Live! Love! Serve!

Building Relationship
- NOT Religion

Lunch Boxes of Love
Ministry

1553 showers
in 2019
12813 meals
in 2019
2610 meals served
in 2018

Global Justice
Ministry

Slide background

Youth & Children
Ministry

Community Like None Other....

Afterword: Exile - A Price Worth Paying and Course Wrap Up
Notes, Questions, and Reflections
Tuesday, December 19, 2017

In preparation for this week’s discussion, please think about the Basic Homework Questions as you read it. Mark in your copy of the book or in your notebook which paragraphs pertain to these questions for you. Include your thoughts as to how they pertain to it. You’ll be ready to engage in discussion with the Group.

This class is completely "free form." There are no extra questions unless they come from you!


Chapter Twelve: What Second Coming? and Chapter Thirteen: Love: The New Religion
Notes, Questions, and Reflections
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

In preparation for this week’s discussion, please think about the Basic Homework Questions as you read it. Mark in your copy of the book or in your notebook which paragraphs pertain to these questions for you. Include your thoughts as to how they pertain to it. You’ll be ready to engage in discussion with the Group.

Then come back to this page and check out the additional questions and thoughts from past courses that St. John’s MCC people have had about the section that are listed below....


Which passages or paragraphs interested or inspired you most from this chapter?

What do you believe about the Second Coming of Christ?

Which common conceptions of the End Times come from scripture and which come from popular, secular fiction? What novels have shaped your conceptions of the events related to the Second Coming of Christ?

What does Pearson say is the difference between Divine Mystery and ignorance? (p. 240) How do many evangelical fundamentalists respond to what they see as a Divine Mystery? What does he fear will be the result of such ignorance? What does he now think the response to personal ignorance should be? What caused the transformation in his thought?

What does Pearson say the “Second Coming” really is? (p. 242)

So – What do we have to look forward to? (p. 251)

What examples does Pearson use that explains how a particular theological view can affect one’s worldview? (p. 244) How do you relate to those examples?

Chapter Ten: The Gospel of Grace
Notes, Questions, and Reflections
Tuesday, November 28, 2017

In preparation for this week’s discussion, please think about the Basic Homework Questions as you read it. Mark in your copy of the book or in your notebook which paragraphs pertain to these questions for you. Include your thoughts as to how they pertain to it. You’ll be ready to engage in discussion with the Group.

Then come back to this page and check out the additional questions and thoughts from past courses that St. John’s MCC people have had about the chapter that are listed below....


“A former pastor on my staff with a master’s degree in counseling …, told me that at least 80 percent of his clients had problems that could be traced to bad theology. He said that erroneous ideas about God, Christ, and salvation were affecting people’s marriages, families, and their senses of self-esteem and self-worth. They even had difficulty worshipping God and feeling that He was receptive to it. Correcting these inaccurate theologies and images of God is a calling that must not be discouraged by the vicious resistance to the idea of Inclusion.

 “Many religions simply interpret their fears of God as faithful reverence of Him. However, they have actually lost their ability to distinguish between faith and fear. They see them as inseparable. They are not. Fear has no place in a relationship where God’s grace has already guaranteed our salvation.” (p. 222)

Which passages or paragraphs interested or inspired you most from this chapter?

“John 1:29 says, ‘…Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” (p. 205) How does Pearson say that most Evangelical Christians interpret that passage?

On page 207, Pearson says, “Idolatry means that anything other than God becomes the center of our lives.” Is that the same meaning you have for the word?

Pearson describes some of the things that people “must do to be saved” on page 209. What are they? Are they genuine requirements from God?

Thomas Merton said, “’Grace is difficult to believe and difficult to accept. We want so desperately to believe that God loves unconditionally, yet we keep adding conditions. ‘Okay, fine,’ we say reluctantly, ‘but once we accept God’s grace, we’d better get our act together. We had better be successful or we won’t be worthy of his grace.’ We cannot believe God can grace even our ‘failures.’’” (p. 209) Have you heard similar statements? Have you agreed with people on that in the past? What about now?

I love Pearson’s statement near the bottom of page 209: “In many ways, religion in general (and Christianity in particular) has become the number one proponent of bigotry.” Please share some specific examples of religious bigotry you have experienced first hand.

“Grace is the gift of empowerment and [of] evolving into our highest selves.” (p. 210) How does that work?

What is grace? Pearson gives a good explanation on pages 218 through the end of the chapter.

Why do you think people have held that it is important to believe that God is still keeping score of our sins and shortcomings?

Is this a different God from the one people knew in Old Testament days? (p. 220-221)

How can we help people to understand that God’s grace has already been given to them?

Part Three Introduction and Chapter Eleven: Re-Imagining God and Other Heretical Notions
Notes, Questions, and Reflections
Tuesday, December 5, 2017

In preparation for this week’s discussion, please think about the Basic Homework Questions as you read it. Mark in your copy of the book or in your notebook which paragraphs pertain to these questions for you. Include your thoughts as to how they pertain to it. You’ll be ready to engage in discussion with the Group.

