A couple of years ago a few high profile people announced publicly that they were giving up on what they had understood as Christianity. What one of the people, Marty Sampson (a songwriter and performer at Hillsong), wrote at the time caught my attention and this series comes directly out of what he wrote at the time. Here is part of his (now deleted) Instagram announcement:
Time for some real talk. I’m genuinely losing my faith, and it doesn’t bother me. Like, what bothers me now is nothing. I am so happy now, so at peace with the world. It’s crazy. This is a soapbox moment so here I go … How many preachers fall? Many. No one talks about it. How many miracles happen. Not many. No one talks about it. Why is the Bible full of contradictions? No one talks about it. How can God be love yet send four billion people to a place, all ‘coz they don’t believe? No one talks about it. Christians can be the most judgmental people on the planet—they can also be some of the most beautiful and loving people. But it’s not for me. I am not in any more. I want genuine truth. Not the “I just believe it” kind of truth. Science keeps piercing the truth of every religion. Lots of things help people change their lives, not just one version of God. Got so much more to say, but for me, I keeping it real.
Note the repeated phrase: “No one talks about it”. Hmm I thought, he raises good issues, and I think we should talk about them–let’s not be a community that shies away from these real questions people have! Sampson begins by saying it’s time for ‘real talk’, which I’ve used for the title of this series. I’ve highlighted in bold the issues Sampson raise’s, and so here are topics I’ll cover over two periods this year.
Time for real talk…
- How many miracles happen now? Isaiah 40:1-8; Mark 1:40-2:12 (May 2)
- Preachers who fall, Psalm 51, Psalm 146, Mark 10:35-45 (May 9)
- The bible and contradictions, John 21:1-11, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, 2 Timothy 3:10-17 (May 16)
- God’s love and hell Luke 16:19-31 and 22:39-46 (Aug 29)
- Judgmental Christians Matthew 5:1-12; 18:21-35 (Sept 5)
- Science vs. Religion Hebrews 11:1-6, Psalm 46:1-11 (Sept 12)
- Just one God? 1 John 4:1-10, John 3:10-21 (Sept 19)