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text and context – sarah harris


In August-September 2017 I am taking a group of about 35 students and friends from Carey to Israel and Palestine to walk over ancient sites, to read text in context, and to meet afresh the historical Jesus. Last year I went there on sabbatical and I became convinced (that wasn’t hard!) that I wanted to go back with students so that they could see, touch, taste, think and pray in the land where Jesus lived.

I am a fan of getting students out of the lecture room where I think learning is especially profound. Learning is from “everywhere to everywhere” to piggy back on the famous definition of mission. Learning is not a passive activity; it is predicated on action. Walking. Talking. Moving. Questioning. Reflecting. Praying. When active learning takes place we dismantle old and inaccurate knowledge and we rebuild new, fresh, and more accurate ideas. So we are off to Israel and Palestine. I cannot wait! I cannot wait to see what students learn about the history in the biblical text, the geography of the land, but I also look forward to some renewed and strengthened belief in the reliability of the Jesus story. In NZ we are so far removed geographically from the ancient world, that some (even dare I say it, Jesus followers in our pews) are not certain of the truth of which they have been taught. C. S Lewis famously said that people must think one of three things about Jesus: he is Liar, Lunatic, or Lord. But our society today has added another category: he is Legend; he didn’t really exist; the Bible is a collection of myths from various cultures.


My question to the preachers who read this blog is:

How are you building knowledge (and so faith) in your congregation in the history in the text?

In the Jesus of History?


Perhaps I am back on my theme song – my “one sermon” – but:

Are we letting teachers into the pulpit?

Are we letting the teacher come out in our preaching?

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