Volume 6 Number 5

1. What is the key social unit of focus for Christianity? The family? The church? The individual?

Traditionally evangelicals have focused on the family. Is this correct? Jesus does sometimes lower the importance of the family in favour of spiritual realities. He also lowers the importance of the family in favour of caring for the outcast.

2. "Nothing is more annoying to non-Christians than the Christian presumption that without religion, morality would cease to exist" A. Lohrey, "Voting for Jesus", The Quarterly Essay, p. 69.

We must be very clear whether we are saying
a) Without religion morality would cease to exist
b) Without religion philosophically justifiable morality would cease to exist

3. Matthew 6 and Hebrews 13 connect love of money, contentment and fear for security. I would often speak about covetousness and love of money together.
The connection is more obvious in subsistence cultures. But even in the first world, we find our sense of security in our pleasures and luxuries. Desire for luxury is rarely as simply as brute hedonism.

4. Crossroads' evangelism focus group asked a wide range of peopel for their input on evangelism. The comments of one seasoned evangelist was that people at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder prefer tradition and stability in church, rather than trendy, contemporary church. The reason give was because the rest of their lives are such a mess, they want something safe and predictable from church.

5. In sermon review sheets, don't get to ask questions like:
-What new things did you learn?
-How were you changed or encouraged as a result of this message?

6. If we only do sermon reviews, we may slip into thinking that everything is the preachers' fault.
In addition to doing sermon reviews, it would be good to occasionally do listener reviews. After all, if I fall asleep or drift off during a sermon, it may be my fault not the preachers.
I like the idea of spurring on the congregation to growing in their listening skills, just as we spur on the preacher to grow in their preaching skills.

7. Sometimes when encouraging other pastors to engage with and learn from their cultural context, we imply that they must all be relation people can just informally lock into philosophical conversations out and about. But some pastors find this friendship model very straining.

Another mode is the learner model. Rather than trying to initiate an informal chat in the marketplace, you can just ask people permission for you to ask them questions about their values and so forth.
Often these sorts of surveys and interviews are done as a thinly veiled evnagelistic method. But as a genuine means of getting into relational contact with non-Chrsitians they are a real alternative to the friendship approach.

8. Instead of saying:
"Our society's definition of faith is totally different to the biblical one"


"The Bible's definition of faith is counter-cultural"

9. It's not enough just to avoid Christian subculture. I need to ask, what does a Hobart Christian actually look like in positive terms? How will we contribute a unique element to the heavenly choir when Christ returns?

10. Does Saddleback Church really have 'Saddleback Sam' as a hodge-podge profile of what non-Christians in their area are like? That's trippin.

11. I can't remember where I read or heard this: "The ancient Israelites went to church only 3 times a year, and when they did it was for a huge feast!"