1. So who is to blame for the death that is loose in the world, and what can be done to fix the problem?
According to the story of the world as the Bible tells it, blame goes to the first man (Adam), the first woman (Eve), and the first liar (the Serpent, Satan). The lie was that God was lying to the humans, telling them they would die if they ate from one particular tree. The liar said that the fruit of that tree would actually bring them knowledge that God wanted to keep to himself.
They fell for the lie, ate the fruit, and sure enough--it was poisonous. When they ate it, they turned death loose in the world and they lost access to the idyllic garden that had been their home.
In the following generations life deteriorated and the forces of evil and death showed up in all kinds of ways. In Genesis 4-11 we see jealousy, murder, corruption, violence, drunkenness, family dysfunction, arrogance, and racism spread like cancers. The world started looking more like the world we know.
That's when God launched his campaign to reconnect, heal, and bless the world, starting with an old childless couple in the Middle East, Abraham and Sarah.
For the rest of the campaign story, read any of SYNC's seven ways of telling the story. Just click the "Story of the World" tab and find your place in God's ancient and modern campaign.
2. This view of life sounds like we are supposed to "know our place" in life and be satisfied with whatever role the Creator assigns us. Isn't that slavery?
We don't begrudgingly resign ourselves to our assignment. We throw ourselves into the assignment, honored to be given it and eager to please the One in charge. We are like young boys who are thrilled when they get to run an errand that only their older brothers used to do. They are being treated as older boys now, and they feel more like kings than slaves.
Accepting our role in life would be a really horrible thought if the Creator was not on our side, deeply invested in our welfare. Look at our predicament as humans on earth. We find ourselves in a land that is entirely owned already and not for sale. We can never acquire a single square foot of property here. We have to come to terms with the Owner. If he decides to play rough with us, there is nothing we can do.
Under these circumstances, we are terrifically relieved to hear he has set the whole thing up as a win-win situation. The more we serve him, the more fulfilled we get. Realizing life is a gift rather than a right, we become thankful that the Creator did not do what he could have done--arbitrarily assign us wherever he chose, even if it was a role that felt to us like drudgery and slavery.
3. When we say we are "bringing life" to the world, does that mean we are telling the gospel about Jesus and eternal life or just doing good things that make life a little better for people now on earth?
It means we are bringing life any way we can at any level we can. We bring life at all levels because that is who we are--life-bringers.
During Life Season, SYNC puts more emphasis on the down-to-earth blessings than on the eternal or religious ones. What we are trying to say is that the more fully we enjoy ordinary life, the more grateful we are for what God has created, the more generous we are in everyday relationships, the more authentic we are.
Authentic people are admirable, winsome people. But to be authentic, we have to keep on sharing the down-to-earth blessings whether people ever ask about Jesus and eternal life or not. The down-to-earth blessings are not physical bait on a spiritual hook. Both the physical and the spiritual blessings are the overflow of the life Christ is putting into us. As long as he keeps pumping, we keep overflowing.