Posts in "Current Events Discussion Group"
Current Events Discussion Group: Environmental Responsibility

“Environmental Responsibility”
May 28th @ 7:00pm, Riverfalls Campus

Mission Statement:
The Current Events Discussion Group (CEDG) exists to explore and evaluate contemporary social, political and cultural issues so that each member may discern and apply their personal faith convictions within their daily lives.
The opinions and views expressed at the CEDG reflect those of the person who gave them and not New Life Church.

Discussion:

We will be reading only part of an article by Michael Bullmore entitled, “The Four Most Important Biblical Passages for a Christian Environmentalism.” Aaron chose the article and created an excerpt that includes the introduction and his treatment of only one of the passages, Genesis 1-2. This truncated version was sent by email to members, but if you are seeing only the blog, you can pick out the portions from the entire article at http://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/Ted_Hildebrandt/OTeSources/01-Genesis/Text/Articles-Books/Bullmore-Environment-Trin.pdf

We can add the other scriptures to our reading list even though Bullmore’s treatment of them will not be included in our reading.
Psalm 104, Genesis 9:8-17, and Romans 8:18.

The second article is decidedly lighter. Entitled “It’s Not Easy Being Green”, this short editorial puts a finger on the political dilemma facing Christians and fueling some thought for questions 3 and 4. (It made me wish I had time to watch the Bill Moyers “Is God Green” series she mentioned.) http://www.christianitytoday.com/tcw/2008/marapr/8.54.html?start=1

We will begin discussion with these questions:

1. In today’s world, what does it look like to “subdue and rule” the earth?
2. Do we have the right to simply use the resources of the earth or
the responsibility protect and preserve them?
3. How do we draw the line between care for the earth and care for people?
4. Why should (or shouldn’t) Christians care about the environment?
Is there a distinctly Christian position on the environment?
5. If someone believes that the end times are imminent, does that change our
responsibility to the earth?
Current Events Discussion Group for February
This month's topic is “Poverty” and will meet on February 26th at 7:00pm at the Riverfalls Campus.

Last month’s discussion on “Creation meets Evolution” was peaceful yet spirited and it was exciting to see some new faces as well as the faithful. The meeting went so long we failed to choose the next subject, as is our habit, so after much personal debate (and some help from Tom Elliott), the subject for the CEDG discussion this month will be “What is the Christian’s roll in addressing poverty?” This subject is convicting. We touched on it briefly in our first meeting (about choosing a president) so I feel confident there will be much to discuss.

Mission Statement:
The Current Events Discussion Group (CEDG) exists to explore and evaluate contemporary social, political and cultural issues so that each member may discern and apply their personal faith convictions within their daily lives.The opinions and views expressed at the CEDG reflect those of the person who gave them and not New Life Church.

Discussion Questions:
1) What were Jesus’ commands concerning the poor? Were they directed at the individual or the church?
2) Is it the responsibility of the government to care for impoverished people? And if so is our government adequately fighting poverty? Could churches be doing a better job?
3) In your opinion, what are the root causes of poverty? What are some common opinions of the prominent aid organizations? What does the Bible say about this?
4) How does one balance going the second mile vs. tough love?

Preparation:
The reading will include an article by John Piper entitled “World Hunger and Us” which gives some statistics and background about world poverty as well as his perspective on Christian responsibility.
http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1981/317_World_Hunger_and_Us/
I may add a second article in the next few days.
There are so many scriptures on caring for the poor. Here are a few to look up. Likely there will be others that support your answers to the questions above. Please bring the references with you for the discussion.
Matt 25:31-46, Matt 5:40-42, James 2:14-17, Proverbs 14:31
Thank everyone for your continued interest in the discussion group. I hope to see many of you there in a couple of weeks.

Contact Information:
For more information on CEDG procedures or for an Information Packet addressing this month’s topic contact Tiffani Howard.
CEDG Topic for January: Creation Meets Evolution
This group will meet on January 22nd at 7:00pm at the Riverfalls Campus.

This subject tends to brew controversy and contention. Our hope is that the articles listed below and the discussion to follow will be received with open minds and hearts providing an opportunity to learn more about God’s amazing world.

Mission Statement:
The Current Events Discussion Group (CEDG) exists to explore and evaluate contemporary social, political and cultural issues so that each member may discern and apply their personal faith convictions within their daily lives.The opinions and views expressed at the CEDG reflect those of the person who gave them and not New Life Church.

Discussion Questions:
1) Does acknowledging evolution necessitate giving up Christianity? Why or why not?
2) What did or would Jesus say about the conflict? Was Christ in conflict with the scientists of his time?
3) The last line of Henry Morris article quotes “Since the Bible cannot be reinterpreted to correlate with evolution, Christians must diligently proceed to correlate the facts of science with the Bible.” Do you agree?
4) Do science and religion attempt to answer the same questions (what are they)? And if so, how could Christians be the voice of peace between the warring factions?

Preparation:
Scripture Reading: Genesis 1 and 2. Isaiah 45:1-18 is a different and interesting look at how God feels about His creation. Also, Colossians 1:15-17 and
John 1:1-5.
Read these two articles from very different points of view. http://www.icr.org/article/evolution-bible/
http://books.nap.edu/html/11876/SECbrochure.pdf

The first is from the director of the Institute for Creation Research, Dr. Henry Morris. He lists the current theistic evolutionary theories that attempt to accommodate evolution within the framework of creation. He describes why he believes these theories are false and dangerous, suggesting that literal biblical creationism outweighs scientific theory. The second article is from the National Academy of Science and represents the current opinions of the majority of the scientific world on evolution. This article suggests that science and religion offer different ways of understanding our world, and that since creationism is not based on fact it cannot be labeled (or taught) as a scientific theory.
Pick and answer one of the Discussion Questions from the list above. Be prepared to give a 4-5 minute defense/presentation of your answer (i.e., less than one page written).
Consult at least two additional media sources dealing with the question you've chosen. These sources must reflect two varying/opposing answers to the question and they must be from reputable sources.
We look forward to PEACEFULLY and INTELLECTUALLY discussing this fiery subject.

Contact Information:
For more information on CEDG procedures and for an Information Packet addressing this month’s topic contact Tiffani Howard.

Upcoming Monthly Topics:
Is America a “Christian Nation”? • Evangelical Environmentalism • Christianity and the Israeli State • Old Testament Wars vs. Modern Wars
Why the “Beautiful Things” are Most Dangerous
I’m about halfway through Shane Clairborne & Chris Haw’s ironically titled Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals. It’s a pretty fast read, thanks especially to the book’s relentless graphic design (check the web-site out, you'll see what I mean). The book isn’t without its share of controversy (just Google the title and read the blogs), but the following quote really struck me.

It’s the beautiful things that get us. Perhaps the greatest seduction is not the ANTI-GOD, but the ALMOST*GOD. Poisonous fruit can look pretty tasty. That’s what is so dangerous about ideas like FREEDOM, PEACE AND JUSTICE. They are all seductive qualities, close to the heart of God. After all, it’s the beautiful things we kill and die for. And it’s the beautiful we market, exploit, brand and counterfeit.

WE FIND OURSELVES POSSESSED BY OUR POSSESSIONS . . .

and enslaved by the pursuit of freedom. Nations fighting for peace end up perpetuating the very violence they seek to destroy. Serpents are slippery and slimy things.

