You’ve heard of the show “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” I feel like this video could be called, “Are You Better Than a Pharisee?” Of course I’m less interested in how we measure up morally, and more tuned into whether we are humble enough to apply Jesus’ words to the Pharisees to our own lives and Christian culture. I pray we’re all drawn closer to His heart as we lay our ways before Him. So check out the video and FREE study guide questions below, and please comment with your own thoughts on where our Christian culture is doing well or needs some God-tweaking.
STUDY GUIDE, CHAPTER 2: GRAY CHRISTIAN CULTURE
Sometimes we struggle to be constructively critical of our faith backgrounds and the Christian culture around us. To question might feel like we’re letting our parents, churches, or even God down. But Jesus Himself challenged the status quo of the faith culture of His time, and sometimes our own faith culture drifts away from God’s heart as well. Even when it comes to following Christian leaders, Paul doesn’t ask us to blindly copy- he says to first “consider the outcome of their way of life” (Hebrews 13:7). Translation: reflect before following.
Jesus says that we, His sheep, will know His voice and follow- but I think that means sometimes silencing the sounds of the other sheep in our heads. Make space this week to sit and talk with God alone, away from distractions. Ask Him to help you hear His voice, to give you discernment, and be able to distinguish His will outside of what any culture says. Allow yourself to ask whether you’ve been sometimes following people instead of God.
Chapter 2 Study Questions:
1. Do you believe the Christian culture around you has any negatives or unhealthy ideas? Why or why not?
3. We’ve had our negative moments, but Christian culture often sparks very positive movements. What should “Christian Culture” be doing/influencing and how can we help?
4. “Someone who exposes themselves to a wide variety of ideas might actually be in a healthier place than someone who views outside ideas as dangerous.” Agree or disagree? Explain.
5. What is our “Jesus Stuff” (bumper stickers, billboards, shirts, etc) saying to the world? Discuss how you have experienced/used Christian paraphernalia in a positive or negative way.
6. How does dividing the Bible into “good guys” and “bad guys” keep us from examining our own lives well? Have you, like me, ever realized that you were guilty of overlooking a problem in your own life because you didn’t immediately associate yourself with one of the Bible’s “bad guys?”
7. Discuss what it looks like to “keep ourselves from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27), while also being the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Can we protect the purity of ourselves and our families while still exposing ourselves to the world that God wants us to love?
8. What words or phrases from your Christian circle might be confusing to someone from outside your group? How do we help bridge the gap in translation?
Bible passages for further study:
James 1:27 (Don’t be Polluted by World); Matthew 5:14 (Light of the World); Romans 12:1-2 (Don’t conform to the world); 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 (Test Everything); 1 John 4:1-3 (Test every Spirit); 1 corinthians 5:9-13 (Living among sin); Matthew 11:19 (Jesus was friends with sinners)
Thanks for joining!! Tune in next time for Chapter 3: Gray Church. To buy the “Gray Faith” book in paperback or for kindle, you can purchase online at Amazon!