I started the sermon giving some examples from pop culture of how we generally portray or think about hell today - from Far Side cartoons with a red devil and pitchfork, to AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" song and then showed a clip from an episode of Seinfeld which is the one where Puddy (Elaine's boyfriend) becomes a "Christian" and listens to Christian music on the radio but then he emotionlessly makes comments to Elaine how she is going to hell and he isn't. He then asks her to steal his neighbors newspaper and he says something like "you're the one going to hell not me, so you might as well steal it". And then she explodes and starts whacking him with the newspaper and says: "If I am going to hell, you should care that I'm going to hell." I addressed that when we talk about "hell" it should not be done out of Christian trivia interest or curiosity - but as Elaine stated - if we believe in "hell" then we should be caring about people as why we study this. I specifically stated that only God knows people's eternal destinies and that we cannot say who is or isn't going to hell. It is not a subject to treat lightly or something to ignore. The subject of hell and judgment is written in many places in the New Testament, so I really don't see how we can be skipping it or ignoring the exploration of what these Scriptures and teachings mean. I am not sure how pastors or churches can't address the topic of hell and judgment because of its frequency of being mentioned in the New Testament. I feel odd blogging about hell. But if we do believe in hell, and we believe that people are created in God's image who would then be experiencing judgment and hell - it should make us grieve, and hurt, be in great concern, care, praying, and doing whatever possible we can to be on the mission of Jesus living out and communicating the gospel to people.Here's the deal... the reason I'm still writing about same-sex marriage is the same reason Dan was writing about hell. If I truly believe that any kind of sexual behavior outside of one man/one woman marriage is sinful & destructive, then if I love people, I'm going to speak up about it. You may not like what I have to say - you may disagree violently. Heck, you may agree with me but wish I hadn't brought it up because you don't want to think about it or deal with it. But you need to understand that the motivation behind this is NOT hating homosexuals but loving people (hopefully with Christ's love) and wanting them to have the best possible shot at holiness, happiness & wholeness. I want to paraphrase Dan as a challenge to those folks who are campaigning for the Protect Marriage amendment: if we do believe in marriage, and we believe that people are created in God's image who would then be experiencing judgment and hell because of the choices they make regarding sex & marriage - it should make us grieve, and hurt, be in great concern, care, praying, and doing whatever possible we can to be on the mission of Jesus living out and communicating the gospel to people.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Framing the Conversation: Elaine & Puddy
The following quote is from Dan Kimball's blog... he was NOT talking about same-sex marriage or even homosexuality. This is from a blog post on preaching about the reality of hell.