Here at concord we're going to be talking throughout the easter season at the book of Acts and the ways that the disciples had to choose bold action when Jesus
was resurrected and their life turned upside down. They had to dare to do different.
The scripture today is from Philippians chapter four.
I have been listening to a new podcast that's out. It's called the confessional and it's from a Lutheran pastor Nadia Boltz-Weber. She and I don't see eye to eye on everything theologically, we don't see eye to eye on how to read the Bible but I have learned by listening to her viewpoint.
She grew up in a in a fundamentalist Pentecostal church. She learned in that church to be an either/or thinker, dualistic in her thinking, either one or the other thing could be right so, either I’m right and you're wrong or you're right and I’m wrong. There's no way that I’m wrong and so everything became an either/or. Everything was black and white for her.
She was talking in this last episode with Josh Harris who grew up in a similar environment. He wrote a book defending that environment and now as an adult, at 45/46 he has started to question that thought process, that dualistic thinking of one versus the other.
They were talking about how what this dualistic thinking caused in them was actually a split. There was always some sort of divide in their own spirits between themselves and others and between themselves and themselves. They couldn't listen to the voice of God because they always had these rules, the structure, this either or mentality. As they've grown older, they've changed their thought patterns.
What has been the most helpful for them is to think about being whole how do I unite those parts of myself, those parts of myself that are experiencing the world in a particular way and the parts of myself that constantly bring pain because of the way I think or view the world. For them they said that it was realizing that this dualistic thinking, this either/or approach to reading the bible, this approach to thinking about God was causing harm.
This thought pattern was causing them pain, it was causing harm to themselves and their relationships and their family and that instead they chose to view the Bible in a different way. They are going to read the bible and look for how God spoke to them, how God speaks today into their time and to break out of some of those rules and structures that they'd given themselves.
i just hadn't thought about that in a long time, the ways that we limit God, the ways that we limit our ability to experience God because we've set up rules for God and how God can act in the world. We aren't open to new possibilities or to hearing God's voice in a different way.
It causes us pain, it causes us to be divided within ourselves. Paul here reminds us that that's not what faith should be. Faith should be something that brings us peace and unity within ourselves.