Saturday Book – One Thousand Gifts – Part 4

Part #1
Part #2
Part #3

This is on chapter 3 of Ann Voskamp’s book. This chapter is the real soul of the book. This is also what the American church is really bad at. We might get to “saved”, but we don’t get to disciple. How do we live Eucharisteo is the question. The old theological word is sanctification – the life of holiness. If you think of the book as a play, this is the climax. It addresses the big questions and opens the widest understanding of happenings. The following chapters expand on it. They build deeper meaning and understanding. They push it to the tough corners of experience, but Chapter 3 is the beating center.

I. Opening question – is grace/eucharisteo/gospel as static thing? Is it something purely comprehended or primarily mental? How yes, how most definitely no?

II. AV p43 – “You’ve changed…out the glasses…I may have always known…I knew what to do.”

Two biblical/gospel ways of talking about change…

Metaphor #1 Metaphor #2
John 3:3 Luke 13:5
1 Peter 1:3 Mark 6:12
  Luke 3:8
  Rom 2:4

What is metaphor #1? What is metaphor #2? What does #1 imply? What do you hear implied in #2?
Which metaphor do you think AV is more comfortable with? Why? {NB – repent in the original greek is a much larger word than what we think when we hear it in translation. It has two overlapping domains if you will. It has a cognitive domain. “I’m going the wrong way and I recognize that.” It has a physical domain. “I am turning around and walking 180 degrees the other way.” Our English emotional domain of sorrow really isn’t in the greek word. Repent in greek is a “new birth” type of word. A sudden event that continues in a new direction.}
New birth/Repentance is the start of a new life a new way of walking. What does it mean that AV, although being a lifelong church go-er, “doesn’t know what to do?”

III. AV p44-45 – “It is the beginning of list season…sure, whatever?”
How does AV start her new walk? How could this be helpful? What are some of your ways or “strategies” for the living of the sanctified or new life? How/where do we learn these things? Where should we?

A helpful quote (I think) from Confucius:
At 15, I set my heart on learning
At 30, I was firmly established in my way
At 40, I had no more doubts
At 50, I knew the Will of Heaven
At 60, I was ready to listen to it
At 70, I could follow my heart’s desire without transgressing the right
What is Confucius talking about? What is AV learning about? Are the virtues obsolete? Can you name them – 4 cardinal and 3 theological? Are we creatures of habit? What is our original habit – take a look at almost any 2 year old? What are the habits of the “new birth”? Is any of that easy? Read Philippians 4:11-12, Paul writing from Prison at the end of his life, does he sound like Confucius @ 70?

Luther’s method was learned in the monastery, the life of a monk – “prayer, study, trial”. It also applies to the life of a Christian. Read Philipians 1:9-10. Prayer wrapped in love, for knowledge and discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent and be pure on the Day of Jesus. Prayer, study and trial. When first you pick it up, the prayer and study seem to come after the failure. Why did I fail that trial? When you are 50, the prayer and study precede the trial. You still probably fail. When you are 70, they precede and you stand.

IV.AV p. 50 – “because that habit…pin of gratitude.”
What do you think of AV’s hammer and nail analogy for the sanctified life? Discuss the implications of that.

AV p 55 – “Some days, ones…Driving nails into a life always is.”
AV p 57 – “A lifetime of sermons..precedes the miracle.”
First, ouch. Then discuss the difference between: Offensive grace or hard grace vs. Cheap Grace; disciples vs. crowds looking for bread (John 6); practice vs. something you pick up and put down. (Hint the sanctified life vs. “saved”)
Why do we need a lifetime of sermons? Why does the Christian faith need to be practiced and not just picked up on Sunday morning? Hint: Does the law (10 Commandments) make sense? Does the cross? Lutheran understanding moment: Law is written on our hearts, gospel/grace is known by proclamation or hearing. God chose the foolishness of the preaching starting with his son’s preaching. The gospel sticks through Word and Sacrament.
AV p 58 – “Why would the world…life grows.”
Why would we go through such nailing? Why would we struggle so?
Joy…life. The outward spiral. Even in failure, we give thanks. Because the grace is bigger. Because joy is not transient. The purpose is joy – now and in the age to come.