Christlife Posture: Trusting God's Wisdom

Topic: Unanswered Questions about Christianity

 

Suggested Approach: Choose 1 thing from each of the three boxes

OR Choose 1 from Media or Reflection + 1 from Scripture 

Media Excursions (Watch/read/listen and be ready to discuss Q's)

Still Image/Painting

  • Christ Instructing Nicodemus (Crijn-Hendricksz.-Volmarijn) How do you think Nicodemus felt about bringing his questions to Jesus?  What do you think the artist is trying to convey to us through each of their facial expressions? Use of hand gestures? How do you feel about having questions?

Video Clip

  • Dear God (Freedom Church) Is it okay for this little girl to have these questions? How would you have encouraged her in the midst of her questions? In the last letter, she exhibits faith.  Do you think her faith is just the naivety of a child or the childlike faith Jesus talked about in Matthew 18?

Song

  • Head to My Heart (Elenowen) How far apart do your head and heart seem to be in matters of faith? What makes it difficult for your head and heart to match?

Article 

Online Resources

  • Best Apologetic Twitter Feeds to follow

  • Good Questions Tab (InterVarsity Student Soul) 25+ questions and discussions about faith. 

  • Case for Christ (Film Trailer) Which questions brought up in this video are ones you struggle with?  What questions were not brought up? Does Lee Strobel’s approach to getting answers parallel any steps you have taken?

  • Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.  See this list of links to youtube videos on various questions (more on the left-hand menu). Or visit the home page to see the menu for exploring a wide range of issues and questions. 

  • Reasons to Believe: Where Science and Faith Converge (RTB) There are three starting places: "I Believe", " I Doubt", and "I Disbelieve".  Especially geared toward questions of faith and science. 

Reflection Options  

Journal  (reflect on one or more of these questions)

  • Ask three mature, faithful Christians about a doubt or a question they had about Christianity and how they resolved it.  Write about what was helpful to you in hearing their experiences.

  • What makes it hardest for you to believe the answers given to your questions about faith: a. My feelings don’t seem to match the logic or reason, b. If I believe this, I might have to change my behavior; or c. the logic or the reasons given for this answer do not seem intellectually satisfying.  If the answer is different for different questions you may have, make note of all of them.

  • Does it seem to you to be more admirable if a person has questions about their faith but is genuinely seeking answers, or if a person has questions but is able to trust God by faith in the midst of them (so doesn’t actively seek answers)? Why does your choice seem more admirable to you?

Quote Interaction (Interact by agreeing, disagreeing or otherwise engaging with the quote/quotes)

  • Thou didst seek us when we sought Thee not; didst seek us indeed that we might seek Thee. (Augustine)

  • An “impersonal God” – well and good. A subjective God of beauty, truth and goodness, inside our own head – better still. A formless life-force surging through us, a vast power which we can tap – best of all. But God Himself, alive, pulling at the other end of the cord, perhaps, approaching an infinite speed, the hunter, king, husband – that is quite another matter. There comes a moment when the children who have been playing at burglars hush suddenly: Was that a real footstep in the hall? There comes a moment when people who have been dabbling in religion (“Man’s search for God!”) suddenly draw back. Supposing we really found Him? We never meant it to come to that! Worse still, supposing He had found us? (C.S. Lewis)

  • Doubt is natural within faith. It comes because of our human weakness and frailty… Unbelief is the decision to live your life as if there is no God. It is a deliberate decision to reject Jesus Christ and all that he stands for. But doubt is something quite different. Doubt arises within the context the faith. It is a wistful longing to be sure of the things in which we trust. But it is not and need not be a problem. (Alister McGrath)

  • If you keep burning the candle at both ends, sooner or later you will indulge in more and more mean cynicism – and the line between cynicism and doubt is a very thin one. Of course, different individuals require different numbers of hours of sleep: moreover, some cope with a bit of tiredness better than others. Nevertheless, if you are among those who become nasty, cynical, or even full of doubt when you are missing your sleep, you are morally obligated to try to get the sleep you need. We are whole, complicated beings; our physical existence is tied to our spiritual well-being, to our mental outlook, to our relationships with others, including our relationship with God. Sometimes the godliest thing you can do in the universe is get a good night’s sleep – not pray all night, but sleep. I’m certainly not denying that there may be a place for praying all night; I’m merely insisting that in the normal course of things, spiritual discipline obligates you get the sleep your body needs. (D.A. Carson)

Reading & Reflection from the book, Shaping The Journey of Emerging Adults

  • Read “A Mission Critical Urgency” (pp. 15-17).  Look especially at the 5 characteristics of the post-adolescent journey.  Do those characteristics seem to set one up for stability or for questioning?  How do you feel about that?

  • MENTOR: Read “Responding to the Emerging Adult’s Challenges” (pp. 39-41).  How comfortable are you with other people questioning Christianity or its concepts? What perspective on this did you gain from this section that will help you walk with others in their questions?

  • Read about Cody’s story (pp. 109-110). How do your questions about faith interact with your search for a relational identity? How do your questions differentiate you from your family/parents? How are they a result of family dynamics?

  • Read Grant and Karen’s stories as well as “Cultural Challenges: Spiritual Erosion” (pp. 126-130). What kinds of spiritual erosion factors have contributed to creating or unearthing your questions?

  • Read “Challenge emerging adults to explore and resolve spiritual doubts” (p. 139). Which of the doubt to faith stories of the persons named are you familiar with? Look up some resources on apologetics that you can share next time you meet.

  • Read “Everyday priorities” and “Living in a diverse world” (pp. 194-197). How has leading a busy life or awareness of diversity or global issues been a contributor in creating your questions about faith?

 Explore Scripture

Meditate on one or more of the following passages. Always look them up in context.  Take some time to really explore the verse in relation to this topic.  Does scripture depict faith as easy or automatic? What did you learn about questions/questioning?  Make a note of what you discover to share later.  See "Learn More About Ways to Study Scripture" below for help in getting the most out of the verse.

  • Job chapter 38

  • Isaiah 55:8-9

  • Habakkuk (3 chapters)

  • Matthew 11:2-3

  • Luke 24:13-34

  • John 3:1-21

  • 1 Corinthians 13:12

  • Hebrews 4:16

  • James 1:5-6