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Day 5

Was Jesus’ resurrection a hoax? What about other beliefs? Can we just accept that there’s no purpose to life?

On Friday we held our final three events for our annual Wonder week, giving you (and us) the opportunity for unbounded and unbarred discussion about our experiences of existence. Even within the Christian Union body, some of us have held atheistic world views before we became Christians. Some have followed other theistic beliefs prior to Christianity and some of us have been Christians our whole lives. We understand that Christianity is specifically complex as it seems precariously held together, causing us to ask: How can this be true? we appreciate that existential thoughts can be savagely overwhelming and we understand that it is so difficult to know where to begin. This is especially valid when you consider that we are in a culture that simultaneously tells us to find purpose, that we should make our own purpose and sometimes it tells us that there is no purpose. All of these views are understandable and most individuals experience / have experienced a consideration of a mixture of them. (including me!)

As the Christian Union, we appreciate that many think it’s OK to say ‘hey, maybe there is no answer.’ That might very well be OK, but is that correct? We are confident that the reliability of the bible and the extraordinary content it holds, provides us with sufficient reason to believe that there is a God who revealed his existence to us in a man whose feet walked this very planet, namely, Jesus Christ.

This Friday we looked at some of the most crucial topics when considering the Christian Claims. We heard from Michael Ots on the exclusivity of Christianity and the pluralistic world view, considering the claims the bible makes about realms of ‘heaven’ and ‘hell’. We heard the remarkable testimony from one of our members on his conversion from a Muslim background to now being firmly rooted in belief in Jesus Christ as God. We enjoyed a dinner in the Chaplaincy with Peter Teagle who spoke to international students about the parables and life of Jesus, looking theologically at what it means to live a life with God at the centre of it.

Finally, we heard from Dr. Michael Green, a man who has dedicated his life to the study of the historicity of the Bible and the compelling case for the truth of Jesus’ resurrection. We understood how it is one of the most reliable cases of truth in history, that is, based on manuscripts existing outside of the New Testament texts which are compliant with the fact that Jesus’ tomb was empty [If this interests you then read his book, ‘Jesus for sceptics’.]

Christianity is not only plausible, but completely relevant. It’s been a poignant, confronting and impressively rousing week. If you have decided that you are ready to take a step towards becoming a Christian or if you know a friend who is wanting to make this decision, then we encourage any to come along to our event this evening in OC1.04 (Oculus, new building) at 19:30. Mike Hood will be leading us and we will get to discuss our freedom in Christ.

[ If you fancy getting to know people a little bit better then we will be having dinner in Bar Fusion at 18:30 before heading over together – but there’s no pressure to attend that.]

If you aren’t sure about what whether to reject or accept Christianity as true but you still want to find out more about it, or if you merely want to explore and / or tackle with the Christian claims further, then for the last three Thursday nights of term we are holding Explore. This will be taking place in OC1.04 at 18:30 and will be a chance for genuine conversation about Christianity in a more personal setting.

It’s been such a pleasure spending time with you this week and we hope that your wondering takes you far.


Day 4

Do we need God?

To start the day we had two talks covering one of the most marked and contested topics that strike individuals on reflection of ‘God’. Suffering. Does really God care? If God really cares then why is there suffering? If you have been to talks like this before then I’m sure you understand how sincerely speakers and apologists – such as Michael Ots -take these questions. Everybody has dealt with suffering and as Christians it is something which does not disappear. What I love about the Warwick Christian Union team is their confidence to offer Question and Answer time, post-talk. This means that whatever you feel wasn’t covered or wasn’t well defined or defended during the talk, can be addressed. In these talks, we are aiming to present Christianity as entirely necessary and sufficient as an explanation for existence, and in order to do that, we know that questions need addressing. Don’t miss out on time to ask and to receive! If this ‘stuff’ is true, then it could be life-changing. Two more lunch bars happening today in the Flexigrid where we’ll be addressing the way Christianity seems exclusive or arrogant on the basis of the question, ‘Is there only one way to God?’ If pluralism interests you or alternatively, if the tolerance of other beliefs is part of your moral system, then come along. Do we need one way to God? Do we NEED God in order to be good? Do we need God at all?