MOST of the ugliness in the human narrative comes from a distorted quest to possess beauty. COVETING begins with appreciating blessing. MURDER begins with a hunger for justice. LUST begins with a recognition of beauty. GLUTTONY begins when our enjoyment of the delectable gifts of GOD starts to consume us. IDOLATRY begins when our seeing a reflection of God in something beautiful leads to our thinking that the beautiful image bearer is worthy of WORSHIP (pg. 26).
Current Events Discussion Group - November
“Separation of Church and State”
November 20th @ 7:00pm, Riverfalls Campus


Mission Statement:
The Current Events Discussion Group (CEDG) exists to explore and evaluate contemporary social, political and cultural issues so that each member may discern and apply their personal faith convictions within their daily lives.

The opinions and views expressed at the CEDG reflect those of the person who gave them and not New Life Church.

The CEDG will be meeting will be the third Thursday of the month at least for November and December to avoid the holidays.
Discussion Questions:
  1. How did the concept of “separation of church and state” evolve in America and why?
  2. Does “separation” demand that governing officials ignore their religious convictions to make decisions affecting public policy (i.e., how secular must/can a secular state be)?
  3. How does the current level of “separation” degrade or benefit Christian/religious goals? Does this warrant a change in current practices?
  4. Is the gospel a spiritual message, a political message or both? How should this understanding shape the way Christians (and/or the church) interact with the state?
Contact Information:
For more information on CEDG procedures and for an Information Packet addressing this month’s topic contact Tiffani Howard: 503.223.6357 or tiffani@howardink.com
Required Preparation
  1. Scripture Reading: Romans 13:1-7 and Mark 12:13-17
  2. Read the following articles:
    America’s Two Foundings by Mark Noll
    Separation of Church and State in the United States by Wikipedia
  3. Pick and answer one of the Discussion Questions from the list above. Be prepared to give a 4-5 minute defense/presentation of your answer (i.e., less than one page written).
  4. Consult at least two additional media sources dealing with the question you've chosen. These sources must reflect two varying/opposing answers to the question and they must be from reputable, evangelical sources.
  5. If you do not complete the required preparation before the CEDG meeting then you may only participate in the discussion/questioning portion of the meeting.
Upcoming Monthly Topics:
Creation Meets Evolution • Is America a “Christian Nation”? • Evangelical Environmentalism • Christianity and the Israeli State • Old Testament Wars vs. Modern Wars
Current Events Discussion Group - October
“How do you pick a presidential candidate?”
October 23rd @ 7:00pm, Riverfalls Campus

Mission Statement:
The Current Events Discussion Group (CEDG) exists to explore and evaluate contemporary social, political and cultural issues so that each member may discern and apply their personal faith convictions within their daily lives.

The opinions and views expressed at the CEDG reflect those of the of the person who gave them and not New Life Church.

The CEDG will be meeting the fourth Thursday of every month.
Discussion Questions:
  1. What social and political issues are relevant to choosing a candidate?
  2. Does one issue carry more weight than others? Why?
  3. What can we learn from Jesus and Paul’s interactions with political power?
  4. How should a candidate’s moral and religious commitments effect your vote?
Contact Information:
For more information on CEDG procedures and for a required Information Packet addressing this month’s topic contact Tiffani Howard: 503.223.6357 or tiffani@howardink.com
Required Preparation
  1. Scripture Reading: Romans 13:1-7, 1 Timothy 2:1-4 & Deuteronomy 17:14-20
  2. Read the following articles:
    How to Pick a President by Daniel Taylor & Mark McCloskey
    In the Booth, Not of the Booth by Adam Smith
  3. Pick and answer one of the Discussion Questions from the list above. Be prepared to give a 4-5 minute defense/presentation of your answer (i.e., less than one page written).
  4. Consult at least two additional media sources dealing with the question you've chosen. These sources must reflect two varying/opposing answers to the question and they must be from reputable, evangelical sources.
  5. If you do not complete the required preparation before the CEDG meeting then you may only participate in the discussion/questioning portion of the meeting.
Upcoming Monthly Topics:
Church and State • Creation Meets Evolution • Is American a “Christian Nation”? • Evangelical Environmentalism • Christianity and the Israeli State • Old Testament Wars vs. Modern Wars