Sunday, July 27, 2008

Saturday report, and a counter-cultural view of temptation

Well, I did a bunch of stuff, but until the evening didn't get to the one thing that I really had to do! Things accomplished:
  • consolidated two mailing-lists for our church's outreach to international adults.
  • discovered that when Mi¢ro$oft Word puts a "comment-box", OpenOffice shows only a teeny yellow rectangle. NeoOffice too.
    • found a used copy of M$ Word on ebay, and ordered it (via "buy it now"). I don't mind this so much since M$ already got their money from the original purchase -- my money won't support their dirty tricks (more here, here, here, here and here).
  • fixed the teens' bedroom door (it was sticking, and wouldn't actually latch closed);
  • helped the younger teen rearrange the "studio" -- removed doors from a wardrobe/closet thing, and moved some furniture around
  • hung a laundry pole in the back yard (strung between the house and the detached garage)
The one thing I should have done? Prepare the lesson for today! I'm teaching the middle schoolers at our church's San Mateo campus. The passage is Matthew 6:12-15 -- actually I was assigned just 6:13, but as you probably know by now, I don't think you can really know what a verse is saying outside of its context.

Now I know that this song from "My Fair Lady" isn't really representative of the culture, but the phrase "sinfully delicious", which has appeared in a pile of ads, got about 116,000 hits on Google when I tried it just now.

Sorry, I wasn't going to mention that to the kids. Here's some of what I'm thinking to tell them about, approximately 150 minutes hence:
  • Why do we have to pray that? I mean, is God like planning to lead us into temptation, but if we pray that he won't?
    I don't think that's it. Earlier in the chapter, Jesus says that "your father knows what you need before you ask" -- therefore I think this prayer isn't for his benefit. Whose then? Yours -- or mine, when I pray it. Praying this will help me to have the attitude that temptation is something to be avoided.

    This reminds me of the part in The Karate Kid where the kid is ordered to paint the fence and wax the car. He thinks he's doing a bunch of work for free, but he's actually getting the muscle tone &c that he needs to become a karate champ. Here, Jesus tells us to ask God for this, but the point is to change our hearts and our way of thinking -- not to change what God is going to do. (Randy Pausch, who died Friday, called this a "head fake.")
  • What does "but" mean there in the middle of verse 13?   —and—
    Is there a particular kind of temptation he's talking about?
    To understand verse 13, take a look at verses 12 and 14, or in this case 12-15 -- or even better, verses 5-15.

    The way I figure it, the sequence of
    • forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors
    • lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one
    • for if you forgive... your father will forgive, but if you do not forgive... your father will not forgive
    is no accident. Notice the word "but": I think that "your father will forgive" goes with "deliver us from the evil (one)"
  • So Jesus seems to think it's really important to forgive others. What does that look like? If my friend borrows $10 and later pretends to have forgotten, and I forgive him, does that mean if he asks me for $20 tomorrow I should pretend it never happened?
    That's a really good question. I think you can accept past injury without inviting more injury of the same kind from the same person. Put differently, you can forgive without being a doormat.

Well, that was my shot at it. I'll let you know how it goes.

1pm Update: How it went

Not a lot of interaction from the kids, but I did get some -- which our youth pastor thought was typical. I had a nice talk with a charming brother-sister pair, both seem engaged with the discipleship process; the brother is entering 9th grade this fall, told me about his family life and school and his thoughts about the future.

So it went OK. Our youth pastor preached in "big church" at our San Mateo campus, and did a stellar job. They recorded it but I don't think the MP3 will be generally available.

No comments: