What is the series about?
A caricature seeks to take something and exaggerate, distort, or over simplify it. The result can be comical and slightly hideous, as well as off putting (for those old enough think Spitting Image). When it comes to Christianity there are many caricatures about God, Jesus and what the bible really says; this might lead you to dismiss, be put off or simply find it comical that people would actually take the bible seriously in the 21st Century.
TWISTED is a new teaching series launching in October. Each week we'll be exploring a different caricature of Christianity; including subjects such as 'God doesn't care about my suffering, otherwise he'd stop it' and 'The God of the Bible is blood thirsty and violent'. Big statements! We'll be highlighting the caricatures and then seeking to set them back in the context of the Bibles bigger story of God's amazing grace.
So whether you've been part of a church your whole life or you think church is something of the past then this will be a great series for you to explore some of the most important questions in life.
When and where is it?
From the 23rd October this series will form a part of all of our Sunday gatherings at all three locations. For more information on where we meet and how you can find the nearest location to you, please click here.
Who is it for?
This series is for those who are wanting to grapple with some of the most important questions in life. It will be engaging for those who are beginning to explore the claims of Christianity as well as those who follow Jesus but are wrestling with some of the ways He is portrayed in the Bible.
Alongside this series we recommend reading:
Week 1 - Belief in God is out of date and old fashioned
23rd October 2016
Some people would say it’s about time we outgrew our belief in a divine being who rules the world and watches over our lives; that at best belief in God is delusional and at worse it’s dangerous. So is God a divine dictator, a benevolent granddad, an intolerant judge or none of the above? Is it time to jettison our childish beliefs or are there good reasons for faith? And quite frankly, why does it even matter?
Week 2 - God doesn't care about my suffering, otherwise he'd stop it
30th October 2016
It’s been said that if there’s one thing that unites every human being on the planet, it’s love. But, in reality it’s pain. Everybody feels pain, not everyone (sadly) will experience love. And so the question arises from our heart, churns in our mind and sometimes, comes out of our mouth; “If there is a God he’s either unloving or not powerful enough. Because if he loved me and had the power to stop my suffering, surely he would! I'm still suffering, so he doesn't care or is unable to help – or he’s not there at all.”
Week 3 - It's up to heaven (if you're good) or down to hell (if you're bad)
6th November 2016
What images come to mind when you hear the words ‘heaven’ and ‘hell’? Is heaven a place all the good people go? Do we float around on clouds playing harps and singing endless hymns? Is hell really all flames and pitchforks? A place God loves to torture the really bad people who don’t make the grade for heaven? Are these distortions of truth, reflections of reality or delusions to be discarded?
Week 4 - Gentle Jesus meek and mild
20th November 2016
Was Jesus just a wishy washy, sandal wearing hippy who wouldn't harm a fly? Was he just a nice bloke who became a legend over time?The fact is, he’s one of (if not the) most famous person in human history. More books have been written, songs sung, debates had and lives affected by this one man’s short life than any other human who has walked the earth. He also wan't exactly P.C in everything he said. So who is he? Was he real? What was he like and does it really matter?
Week 5 - I can do what I want and God will forgive me
27th November 2016
Does it really matter how we live our lives? If God’s as loving, forgiving and gracious as Christians say he is, then surely we can do what we want now and ask for forgiveness later? Is Gods grace really a licence to live like this? The bible asks this question in a letter that was written to a church in Rome, the author writes "So what shall we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving?" (The Message Romans 6:1) How we answer that question really matters.
Week 6 - The God of the bible is bloodthirsty and violent
4th December 2016
If you've ever opened a bible and read the Old Testament then it’s likely you've come across passages that are full of judgement and violence. God has been described by some as a bully in a playground who throws his weight around if he doesn't get his way. Are these ‘wars’ any different to ISIS and other extremist groups who use force to make you believe or murder you if you don’t? Does the God of the Old Testament really sanction war, violence and killing? How do we reconcile this with the words of Jesus who said ‘love your enemies’ not ‘kill them’?