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!