I guess it’s more or less obvious after months of posting that I spent a good chunk of last semester giving talks on the Sermon on the Mount.
It was challenging, exciting, confronting, challenging, inspiring, and did I mention challenging?
Here are the resources I leaned on in putting together these talks:
As I reflect on the series, two overriding themes emerge.
The first theme is my attempt to apply the Affirmation And Antithesis model of cultural engagement laid out by James Davison Hunter in his important book, To Change The World.
Each week I set myself the challenging of engaging a group or ‘live issue’ on campus or in the wider society, highlighting the radical and often surprising way Jesus would speak to that issue (as best I could determine from the Sermon on the Mount), and opening up the conversation to see where it took us.
So we explored what Jesus would say to The Socialist Alternative, The Secular Society, The Islamic Society, and even the Christian Union. We tried to tune in to what he’d say about Indigenous Reconciliation, Lady GaGa, and our career plans. And we didn’t shy away from considering what he’d say to us.
It was a hoot!
The second theme is the strengthening of my existing conviction that a Christian ethic proclaims and embodies the gospel.
Spending so much time sitting at Jesus’ feet — and listening to the direct and uncompromising words of his mouth — drove me to appreciate his goodness and his grace all the more (and not in an ‘Oh, my gosh – how can we possibly live up to that? We’ll need to throw ourselves on his mercy’ kind of way).
To the students and staff of the La Trobe Christian Union, thanks for bearing with me and letting me lay some occasionally off-the-wall stuff on you. And thanks for chipping in, sharpening me up, and carrying the conversation forward.
I pray that the Lord will continue to show us how we can find our truest and best humanity by entrusting ourselves to him and walking ever more confidently in his ways.