This is the series on the Christian lessons from the 12 step movement.
It provokes a number of questions for me – a lot of them that this is good, but then we have to look at what we are saying when we say this essentially theistic movement with its roots in Christian tradition (and in particular the Oxford movement, which is much criticised by John Stott among others) has some big lessons for us. Once again, where is God in the place that is good but doesn’t name itself Christian. Or does 12 steps also in a way have to admit it’s own faults and need of redemption, or is that a bit too meta.
Anyway, this is really interesting to look at, because the thing that so many of us want above all is change.
So the first week is about admitting that we have a problem, and saying to each other “Me too” – it’s on Romans 7, and the transcript is here (from February 15th 2015). It contains a brilliant line about achieving “low self esteem”)
Then a really brilliant choice to study Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4, and his hubris. The transcript for that one is here and the date is February 22nd 2015. Here the central theme is about us not being God. Good illustration about poorer drivers being in the wealthiest cars.
This is about Ortberg going deeper with a congregation, being determined to go on a journey, and also staring new communities. It is telling for me that in this process his sermons have become less spectacular, less full of stunning new anecdotes, this is grain and cereal and bread. There is less wine around these days in the Menlo Park pulpit, and yet one can’t help but wonder if there is deeper work being done.
So good on you John – you have become less interesting in order that you might present the bride to Christ, that you may be a workman who has done his work.