Does God really want to grant us "enlarged territories" and pain-free lives? If so, what's the deal? And if not, why would Jabez even warrant recognition in the Holy Scriptures?
While this is certainly a familiar story--both within the church as well as within the culture--it bears some examination. At the heart of the story is the question of what it means to love our neighbors. But there are also questions about how to apply the original cultural/historical context to our present time, what truly loving our neighbor really looks like in a practical way, and how we move beyond theoretical love to active love.
Can faith communities play a role in reshaping culture away from violence as our default response? In essence, that's the heart of Jesus' kingdom announcement. That death and violence no longer reign. But can we actually live that life? And, if we can, what might it change?
Are we just trying to feed an irreparably broken model for what the church is and how it works? Or are there ways to redeem the church? To reinvent it for new generations of people who view the world through much different lenses than those who came before?
How do we know the Spirit is with us? How can we be sure that the Spirit is acting? Is it just a feeling, like a gut instinct that something other than ourselves is in control? Or is it something else altogether?
With its bizarre symbolism, violent conflicts, and epic scale, it's no wonder Revelation has captured both the Christian and cultural imagination. But do we truly understand what St. John's vision is really all about?
What is it about humbleness that's so attractive, yet so difficult? Could it be that our humility might be the most compelling thing about us and our churches?