Starting a Declaration

Then Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that you are extremely religious in every respect. For as I was passing through and observing the objects of your worship, I even found an altar on which was inscribed:

    TO AN UNKNOWN GOD

Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. (Acts 17:22-23 HCSB)

4 Questions:

How would you go about starting a conversation about Jesus?

What about a conversation, not just with a friend but with city?

How would you begin, not a conversation but a declaration about Jesus, to a city?

If we were to translate Paul into Martin Place, how would he begin?

Any thoughts?

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2 thoughts on “Starting a Declaration

  1. These are some rather unrefined thoughts. Please forgive me if they seem presumptuous.

    I thought your sermon in steel wasn't a bad example of how to start a conversation with a city.

    But I also think that the preceding verses shed some light on your question:

    While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit was troubled within him when he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with those who worshiped God, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.

    Paul was troubled within himself when he saw that the city was full of idols. Sydney doesn't have a huge number of temples, but a visitor from the UK recently described it as a Vacuous, shallow city with no soul. While there may not be so many temples, I guess it would be fair to say that our nation and its cities are full of idols. Your description of life in the city seemed to confirm this. Even bible college students don't seem to be immune from the desperate busyness.

    Our culture seems to be driven. We're busy, tired and stressed. We work 18 hour days to keep up the repayments on million dollar mortgages, when we don't even have a family to buy a house for. Our 'friendships' are made solely at work because we don't have time to be anywhere else. When we're not at work, we're at the gym, perfecting our bodies so we can fit into our designer clothes.

    We're desperately striving for something. It seems like we're not even sure what it is. What are the houses, clothes, money and perfect bodies for?

    Paul proclaims the unknown God. He then says that worshiping God in the way they have been is wrong. Perhaps our cities need to hear the same thing. It seems we're worshiping the unknown God, just like the Athenians, and getting it completely wrong, just like the Athenians. So Paul calls us to repentance:

    God now commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has set a day on which He is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.

    I have, perhaps, overstepped your question. You were asking how to start a conversation, not what sermon I would preach. I haven't been in Martin place recently, so I don't know what I would point to there. But I don't think we have to look far to find to find evidence of our slavery to things which don't satisfy.

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  2. P.S. I love how the HCSB renders what the philosophers say about Paul:

    Then also, some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers argued with him. Some said, "What is this pseudo-intellectual trying to say?"

    🙂

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