The intersection between one of America’s most brilliant psychologists and the coming of the Kingdom of God
This Week's Text: Matthew 9.35-38
Additional Texts: Ezekiel 34
For Further Study: Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence has Declined
Teaching Link: “He Shepherds His Sheep,” January 8, 2012
Downloadable group discussion sheet: .pdf
Questions for Groups or Reflection:
1. Are things better now or in the past? In terms of violence, war and suffering, are things getting better or worse? Why do you answer one way or the other? What do you think is the dominant opinion of the larger American culture? The American Evangelical culture?
2. Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University makes the case in his most recent book,The Better Angels of Our Nature, that “The world of the past was much worse. In fact, we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence.” Some of the reasons he gives for this include:
Aversion to dominance Empathy
Aversion to revenge Self-control
Rejection of sadism (cruelty) Morality
Rejection of ideology Reason
What, if any of these, sound like they have a connection to the teachings of Jesus? Share specific examples.
3. Pastor Hal made the statement, “When violence goes down to zero, and is able to be enjoyed by all people everywhere-that is essentially the definition of the “Kingdom of God.” Do you agree or disagree with this? Why or why not?
4. Jesus tells his disciples to “ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” The “good news” is that we as followers of Jesus, get to be a part of his work in the world If living out the “way of Jesus” is bringing about a better world, what are some concrete things that you can do to advance the “Kingdom of God?” What are way you can partner with and involve others as well?