Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Figuring God Out

As I was working on the About Us section of the website, and trying valiantly to find a picture to put next to "Christian Education" (I did, but I never figured out how to add it), I happened across this, and it got me thinking.

How many times do we do this?  How many times do *I* do this?  Put God into a box.  Think that we have our faith and our God all figured out.  Sometimes this extends to how we do things in church.  We have it "figured out" until somebody or something forces us to ask "Why?". 

I think that this is one of the things that really drove Jesus nuts with the Pharisees.  Sometimes we (myself included) are busy pegging them as the "bad guys", and forget that they did love God, they wanted to be the "good guys", and spent a lot of time and energy trying to do the right things.  Which is commendable.  So what drove Jesus up a wall with them?  They had "figured out" God and their faith "with nice lines and definitions".  They may have followed the letter of the law (or their additional rules), but they didn't follow the Spirit of the law.

I think of Jesus in these times like a parent or a teacher that is trying and trying to get students/children to understand something, to really understand it.  And sometimes you have a person who is bright, and talented, and you know that they can do it, but they just aren't understanding, and sometimes are stubbornly insisting that you have no idea what you are talking about.  I sometimes imagine Jesus thinking, "Come on!!  I know that you can do it.  Just look beyond those lines and definitions!". 

Maybe I'm wrong in my previous thoughts, but I feel that we have a challenge.  We need to show a living, vibrant faith and like any good relationship, we never have the other party completely figured out, otherwise we don't grow.

I want to leave you with a song that this subject makes be think of.  I hope that you enjoy it.
More Like Falling in Love

Blessings on your journey,

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why a Blog?

Good question.

First of all, if reading blogs is not something that is usual to you, please do not feel that you have to read these entries or risk hurting my feelings.  Believe me, I understand that people have different levels of familiarity and comfort with different styles of communication.

This brings me to my reason for writing this- communication.  Will this be the only way that I will communicate and interact?  Of course not.  This simply provides another mode, one which certain groups of people are extremely comfortable and familiar with using and responding to.

This blog can hopefully also provide a point of discussion about topics of faith.  This discussion can be had amongst members within the church, but even people who just happen upon the website as well.  We are called to be salt and light and I believe that we can make use of technology in our endeavors towards this end.

Lastly, I welcome comments on my blog, either posts on the blog itself, or in person comments.  I might be crazy for opening the blog up to comments, but my mission is to foster educational moments, and we learn in community.  I will read through comments and respond.  Additionally if we happen to have someone discover the site, who leaves a not-so-appropriate comment, I can and will be able to delete comments that are not appropriate.

However, my main focus is joy, community, and sharing!  I look forward to further discussions.

Love in Christ,


Friday, January 11, 2013

New Year, New Challenges

     As we start this new year, I started thinking about faith and conversations.  How many times do we talk about our faith?  As you read the last sentence, did any of the following images come to mind?

(pic. of screaming guy w/ cross and bible)

(pic. of guy w/ bullhorn yelling at another guy walking down the street)

(pic of people holding hateful signs)

If these are the images that come to mind (and they do for many of us), then no wonder we don't want to talk about our faith.  We've seen people using similar methods when they talk about their faith, and we don't want to use those methods.

But... what if...???

Is there a way that we can have conversations about faith without judgementalism?  Without yelling?  Without "preaching" or acting like we have all the answers?

I think that there is.

Think about it; when you are talking with your friends, do you talk about things that you like, do,  or enjoy, even if they don't necessarily feel the same way?  Do you hide the fact that you are a Lord of the Rings "geek" on the chance that they aren't into it?  Granted, you wouldn't sit and give them a half an hour lecture about the reasons that the Ents are more awesome than  the Uriki (or something like that).  However, you might say that the triology is your favorite set of movies, and maybe what you love about the series (the fantasy element, the action, the effects, etc).

If  you have an opinion about the school shootings, or voting, or internet restrictions do you always keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself?  Why do the rules change so much when it comes to discussing faith?

I'm going to throw out an idea.  What if we can have a conversations about faith in a respectful, open way?  We can talk about our thoughts, feeling, and ideas in the same way that we can about other issues. 

From personal experience- when I've had these conversations with others, when I've asked people about what they believe and why (and listen, because I want to know), when I've shared what I believe and why (making it clear that it is from my point of view)- this has opened up some amazing conversations.

I know that it is a new thought- but I challenge you to try this.  Get into a conversation about beliefs.  Don't go into it as if you know all the answers (you don't).  You might (and probably will) get asked some questions that you don't know the answers to, and these questions and conversations might make you think and reflect on your own thoughts about your beliefs and how you view the beliefs of others.  The only way that you can really find out what and why a person believes or feels the way that they do, is to ask them.

I tell you what- take me up on this challenge.  I'll make it easy.  Three conversations by June.  They can be with any friends (either from school, the community, or online).  I'll make a conscious effort to seek out these opportunities as well.  I'd love to hear how it goes.  I can't wait to see what things that we learn, and how we grow.

All the very best in this new year!