Most Bottles Recycled by a Dog
Guinness World Records
Osborne's questions from pp. 191-192 and quotes from him are in red and my answers are in black or blue.
1. What are some of the gifts and callings in your life that you would be most likely to project onto others? I am not sure. Thinking hard here. When I diet and lose weight, I think that everyone should diet and lose weight. I forget that I am not always good at keeping weight off. Or, when I have a consistence prayer and devotional life, I think everyone else should also. Or, when I am generous, I think everyone else should be generous as well. Or when I blog, I think everyone should blog or at least comment on my blog. I have to laugh at hypocritical self. We are all unique and sinners saved by grace, called to be obedient. Obedience isn't determined by others. We all plug along at our sanctification and we do not grow by osmosis or by joining the "perfect" church or by whom we marry or whom we "friend" (new Facebook verb).
2. From your experience, what are some of the most common gifts and callings that tend to be "gift projected" in your church? Not sure how to answer this. To help identify them, think about what typically gets promoted, highlighted, or walled in your church. Seminary and prison ministry. What gifts, ministries, and callings tend to get ignored? Visiting the sick in the hospital; men's and women's Bible studies; Sunday School for all ages. There are reasons they are ignored at this time. We are a small church and people lack time. However, I am pleased to say that we are a nurturing church.
3. Have you ever been guilty of "gift envy," wishing that you had gifts that others possess and failing to value the gifts God has given to you? Osborne says that this is the other side of gift projection. If so, where is that most likely to show up? Can't identify where this would show up in my life. What do you see as the root of these feelings of inferiority or envy? Plain and simple--SIN! Osborne says We're all tempted to define spirituality and discipleship in ways that align perfectly with who we are and what we do (p. 173).
4. Consider the myth of "full-time ministry."
a. Do you tend to attribute more dignity and significance to those who serve in professional ministry. Not really. Actually, I pray for them. If so, why do you think this is so? Osborne writes on p. 177, If you are a Christian, you're in full-time ministry.
b. What could a church do to undercut the myth of full-time ministry and to foster a healthier view of Christian vocation? Ministers maybe can admit their humanity so that we laypeople do not keep them up on a pedestal. I liked it when we consulted with my pastor about fixing up an old car vs. buying another car. He just didn't tell us what to do--he didn't want to be the end-all answer man for us. List as many specific things as you can. Really we need to cut our ministers slack and stop looking to them for our spirituality, when really we are responsible ourselves. We ALL need to be disciples and be disciples full-time.
5. Are you prone to be one of the "money police," or are you more likely to be criticized by one? Probably criticized by one.
a. After reading the chapters in part 7, are there any parts of Scripture that you realize you may have neglected, ignored, or glossed over? That God promised a lighter load, but the Pharisees demanded more.
b. What passages and insights in part 7 did you find to be most challenging or troubling, or that you simply didn't agree with? The section on evangelists. Why? We were all given the challenge of the Great Commission and should be diligent for opportunities. Osborne says it is not his gift!
Larry Osborne ends his book with these four paragraphs that I think are worth noting.
Make no mistake. My warnings about the dangers of an overzealous faith are not meant as a defense of soft and easy Christianity. They are simply a plea that we remain true to the heart of the gospel, offering rest, help, hope, and salvation to the weary and heavy laden.
None of us live a truly righteous life. Even the best of us--even those at the front of the following-Jesus line--fall far short of the righteousness needed to stand before our God. That's what makes grace so amazing. That's what makes the arrogance of today's accidental Pharisees so sad.
There is nothing praiseworthy in a feel-good, lukewarm, consumer Christianity that never asks us to change or do anything. It makes Jesus gag. But we must never forget that there is also nothing praiseworthy in a spiritual zeal that looks down on others or sublimates Jesus' grace and mercy in order to emphasize our radical obedience and sacrifice. That too makes Jesus gag.
Our hope is not in what we do for God. Our hope is in what God has done for us. That's the gospel. That's discipleship in a nutshell. And that's what keeps people like you and me from becoming accidental Pharisees. p. 196
I found on our bookshelf one of my husband's books--Hypocrisy: Moral Fraud and Other Vices, by James S. Spiegel. In a chapter called "At Least I'm Not a Hypocrite" the author describes the skeptic who says "Christians are not really better than anyone else, so don't listen to them." To answer those critics he points out that
1) it is indeed difficult to live the Christian life;
2) Christians are sinners; and
3) Christianity's doctrine of salvation is based on
divine grace rather than human merit. p. 142
Lord, I do not want to make you gag.
I want to be a vessel that shows
your grace in my world.
I want to be a vessel that shows
your grace in my world.