Feb 1, 2015

sermon questions020115

Sermon Notes February 1, 2015

Today’s sermon is on the importance of “Third Place” in a society.  This concept was developed in Ray Oldenburg’s book, “The Great Good Place:  Cafes, coffee shops, bookstores, bars, hair salons and other great hangouts at the heart of a community”.

What are some Third Places that you have frequented?  Why do you frequent them?

Should a church be a neutral ground for theological discussion or should it be a place where God’s word controls the agenda?  Is there room for debate and discussion?

Is Facebook the Third Space of the 21st Century? Why?  Why not?  Oldenburg says that the following are characteristics of Third Place:

  • Neutral Ground
  • Leveler
  • Conversation is the Main Activity
  • Regulars
  • Low Profile
  • Playful
  • Home away from Home

How does Facebook fulfill these criteria?

Some of the features with Facebook postings are:

  • Your words become instantly accessible
  • You cannot take them back
  • You cannot see people’s reaction
  • You cannot take a minority opinion because the majority is able to overwhelm you

Is Facebook a Third Place?

In Europe, the Cathedral was the center of the community.  It was able to be the center because each community had one religion and the cathedral represented both the church and the state.  In the US, there are many religions and as a society we greatly value our religious freedom - that we can practice our religion without interference from the state.

Compare religion in Europe with the United States

  • How does that impact Church architecture?
  • How does that impact community?
  • How does that impact free speech?
  • How does that impact theological debate?

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke put this event at the end of Jesus’ ministry – the week before He died.

Read the event in the Synoptic Gospels

  • Matthew 21:12-27
  • Mark 11:15-19
  • Luke  19:45-48

Read the event in the Gospel of John

  • John 2:13-16

How are these events similar?  How are they different.

John does not necessarily write his Gospel in a chronological order – but John places this event right after Jesus’ first miracle, changing the water into wine at the wedding in Cana.

Some scholars believe that John is talking about the same event while others think that Jesus did this event twice.  Martin Luther said this, (Volume 22, Sermons on the Gospel of John)

But now the question arises: How do we harmonize the accounts of the two evangelists, Matthew and John? For Matthew writes that all this happened on Palm Sunday, when the Lord made His entry into Jerusalem. And here in John we read that it occurred at the time of the Passover that followed Christ’s Baptism, the same Passover season during which the miraculous changing of water into wine also took place, and that then Christ moved to Capernaum. For Christ was baptized in the Epiphany season. And it seems possible that He tarried the short time until Passover in Capernaum, preaching there, and then cleansed the temple at the Passover of which John writes here.

These are problems and will remain problems. I shall not venture to settle them. Nor are they essential. It is only that there are so many sharp and shrewd people who are fond of bringing up all sorts of subtle questions and demanding definite and precise answers. But if we understand Scripture properly and have the genuine articles of our faith—that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, suffered and died for us—then our inability to answer all such questions will be of little consequence. The evangelists do not all observe the same chronological order. The one may place an event at an earlier, the other at a later time. Mark, too, chooses the day after Palm Sunday for this story. It may also be that the Lord did this more than once, and that John reports the first, Matthew, the second event. Be that as it may, whether it happened sooner or later, whether it happened once or twice, this will not prejudice our faith.

What do you think?