Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Good Life and The Gospel according to John

Well, I have one lesson left in my Roots series on Colossians at Believers Fellowship, and then I will be on to the next one, The Good Life, based on John. I did this series in an adult Bible fellowship in Dallas at The Heights and it was pretty well received. So, I am going back through John and turning into a bigger, better, sermon series.

I am having a tough time structuring the series because John is such an intricate piece of literature. Last time, I focused on Jesus' encounters with various people in the book, but this time I think I want to go deeper and look at the theology of the narrator. At the same time, I want the series to be practical, emphasizing living "The Good Life," i.e. living counter-culurally for Christ in a suburban culture that emphasizes privacy, status symbols, ambivalence to the poor, ambition, etc.

I have been working a lot with Raymond Brown's ideas this time through, and I am noticing a lot of language in John about "in" crowds and "out" crowds. The Jewish leadership is "out." The world is "out." The disciples are "in," but not all of them (Judas). A lot of the characters want to be "in," but when push comes to shove they show that they are really "out." Peter denies that he is "in," but then later Jesus lets him back "in." I can see how John has been accused of being a racist or a reactionary. (I don't think he was, but I see the basis for the accusation.) As my theology develops, I think I want to start paying more attention to the New Testament writers' use of "in" crowds and "out" crowds, and what that means for us as we are building the kingdom of God.

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