Then come back to this page and check out the additional questions and thoughts from past courses that St. John’s MCC people have had about the section that are listed below....


Which passages or paragraphs interested or inspired you most from this chapter?

How is it that God can be considered to have the characteristics of a mother?

Pearson’s logic concerning the finite and the infinite (p. 230) helps to form his assertion that God cannot be defined. Yet, how can we understand God if we cannot define God?

How does Pearson explain “the Devil?”

On page 233, Pearson asks, “What if the ‘accuser of the brethren’ is not some supernatural invisible entity with power second only to God, but is instead the law or religious legalism itself, not a man in a red suit with a pitchfork? What if the devil is not a personality, but instead a personification – an idea?” What difference would that make?

How does Pearson’s discussion of the Holy Trinity make you feel? How would you put Pearson’s understanding in your own words?

“When you make your religion your God, you lose the God – and the good – of your religion.” (p. 237) “This usually begins as reverence for the Deity. This slowly deteriorates into control and manipulation, using the so-called will of the Deity to control and manipulate the people, holding them hostage to their fear of the God. God becomes a tool of intimidation for earthly purposes.” (p. 237) Can you affirm this observation from your own experience? How?

“Man knows he cannot control God, but he can control religion because he invented it, and he knows that by doing so he can influence the emotions and minds of those who either believe or dare not admit their disbelief.” When it is put like that, why do we have church at all?

“Jesus came to save us from religion and inspire in us relationship instead.” “He is not competitive and has no need to compete with anyone or anything.”

Chapter Nine: The Gospel of Faith
Notes, Questions, and Reflections
Tuesday, November 21, 2017

In preparation for this week’s discussion, please think about the Basic Homework Questions as you read it. Mark in your copy of the book or in your notebook which paragraphs pertain to these questions for you. Include your thoughts as to how they pertain to it. You’ll be ready to engage in discussion with the Group.

Then come back to this page and check out the additional questions and thoughts from past courses that St. John’s MCC people have had about the chapter that are listed below....


“Try to imagine a world where no one fears hell but everyone recognizes the responsibility to love and live in oneness with God and humankind. This was the plan of Christ and the ultimate reality in God: a peaceful universe and a joyful existence.” (p. 200)

How would that concept enhance your life?

What does Pearson say about the relationship between faith and doubt? What does he think faith is? How does that correspond with what you think the word “faith” means?

When you use the words, “I believe in …,” what do you mean? How would you characterize a person who maintains a “steadfast faith?”

At one point (p. 179), Pearson says, “Faith is the anticipation of the existence of God and God’s blessing. Religion is the quest to systematize that feeling, to organize it under rules and laws.” If that is true, how is Faith useful to us?

 “Many so-called believers believe in a God in whom they are profoundly disappointed, as well as being in profound terror of. They have faith, but is their faith positive and redemptive? Or is it a kind of doomed resignation – a faith that anticipates a cruel, unreasonable, and arbitrary God?” (p. 180) What things do you believe that are redemptive and positive? What do you believe that is punitive and negative?

“In reaching out to others, Christians make the error of assuming that the superiority of our doctrine is self-evident – a mentality that it is disrespectful and counterproductive as well as extremely naive.” (p. 181) Not to mention exceedingly arrogant and vain.

Making the case that the Bible is one of many sources for belief, Pearson says, “I don’t view the Bible as so much the inspired Word of God as the inspired word of men about God.” (p. 182) I would state that just a bit differently: “The Bible is a collection of the words of inspired people about God and God’s people.” But Pearson goes on to say, “And some of the so-called inspired Word is not ‘expired’ and irrelevant.” How does that make you feel?

“One of the reasons religion finds itself increasingly obsolete … is that it refuses to change or evolve with the fabric of human progress, expecting society to change instead.” (p. 183) Have you noticed evidence that what Pearson says is true? What have people said that indicates that they think religion is obsolete? How do you respond to that?

Pearson makes two bold statements on page 184. Beginning with “When I say God is not a Christian, I am not saying that Christ is not God,” and ending with “In a sense, I accept the agnosticism of my faith.” What effect did his argument have on you?

“Does believing make you born again, or does being born again make you a believer?”

“Is it more important that you accept Christ or more likely that God in Christ accepts you?”

“What is the Good News – that we give our lives to Jesus, or that He gave His life for us?”

Pearson says that faith has been replaced by blind faith. (p. 185) Do you see that as true?

If you don’t need faith to be saved (p. 188), then why be a Christian (p. 189) at all?

Pearson discusses the meaning of Hebrews 10:31 on page 195. What truths did you discover in what he said?

How is the account of Jesus healing a man who was deaf in Mark 7 a metaphor for the religious world today? (p. 197)

What trappings of our faith bind us up? What are some of the ritual things that we do at St. John’s that are a detriment to people discovering their own faith?

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Special Events

Oct
18
Oct
26
Discovery Class
9am - 1pm
Oct
28

Upcoming Community Events

Be MCC Banner