This was our fourth day of spending time in Fusion with Peter Teagle as an assorted mix of nationalities. What a joy it is to hear about other people’s cultures and beliefs. Whatever you believe and where ever you are from, we want to simply invite you for dinner to hear about the truth of Jesus’ life and the value of the stories that became Jesus became submerged in during his time on earth. People like me and you who really excited, fact. Today this will be happening in the Chaplaincy and will be a great time to bring friends, eat food and enjoy conversation like no other. If you are passionate about culture (or passionate about not paying for food) then we invite you! I’ve been lucky enough to make some great friends from Malaysia, Indonesia and even my home town, Holland!

‘God is a bit like losing your phone in your bag. You can feel it somewhere but you can’t see it.’ Hank (my new friend!)

Finally, we ended our event with the biggest turn out so far this week – nearly 400 people! Slavko Hadzic came to speak to us all the way from Bosnia. Slavko shared his life pre his Christian conversion as a former Mafia Boss; this involved a life of casinos, a circle of money orientated relationships and a ‘macho’ mind set.

Slavko paralleled his story with that of Zack in the bible, a tax collector. Jesus invites himself to Zack’s house, and in the same way invites himself into our lives. Slavko emphasised the fact that there is nothing we can do become saved or reunited by God, but that it is a free gift given to us through Jesus. Jesus invites himself no matter who are we are or what we have done. What about being good for God? I hear you say! Being ‘good’ for God isn’t about ‘getting to him’, this is our response to the love and restoration we receive from him. If you want to pursue God then don’t hesitate based on how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ you are. Come to him because he invites you.


Day 3

Today has been a hub of fervor and fellowship and all in the midst of a crowd of people from different parts of the globe and with unique stories to share.

Michael Ots

Yesterday afternoon, Michael Ots – founder of Michael Ots Evangelism Trust – came to strike us with his opinions and insight in regards to the questions [ which are particularly relevant to religious thought today ] Does Religion Cause Violence? and Does Religion Suppress women? It seems that these topics could potentially be personal and painful for many, however Michael provided us with great hope and new understanding in regards to claims about Christianity which are not true and / or not based on firm theology. If you missed this and want to find out more about what was said, then do come along to our lunch time talks today or our evening event and ask somebody your questions; Michael Ots will be happy to talk with you today. If you are hungry, on campus and out of pocket, (and alternatively if you are none of those things but just want a baguette) then please do not hesitate to come along for lunch at either 12pm or 1pm, we’re not looking to bombard you, merely wonder and hopefully discover.

Peter Teagle

Peter is based in Oxford and has spent much time invested in other cultures; predominantly Asian culture. This week we have been able to hear about his own experience of coming to learn and love his wife’s Chinese culture, as well as being offered teachings from Jesus’ life – not to mention free burgers!

Yesterday, in Fusion, we wondered with Peter at The Woman Who Thought She had Nothing, which explored a biblical event where an outcast woman approaches Jesus and pours perfume at his feet. If you are somebody unbothered by the intellectual aspect of our events week but find yourself hesitant to approach Christianity for other reasons, then remember that Jesus takes us as we are and can offer us a good life beyond any intellectual or emotional understanding. C.S. Lewis put it like this,

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Michael Green

Once again we were delighted by the words of Michael Green yesterday, who spoke to us about coping with stress. God isn’t offering a coping mechanism but instead the striking reality and perspective that we are created by and for him. If this seems barbaric to you, or like something from fantasy fiction [which is definitely how I have felt in the past] then come and question it. Enjoy our evening events full of cake, drama, music, poetry and stories of people who have gone from an atheistic world view to a theistic one. Bring your friends or come alone but don’t miss out on valuable time to Wonder!


Day 2

Was Jesus who he said he was?

