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Difficult Questions: Hell

Difficult Questions: Hell 20 September 2015
Texts: Isaiah 14:12-20; Psalm 139:1-18; Revelation 6:1-8; Luke 12:1-12
The Top 10 Things to Know about Hell
10. About 99% of the images in your head of hell- the red demon with a pointed tail, the levels of suffering, the pit of fire, the presence of those who never knew Christ, the darkness, AND the eternal wailing and torment (plus the image of Judas in hell)- are all from Dante’s The Divine Comedy (or The Inferno). His writing was a piece of political literature that condemned powers of his day that he didn’t like. It also was Dante’s way of confirming himself as a poet for the ages by using the poet Virgil, who lived and died before Jesus, as his guide. Additionally, Dante’s work was a distillation of Greek and Roman mythology, some alleged gospels from the second, third, and fourth centuries, and one other work that had serious influence in Dante’s lifetime. The majority of the artwork about hell is not from Biblical interpretation, but is …

Consent

Rape culture is a phrase that causes defensiveness in many people from across a wide spectrum of society, particularly Western society. No person or group wants to be identified as condoning or endorsing rape. Yet, if a society has a history or habit of

- blaming victims,
- failing to prosecute perpetrators,
- prosecuting sex workers instead of johns,
- sex negativity about assertive behavior in a specific gender or sexual expression,
- commodification of bodies (especially particular kinds of bodies) for the purposes of selling anything and everything,
- trivializing rape, trivializing self-control of one's own body, and/or
- failure to societally reject sexual predators...

the presence of any or all of these indicates rape culture. Whether it is part of a national culture, a school, a social organization, a religious group, a housing situation, or any other social setting, this kind of behavior is unacceptable.

For non-Christians or non-believers, this kind of behavior ought to …

Difficult Questions: Judgment

Texts: Amos 5:18-24; Psalm 9:1-12; Revelation 20:11-15; 21:5-8; Luke 11:14-23, 29-32   

       Imagine that you are an Olympic athlete. You’ve trained for years and years. You’ve fallen and gotten up more times than you can remember or even estimate. When you finally make it, there are the judges waiting and watching you. Their eyes catch every twitch, every flinch, every false start, every slip, every stroke. If you are in a sport that requires speed, your timing is everything. If you are in a sport that requires assessment for skill and technique- the judges decide your fate.
For some reason, we who dare to believe in God, the one creator of all that is, seem to picture God in this same way. Even the most grace-oriented people I know have an image of God as the ultimate judge, watching our performance. At the end of all our days, all our events, when we reach the judge’s platform, we anticipate watching for the card with our score. Did we achieve gold (as in golden streets) or did we…