September 12, 2008

What is obvious to us is not obvious to them

I am going to post three entries today, simply because we've had a lot to do this week and there's a lot to write.

First, on Tuesday I was invited to observe and then tell a bible story at the home of a family that is trying to reach their neighborhood. Another family that is wanting to do the same also participated. I told the simple story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19) and began to ask questions based off of the story. As I asked them to think about the story and find answers to the questions, the Christians began to see the power of teaching through narratives and stories. The non Christians were very engaged.

Here are some of the questions I asked:
What were the two men like?
What were their lives like?
What happened to the poor man when he died?
What happened to the rich man?
Were they in the same place?
Were these places similar or different?
Is is possible to go from one of these places to the other?
What did the rich man ask for Lazarus to do once he realized that Lazarus could not comfort him?
What did the rich man hope would happen?
Did the rich man understand why some people go where Lazarus went and others where he was?
What does this scripture narrative say is necessary for someone to avoid going to the place of torment?

I coached the Christians to try not to draw from other Bible knowledge, but to stay within the story and other stories that have previously been told to the group. This was obvious when I asked that last question. The Christians said "You have to receive Jesus in your heart." The story says that the rich man wanted his brothers to repent and turn from their sins. This is what those hearing the story for the first time understood. When the Christians began giving their answers, the others didn't understand where they were getting those answers and did not trust them.

This is a story that highlights the need for repentance and the reality of reward and punishment after death. To take the message of salvation one step further another story must be told about Jesus and his death and resurrection. The group learned a lot and I will go next week to the house of the other family to tell another story.

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