Sunday, November 13, 2005

Apocalyptic Scripture, Teenagers, and Flat Irons

The retreat was awesome just as expected. Didn't even get the chance to crack open "Blue Like Jazz" which is a good thing because it means I spent every waking moment interacting and not isolating. Sometimes I do that.

The lessons on apocalyptic scripture were challenging and enlightening. A very strong case was made for the fact that the "Left Behind" scenario is way off base. I'd been coming to that conclusion for a while now. To sum it up, the basic premise of the teaching is that we are not waiting to escape to heaven but that heaven is coming to us. The concept of escaping earth to go to heaven was not a part of Jewish writing or teaching. God will set things right and establish his kingdom on earth. Jehovah will be our king and we will all be set free from the bondage and oppression of this present age just as He's done time and time again throughout scripture for His people. Only this time, it will be final. He also did a great job of helping the kids understand that this present state we are in is "less real" than the physical newness that we'll experience in the age to come. He brought to our attention the way Jesus kept appearing after his resurrection and seemed to walk through walls. His point was that Jesus was able to do that not because he was "ghost-like" but because this world was "ghost-like" to him. He had become "more real" than anything here on this earth.

The teenagers were awesome. Here's the thing about teenagers. They do live in their own worlds and are, for the most part, incredibly self-centered. But, if you take the time to relate to them, understand them, take them seriously and care about them, they not only teach you things, but they, without even trying, will affirm you as well. They are also fun to be around and hilarious. Their energy is contagious. My favorite activity of the weekend was this...groups of 4 to 6 were handed lyrics to songs from the 80's. Things like, "Total Eclipse of the Heart", "West End Girls", and "Down Under" to name a few. The groups had to make up a tune and perform the songs. So many of them turned 80's pop tunes into Gangsta Rap. Then we'd play the real thing and they'd perform again, lip-syncing. I can't remember when I've laughed harder.

I also made an important personal discovery this weekend. Curling irons are OUT, flatirons are IN. Not one girl there had a curling iron but every one of them had a flatiron. I gotta get one.


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Robert said...

"West End Girls", and "Down Under" to gangsta rap? I feel so OLD! ;-D

This sounds like an interesting get together. I had a related discussion about the hereafter with my coworkers. About 40% of my office is Jewish, another 40% Christian, and 20% for the rest of us. Somebody said that Jews differ from Christians in that Jews believe once one is dead, one is dead and that only when the Messiah comes will the Jews rise and go into a new Jerusalem. There is no concept of one dying and going to heaven at time of death.

I stated that I thought that actually Christians and Muslims have a similar view, but that instead there is death and a collective judgment after the return of the Messiah. It dawned on me that this collective notion that we have of a soul going to heaven directly after death might be some remnant of an ancient Roman view of death. Any thoughts Grace?

grace said...

I'm not sure about the Roman view of death but I guess that's certainly a possibility. What I do believe is that Gentiles, particularly anglo Gentiles, have "highjacked" the message of Christianity and pulled it too far away from it's Jewish roots and context.
I'm pressed for time right now but maybe I'll have more to say about it later. As always, good to hear from you. Thanks for the insight!