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Grow Hour: Learn Workshop

Learn Workshop Resources

Jesus I want to: LEARN from You...


week 1: Christ the Center



PERSONAL REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

1) Are there any places that you are aware of the "little l logos" of you struggling with the "big L Logos" of God? Stop and ask, "Who is it that is speaking to me here?" Pray on this. Does this change the struggle within you?

2) Think about any controversial societal issues today in a different way: Where do you see the "big L Logos" of God encountering the "little l logos" of humanity? Where are we as a society struggling with God's presence today? If you ask in these issues, "Who is it that is speaking to us?" in these issues, does it shift or clarify anything for you?

3) How have you answered the question Jesus asks: "Who do you say that I am?" If you're not sure and would like to discuss with one of the pastors or elders of Bel Air Church, please email Kim.Dorr@belairchurch.org

4) Will you commit to helping someone else GROW in faith by listening for "How?" instead of "Who?" and bringing them back to the one essential question Jesus asks us all? ("Who do you say that I am?")

RESOURCES:

The Nicene Creed
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicene_Creed
http://www.flvenice.org/pdfs/NiceneCreed.pdf

The Definition of Chalcedon
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalcedonian_Definition
https://www.creeds.net/ancient/chalcedon.htm

More on "Logos"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logos

“Theologian N.T. Wright characterizes "Word" (Logos) as being incomprehensible in human language. He claims that through belief the Logos will transform people with its judgment and mercy. According to Wright, John's view of the Incarnation, of the Word becoming flesh, strikes at the very root of what he terms "the liberal denial...of the idea of God becoming human...." His assessment is that when the "enfleshment" and speaking Word is removed from the center of Christian theology, all that is left is "a relativism whose only moral principle is that there are no moral principles, no words of judgment (because nothing is really wrong, except saying that things are wrong), no words of mercy (because you're all right as you are, so all you need is affirmation).” ( excerpt from “What is this word?” Christianity Today, February 27, 2010.)

Bonhoeffer’s Critical Questions:
“Bonhoeffer’s Critical Questions” slide appears by courtesy of Dr. Ray Anderson, whose influence as a Professor of Theology and Ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary continues to be felt around the globe.

Recommended biographies on Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas
Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Spoke in the Wheel by Renate Wind

Recommended reading written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
The Cost of Discipleship
Christ the Center

Quotes from Workshop for deeper reflection:
“Who expresses the strangeness and the otherness of the one encountered … he (humanity) is asking about the being (the Logos) which is strange to his being, about the boundaries of his own existence. Transcendence places his own being question.” (Bonhoeffer, Christ the Center)

“There is a distinction between when God is there and when He is there for you.” (Martin Luther)

"Where does he stand? He stands pro (for) me. He stands in my place, where I should stand, but cannot. He stands on the boundary of my existence, beyond my existence, yet for me… The boundary lies between me and me, the old and the new 'I.' It is in the encounter with this boundary that I shall be judged. At this place, I cannot stand alone. At this place Christ stands between me and me, the old and new existence. Thus Christ is at one and the same time my boundary and my rediscovered center.” (Bonhoeffer, Christ the Center)


week 2: Costly Grace


PERSONAL REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

1) How would you answer the question, "What is Christ's claim upon your life?"

2) Reflect on this statement and what it means to you personally and what it means as a vital part of Bel Air Church: "The Church is truly the Church only when it exists to others."

RESOURCES:

Karl Barth: His "No" to Natural Theology
Barth_his_no_to_natural_theology.pdf
The Barmen Declaration (PCUSA Book of Confessions)

Bonhoeffer's Critical Questions:
"Bonhoeffer's Critical Questions" slide appears by courtesy of Dr. Ray Anderson, whose influence as a Professor of Theology and Ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary continues to be felt around the globe.

