After seven Sundays working on a Red Letter Study—the direct sayings and teachings of Jesus from a first century Hebrew/Aramaic perspective—questions, concerns, and resistances were surfacing from people in our community. It seemed a good moment to stop presenting new material and take some time to consolidate and clarify the material we’ve been processing these past two months, so this Sunday, we held a live question and answer session in place of a message/teaching to see what was on people’s minds.
Right off the bat, this is not a “bible answer man” scenario carrying the implication that there is one “right” way to interpret the Bible and one “right” Christian doctrine and understanding of that doctrine that makes everyone and everything else wrong. This is meant to be a real conversation about confusing spiritual and doctrinal issues that impact us on a daily basis, to at least clarify the reconstruction of Jesus’ Aramaic meaning being discussed at theeffect, and to remove as many obstacles as possible to each person’s ability to engage their own journey to transformative truth.
When it comes to spiritual matters, all we can ever do is tell each other what we are convinced of and the reasons and justifications for those convictions. There is no objective certainty in spiritual matters, but the process of searching for truth brings increasing personal conviction that metastasizes as trust. Trust without certainty is a pretty good definition of faith, because conviction-become-trust is what allows us to risk action in the presence of doubt. And sharing our journeys and convictions helps us confront uncertainty and move past it.
That’s point of having these Conversations, and the questions and comments this Sunday went far beyond the Red Letter material to issues that stand right at the heart of the Christian faith tradition. We barely scratched the surface, so we will repeat the same format next Sunday, and see how deep the rabbit hole goes.