Yesterday afternoon Michael Green spoke to us about Jesus. Michael Green is an Oxford educated British Theologian and Apologist and has written over 50 books that meet the high demands of our complex cognitions. This is a man who has dedicated his life to Jesus and it’s such an honour to welcome him here this week. Yesterday afternoon – over free lunch and plenty of wondering, – Michael Green spoke to us about the possibility of Jesus’ life. Firstly considering the claims that Jesus is ‘mere myth’, we were able to unhinge and investigate the misunderstandings and vague terms which prevent us from being able to fully appreciate the value and meaning of biblical claims. The manuscripts which constitute the modern bible are some of the most reliable of the era, and Lewis’ Trilemma gives us a logical foundation to consider Jesus as being entirely sane and entirely who he said he was… But what do you think?

Is there more than what we’ve got?

I was lucky enough to sit with the two new friends whom I had met on Monday night during our international free dinner, taking place in Fusion at 17:30. Surrounded by the fluttering of different languages, enjoying a hearty chicken curry and getting deep into the dark with those existential questions isn’t a bad way to spend a few hours with friends. Last night we heard about what it means to live in a material world in regards to a belief that has it’s eyes heavenwards. Is there more to life than this? Is wealth a burden? What does it mean to live life for God? We were able to hear about a life of true freedom by the means of putting God before our possessions.

Why do we talk about love so much?

Love this. Love that. ‘Love what and who you want’, seems to me to be the most infectious cultural narrative to record and one which runs through the veins of our culture. It seems shocking therefore, that we live in a society that becomes so divided about the very nature of love and unfortunately, abuses it in many cases. Can love be defined? Is love anything substantial in western culture? Is love even worth pursuing? We believe it is. Yesterday evening we enjoyed more live music, a talk and even late night coffee and cake in the Flexigrid. As well as this, we were able to watch a moving drama which had been put together by our own Christian Union members. Also, who doesn’t love some aesthetic fairy lights? The evening events give a funky and relaxed vibe for us to reflect and unwind. Don’t worry if you missed yesterday, more events happening today, whether theist or not, we welcome any who want to wonder. Check out the Website!


Mondaze

Feeling tired and overwhelmed by the early happenings of week 7? Feeling fine after the buzz of Wonder? However you’re feeling, I’m here to talk to you about the importance of questioning God and to invite you to do so.

Today, Warwick Christian Union held our first day of events for our Wonder week. As Christians in the 21st century, we are passionate about questions and believe that there are concrete and valuable answers to the metaphysical demands [ that seem to slip our mind in the busy blur of University.] Questioning and curiosity is one of the many features that define us all as humans and it is important to wake up and smell the coffee… Even on Mondays… Or Mondaze… Zzz.

If you missed today or want to know more from afar, then check out what we’ve been up to.

Science?

Has it buried God?

This morning we wanted to cut straight to the heart of the academic warfare that can build and bewilder us in the midst of an incredibly opinionated environment [University]. Are science and God congruent? Here we specifically heard about the nature of miracles in a universe which presents us with laws and regularity. Tomorrow we want to take the scrutiny further and will be asking: Is Jesus a myth like Santa? Are the Gospel Accounts Reliable? The answers to these types of questions can change the way you stand and the way you see. Asking questions is crucial and we as a Christian Union know this. We ask them too.

International Dinner

As the Christian Union, we offer meals because we want to bless. Today, many came along to our free international meal at Fusion, where we listened to a talk on ‘The Most Precious Thing’. It can be easy to let those words fly in one ear and out of the other or to shrug them off as whimsical or ‘airy’. However, many of us live for our own precious ‘thing’, such as family or maybe a pursuit for personal freedom. Can Jesus really be any substantial or precious thing? How is he relevant?

Why Does Beauty Move Me?

Even though Freud and Kant seem to say something on the origin or nature of beauty, do you think there’s something more to it? I can veraciously say that this evening’s concert blew me away. We got to listen to Andy Mayo’s new album Lavish, which combined real stories with real singing.

As well as this, we heard some spoken-word poetry from Cambridge Graduate Mike Hood. An evening of the music and stories, two things which carry and progress the character of our world. In a world which puts forward logic and reason as King, why does indiscernable beauty seem to rule our hearts?

If this ‘stuff’ is really more than stuff to you then come along and find out more.


Welcome to Wonder

Welcome to the Wonder blog. This will be updated with all the goings on