Monday, November 24, 2008

Endings are always beginnings

We reached the end of our journey through Christian Hope yesterday morning. And I think it's fair to say that I've never had such a response to a teaching series. Overwhelmingly, people have talked about how the series has 'put the lights on', connected things they didn't realise were connected and opened vistas of the future that have a profound influence on the present.

Apart from basking in the glow of a well-received series - always nice! - more importantly, it suggests to me that there is a appetite for serious, applied Bible teaching. There are lots of people who want to think about their faith, think about how Christian teaching as well as our experience of Christ impacts our daily living and conversation. This is hugely encouraging to a minister!

We also came to the end of our series on 1 Peter yesterday. As part of an evening service during which we commissioned Clare, our new youth worker, we reflected on what lessons we've learned from reading Peter's wonderful letter. Preparing this series has certainly opened my eyes afresh to how the followers of Jesus relate to one another and the society in which we live. It's left me with lots of things to reflect on regarding social ethics and community life.

I'll probably blog on it at some point. As someone who writes as well as preaches, I think there are books, study guides or something in both these series. I'm sure there are lots of others out there producing good teaching that leaves a mark on its audience that would benefit from wider distribution. Sadly, the publishers seem less interested in such material these days. Am I the only one who has noted that good Bible study material is getting harder to come by? (Or is this just me slipping effortlessly into grumpy old mandom?!)


Bob said...

Simon - as someone who has just started a series in 1 Peter, I for one would be delighted if you happened to blog about it! And you're right about the dearth of good study material. But we've found that there is a huge variety of expectation when we try to find small group material. Some groups really are looking for 'fill in the blanks' questions; others for provocative stuff that isn't always 'orhodox', but gets them talking; still others for detailed but 'by the Book' material. One size fits all seems really tough.

If you can't be bothered to blog 1 Peter, consider just sending me the notes ;)

simon said...

Hi Bob,
I found doing 1 Peter such a blast. All my study notes (plus audio from the series) is on our website
Feel free to make use of it - I'd be interested to know what you think.
I shall be blogging some reflections in due course.

Angela said...

Thus far, I'm enjoying greatly Bob's series [although I noticed that it was MY turn to do the reading when we got to the submissive wives verse!]
Simon- I shall make sure that if he uses any of your stuff, you get due credit!!

simon said...

Thanks, Angela. I'll be interested to see what you make of my reading of 1 Peter 3!

Angela said...

I have enjoyed reading your notes too, Simon - thanks for the link. You made the point [as did Bob] that Peter was writing at a time when women were regarded as 'possessions' of their husbands - and those with unbelieving husbands had a special responsibility to live in such a way that their husbands were won to Christ. His comments to husbands seem to be a little 'softer'[no reference to unbelieving wives] - is that an assumption that a wife would automatically accept her man's religion as her own?
Read together with Ephesians 5 it is great advice for a happy marriage anyway.

simon said...

Peter only seems to talk specifically to the believing wives of non-Christian husbands (3:1-6) and husbands where both partners are Christians (3:7).
Whether the assumption in the latter case is that, because the husband is a Christian, the whole household would be, is difficult to tell.
But I think reading Peter's advice through Volf's prism of 'soft sifference' shows that Peter was being savvy and pastorally pretty sensitive to all parties.
Glad you're finding the material useful.