Overview article on Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
Bonhoeffer’s Costly Theology, article from Christianity Today:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/issues/issue-32/bonhoeffers-costly-theology.html
http://www.religionfacts.com/dietrich-bonhoeffer

Recommended Reading:
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, LIFE TOGETHER: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community, 1937
https://www.amazon.com/Life-Together-Exploration-Christian-Community/dp/0060608528/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0060608528&pd_rd_r=7M9P6BK9X6FQ3XQVWKKP&pd_rd_w=OT3tO&pd_rd_wg=e896N&psc=1&refRID=7M9P6BK9X6FQ3XQVWKKP

Martin Buber, I and Thou, 1923
https://www.amazon.com/I-Thou-Martin-Buber/dp/0684717255/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498102413&sr=8-1&keywords=i+thou+buber

Summaries:
http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/iandthou/summary.html
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/martin-buber

week 3: The Truth and the Lie


PERSONAL REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

Read this quote:
“Those who wish even to focus on the problem of a Christian ethic are faced with an outrageous demand - from the outset they must give up, as inappropriate to this topic, the very two questions that led them to deal with the ethical problem: 'How can I be good?' and 'How can I do something good?' Instead they must ask the wholly other, completely different question: 'What is the will of God?”
(Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics)
And Consider:

  • How do we know the will of God?
  • Is it difficult to give up the desire to be or do something “good”? Why?
  • Does this paradigm shift change how you think about any current moral or legal issues?


RESOURCES: 

Gnosticism defined: 2nd century heretical doctrine that the world was created and ruled by a lesser divinity and that Christ was an emissary of the remote supreme divine being, esoteric knowledge (gnosis) of whom enabled the redemption of the human spirit.
Article on the Gnostic Influence on the Early Church:
https://blog.logos.com/2013/11/gnosticism-gnostics-christianity-church/

Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative: An unconditional moral obligation that is binding in all circumstances and is not dependent on a person's inclination or purpose.
RECOMMENDED READING:
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics (posthumously published in 1949.) https://www.amazon.com/Ethics-Dietrich-Bonhoeffer/dp/068481501X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499538295&sr=8-1&keywords=bonhoeffer+ethics

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison (posthumously published in 1951) https://www.amazon.com/Letters-Papers-Prison-Dietrich-Bonhoeffer/dp/0684838273/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499538422&sr=8-1&keywords=bonhoeffer+letters+and+papers+from+prison


SCRIPTURE REFERENCES:

  • “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.” John 6:38
  • “For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate… For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it.For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.” Romans 7: 15, 18-19
  • “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus’ first response was to say, “Why do you call me good? NO ONE is good but God alone.” Mark 10:17-18
  • “For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come…all these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” Mark 7:21-23
  • “And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in that day you shall surely die.’” Genesis 2:17
  • “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that theLordGod had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?”The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’”But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate.Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked…” Genesis 3:1-7
  • “Knowledge without God increases sorrow.” Ecclesiastes 1:18
  • “The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination or the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” Genesis 6: 5-6
  • “When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves.” Romans 2:14
  • “But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.Therefore the law was our tutorto bring usto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” Galatians 3:24-25
  • “What then should we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet, if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity in the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. Apart from the law sin lies dead.I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died, and the very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity in the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.” Romans 7: 7-11
  • “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32
  • “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
  •  “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6


Quotes from Bonhoeffer’s Ethics:

  • “The knowledge of good and evil seems to be the aim of all ethical reflection. The first task of Christian ethics is to invalidate this knowledge.”
  • “Man at his origin knows only one thing: God…He knows all things only in God, and God in all things. The knowledge of good and evil shows that he is no longer at one with this origin…. Only against God can man know good and evil.”
  • “Shame is man’s ineffaceable recollection of his estrangement from the origin. It is grief for this estrangement, and the powerless longing to return to unity with the origin. Man is ashamed because he has lost something which is essential to his original character, to himself as a whole; he is ashamed of his nakedness.”
  • “We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.


Other Quotes:

  • “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.”(Edmund Burke)
  • “Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it. (Edmund Burke)
  • “In short, it is much easier to see a thing through from the point of view of abstract principle than from that of concrete responsibility.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison)