Mike Cope's blog

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Yesterday I got to begin Mark's gospel with a classful of eighteen and nineteen year olds. "The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ." It is holy ground. My interest in teaching is more about formation and transformation than just about information (as important as that is). Some will see that Christianity isn't just signing your name to a creed and shopping around to find the hottest church with the hottest worship and the most to offer. Some will see that it is a Way. A way of suffering. A way of love. A way of power-in-powerlessness. A way of concern for "the least among us." A way of mission. A way of service. A way of forgiveness. A way of long obedience. Really, it's a dangerous thing to teach the gospels. What if . . . well, what if some students took it seriously? What if they decided not to explain it away or dumb it down? What if they decided to follow the Way of Christ for a lifetime? What if -- without condemning others around them who've made different choices -- they chose not to live with a polite, domesticated version of the story of Jesus? It's enough to make a professor wake up early and pray!!

12 Comments:

  • William Willimon says, "When was the last time we stood up after a sermon and said, 'This is a hard teaching. But who else has the words of eternal life?'" Don Everts has a wonderful book on Jesus called "Jesus with Dirty Feet."

    By Blogger c, at 9/14/2004 06:20:00 AM  

  • Okay, 4:41 a.m. is not "early." It's the butt-crack of dawn, bright and ugly. Gah. Are you sure God is even awake yet?

    Historically, getting people to take the gospel seriously hasn't been good for the proponents of that idea... Are you sure it's in your contract?

    By Blogger Q, at 9/14/2004 06:49:00 AM  

  • I heard Jim Woodroof say again this past week:
    "The Gospels give us the POWER to do what is in the Letters". AMEN!

    If our walk is based on anything other than Jesus of Nazareth that we find in the Gospels, then it is a counterfeit walk.

    Thanks for reminding us!
    DU

    By Blogger David U, at 9/14/2004 07:37:00 AM  

  • I agree w/ Q ~ if the sun hasn't been shining on the central time zone of this beauriful earth for at least three hours, there's no need to even think of rolling out of bed. Let alone blogging. On the other hand, staying up until the wee hours and then blogging is perfectly fine.

    OK, um... well. How do I say this? "Holy crap", "butt", "ass", & "butt-crack" ~ all on a minister's blog & comments w/in the past week or so. Isn't it interesting how we feel this certain level of comfort in our... umm.... potty mouthery? (Myself included.) Just wondering if anyone else had noticed.

    By Blogger Mae, at 9/14/2004 07:49:00 AM  

  • Thanks for challenging us. That's good stuff.

    By Blogger lela, at 9/14/2004 08:32:00 AM  

  • Sorry, particularly if I offended anybody. "Butt-crack of dawn" and "bright and ugly" have been the way my brother and I have referred to those unsightly hours of the morning for....well, forever, I think. I don't think either one of us actually considers the words we're saying when we say it, either... It's all just kind of one big word. We're very German in that respect, squishing 'em all together until there's an unidentifiable mass of alphabet that passes for some vocabularily viable utterance. ^_^

    By Blogger Q, at 9/14/2004 10:17:00 AM  

  • It's alright, Q...at least you didn't go and get all Pauline on us. I think anyone who took Greek as a sophomore or freshman knows exactly which word I am talking about.

    I think I used the phrase "butt-crack" of dawn in my chapel talk at Harding one year. Or maybe it was an Uplift devo...

    By Blogger Greg Kendall-Ball, at 9/14/2004 11:53:00 AM  

  • I didn't mean to sound as if I was being critical or seeking an apology ~ quite the opposite actually. My meaning was lost in typing, I guess. Just drawing attention to the level of comfort that has been opened by Mike to express our thoughts, personalities and emotions. Does that make more sense? Sorry! :)

    By Blogger Mae, at 9/14/2004 01:21:00 PM  

  • Oh Mike-
    It has been my constant prayer for the living gospel to be taught at ACU. Not theology, not knowledge, but the very life of life. The very thing we were made for. I've never been in your class but have been in two others and they both pretty much denied the work of the Holy Spirit. Shame on them. I pray as you do every Sunday that the Holy Spirit pour himself through you. That you surrender your tongue and your mind to his leading.

    My comment to Q is that God does the most awesome things in the night. And yes, he hears our prayers 24 hours a day. I guess night is so good because that's the only time when our mind isn't going 90 to nothin. We aren't drowning out his voice with mindless chatter and clutter airways. We actually hear his still small voice. I pray that he will enrich your early morning hours with a nudge and a new filling with his wine. Bless you Q.

    Dianne

    By Blogger Dianne, at 9/15/2004 07:36:00 PM  

  • Bless you, Dianne!

    I am glad you found your way to Blogville and took the time to post.

    --Serena

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 9/16/2004 06:48:00 PM  

  • Hi Wade,

    This has only a remote tie to your post, the fact that you are talking about teaching God's word. I have felt lead to start a blog to help pastors, teachers and others communicate truth about God so I thought I'd pass it on. Its at : http://images2d.blogspot.com/

    I hope its helpful to you. If so, please feel free to use anything you find on it in any way that helps His "kingdom come."

    God Bless!

    By Blogger anon, at 9/17/2004 08:29:00 PM  

  • Interesting -- I just started a group of high school students on the beginning of Mark's gospel as well. They said of their class, "We don't want anything too structured." No danger of that!

    How to guide a generation who doesn't read, when your own approach, even identity, is based on written word? Not that they have anything against the Bible specifically, they just don't read ANYTHING unless they have to.

    It is striking me as new, though I have read it many times, "I baptize you in water, another is coming after me... he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit. One would think since this is alluded to six times in the Gospels and Acts, that it MIGHT BE important.

    I hope I can help the light go on.

    Michael

    By Blogger mchristophoros, at 9/20/2004 10:49:00 PM  

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