Focus 1 (of 4)-The Wrong Rightness

Focus 1|The Wrong Rightness

It's not unusual to value being right—but being right is not the goal. Knowing what is right is—at best—a means to something much better. Truth-for-the-sake-of-truth ignores the fact that there are people out there who are more important than any single truth. The idea of being right and having your rightness act as a separating agent that removes you from others or others from you is the opposite of God's goal in inventing rightness.
Chat about this ice breaker question to get started.
Is there a piece of knowledge you have that nobody in your group (if you're in a group) would expect you to know? 📖 🤯
See what this Spotlight—and series—is focused on.
Tap on the words "Focus 1" in the image below to read this Spotlight's summary.
If getting to the right answer gets equated with reaching the destination, the right answer just became the obstacle to where you were truly meant to be.
Let's say a prayer together as we dive into this Spotlight.

Help us to value but not to idolize the gift of knowledge. You are the one who holds all knowledge, and you share it with us as a gift. Let us use knowledge as you do—to love, serve, and help those you place before us. Drive falsehood and misinformation away from us, that the truth you give us may lead us to unity with you and each other.
Listen to this song (and sing along, if you'd like)
Gain more perspective on knowledge through these texts.

First, read through this key scripture:
We know that “we all have knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone thinks he knows anything, he does not yet know it as he ought to know it. But if anyone loves God, he is known by him.
1 Corinthians 8:1–3

Next, consider this thought from Robert Capon:
Just remember that what’s sauce for the goose is also sauce for the cancer cell, the liver fluke, the killer whale, and the loan shark—that if God is holding all things in being right now, he’s got some explaining to do if he hopes to maintain his reputation as the original Good Guy. Or, more accurately (since God steadfastly refuses to show up and explain anything, except by announcing mysteries and paradoxes), we’ve got a lot of explaining to do if we are to go on thinking of him in terms of his reputation. The point is this: if God seems to be in no hurry to make the problem of evil go away, maybe we shouldn’t be, either. Maybe our compulsion to wash God’s hands for him is a service he doesn’t appreciate. Maybe—all theodicies and nearly all theologians to the contrary—evil is where we meet God. Maybe he isn’t bothered by showing up dirty for his dates with creation. Maybe—just maybe—if we ever solved the problem, we’d have talked ourselves out of a lover.
Meditate on the Confession of Faith.
Appoint one person in the group to read the following passage aloud.

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Ephesians 4:11–16
Find rest in God's good knowledge by walking through this presentation.
Worship Perspective
God knows enough for all of us.
Let's take a look at an example of when it is wrong to be right.
First, read 1 Corinthians 8, answering a few questions along the way.

1 Corinthians 8:1-3 | Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. 2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 3 But whoever loves God is known by God.
  • Notice the quotation marks around "We all possess knowledge." There's no such thing as a quotation mark in Greek, so what you're seeing here is a guess from the translators. They're suggesting that Paul was quoting someone he disagreed with to set up a contrast to them. Imagine, though, that there weren't quotes. Would the meaning of verse 1 change? 
  • Paul likes to make his readers feel confidence and comfort by saying they are "known by God." Here's another example from Galatians 4: "But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?" Which makes you feel better: The idea that you know God, or the idea that you are known by God? 

4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
  • Can you put into words the reason why, according to Paul, a Christian should have no qualms about eating food sacrificed to idols? 

7 But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.
  • In verse 7, when Paul says "not everyone," he's not talking about everyone - he's talking about everyone who is a Christian, or everyone who is trying to be part of the family of God like the Corinthians are. Who does that include in our world today? Who does it exclude? 
  • Paul talks in verse 7 about people whose consciences are weak and would feel bad for eating food sacrificed to idols. Verse 8 also has a warning to a different kind of person who might have a misguided conscience. What are they worried about? 

9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.
  • We need to feel verse 11. Imagine Paul in tears as he grieves the damage that Christians have done to one another. 
  • Finish this sentence in view of these verses: "Knowing what is right doesn't matter when..."
Learn Perspective
Knowledge is helpful for comparison, but it is not meant for competing.
Let's think about accessibility to learning.
Below is a map of the attendance area for Bryant Elementary School. It is the assignment of the leadership at the school to make sure that every student, no matter who they are, be able to access education equitably.
Watch this video to (better) understand educational equity.
Educational equity is important. Here's a simple explanation of what this means:
From a Christian perspective, seeking to make sure that all students have the chance to benefit from a good education lines up with the principle we've seen a couple times in this Spotlight: "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up."
Let's get ready to show that we love Bryant Elementary.

Since the staff at Bryant is working on making sure kids in the neighborhood get the educational resources that would help them most, it's good for us to find ways to show that we appreciate them as they engage in this work.  Monday, May 8th through Friday, May 12th will be "Teacher Appreciation Week."

Take a look at the Seattle Public Schools Teacher Appreciation Week page from 2022. Make sure to watch the video from the SPS Superintendent.

This seems like a perfect opportunity to Illume to take advantage of the Ravenna building's proximity to Bryant Elementary (right across the street.)

Your task today is to spend 15–20 minutes brainstorming ideas for teacher appreciation.
Feel free to submit a prayer request by filling out the below form.
(If you choose to make your request public, you'll see it display in the Current at the end of the Spotlight along with anyone else who did the same.)

Prayer Requests

Pray through your requests—together—as a group.
After submitting your requests in the above form, take some time to share with your group whatever requests the group might have for this week.
Follow along with this prayer guide with your group.
Use the Lord's Prayer as a prompt for any prayer requests your group might have today. Simply speak each part of the prayer aloud as a group, then pause and ask if anyone has a request based on that section of the Lord's prayer.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.

Your will be done on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation.

Deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.
Serve Perspective
Hospitality believes lifting up others is worth sacrifice.
Sing along with (or listen to) this song to close out this Spotlight.'

Feel free to sing along or simply listen. Do what makes you comfortable—but do whatever helps you focus on the song's meaning best.
Let's wrap things up by taking a look at what's Current at Illume.

Tap on the buttons in the frame below to see what’s currently happening at Illume—information on everything from current and upcoming online content to live events and opportunities to serve in the community can all be found here.

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