The film is about Mack Phillips, who falls into a depression and questions his beliefs after a family tragedy. He receives a mysterious letter and is directed to an abandoned shack where he encounters three strangers, including "Papa."

Christians who see the film will hopefully be able to see the differences in the way that God is portrayed in the film from the way God has revealed Himself in Scripture.

So I guess I am saying that if you are looking for an entertainment, go see the movie.  If you are looking to grow your understanding of God and His love, turn to the Scriptures.

Also, if you do see it, watch for opportunities to help people who are going to be emotionally and spiritually impacted by this film. Help them with the truth of a relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

It must be kept in mind that The Shack is a work of fiction.

Pastor Jim