Life and the world is impossibly complex. It’s normal to try to simplify things to help ourselves feel less out of control. But that’s also how we get trite phrases like “every cloud has a silver lining”, which can often hurt people when thrown around without care or empathy. In religion, this is done to verses from the Bible all the time. But, as Kyle’s experience and learning has taught him, the Bible is actually quite the opposite of trite!
BLV’s diversity in religious starting points is part of what makes us the community we are. It’s something we feel Jesus is behind. For this Sunday’s talk, small group leaders Anna & Isaac share stories from people in BLV about both the wonderful and the challenging in their religious backgrounds, and how BLV has become home.
Does Jesus on the Cross paint a picture of an angry, violent God who needs his wrath satisfied? Vince shares his journey away from that unsettling interpretation of Jesus on the Cross and toward a different interpretation that is the opposite of unsettling — one that is loving and inspiring and beautiful in the way it speaks to humanity in general and in the way it can speak to each of us personally.
Kyle continues our series unpacking the helpfulness of the Bible when it’s approached thoughtfully. This week: why we don’t read poetry like its prose, why we shouldn’t read the first 11 of chapters of Genesis like a history textbook, and how the various writings in the Bible come alive when we ask the right questions of them.
We've come to feel super helped by the Bible. But when is it appropriate to apply something from the Bible to life today? And when is it inappropriate? How do we know one way or the other? Kyle takes us to a statement from Jesus that proves incredibly useful...
We're at the three-quarter mark of BLV's "Our Next Big Step" two-year plan to go from start-up to sustainability. Kyle and Vince, our pastors, tell the story of how we got here, update us on what’s been accomplished, and dream about what we might yet accomplish in the last six months of "Our Next Big Step"...
With (sadly) U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions providing a perfect case study last week, Kyle demonstrates a particularly American tendency toward misinterpreting the Bible: taking out of context a secondary supporting point from a Biblical writer and turning that into a timeless truth or ultimate ethic. As an alternative, Kyle suggests the power and helpfulness of reading the Bible “descriptively”.
To mark Father’s Day this year, Kyle reads some reflections from men in our community on fathers and fatherhood, and shares his own, helping us to consider the image of Father for God as something that isn’t so much about gender, but rather about inheritance, identity, and belonging.
More Bible, more better? More Bible, more problems? At BLV, neither of these seem right to us. History has proven that “more Bible” is not always better if we’re talking about uninformed, irresponsible readings of the Bible that don’t consider culture and context. But throwing it out as antiquated and worthless leaves on the table the Bible’s unique ability to connect people with the God Jesus showed humanity. Kyle helps us find a middle ground by teaching us about the differences between modern American culture and the cultures of the Bible.
On the Sunday we set aside every year to thank and celebrate our volunteers, Vince passes on some of his most recent reminders of why he loves this church and all of the volunteer efforts that make it happen (and not just because he’s supposed to). He also tells us what’s ahead this summer for volunteers: (1) our Kids Program is exploding (great problem to have!), and (2) how we're taking advantage of the Chicago summer.