Friday, July 28, 2006

Listening as a Teaching Tool?

We've been practicing Lectio Divina meditation each Thursday night at 7pm, down at The Vault (see, and it has been a wonderful experience for most involved.

We have a religiously diverse group spanning the spectrum from Pagan to Christian, and filling in the gaps which lie between. A reader reads the passage of scripture slowly, and repetitively, and everyone else listens, and thinks. After some time everyone who desires to share their meditation has the opportunity.

Occasionally we get someone who wants to correct something they hear another person sharing, and it is usually a fellow born-again Christian who does not understand how to meditate on the Bible in any other style, than to find some doctrinal insight which points to someone else's failures, or shortcomings. This usually breaks the gracefulness of the group, and requires a leadership redirection, or even a gentle correction.

Why are Christians, who should be the light of the world, such terrible listeners? Isn't someone who can not listen living in the dark? Why do we correct people before we know them, or in some cases even before we understand what they are saying?

I am wondering if listening might be a better teaching tool at times than talking. Certainly a dialogue beats a monologue, and the dialogue requires both listening and speaking.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Working alongside other minded people

Our location - The Vault - is somewhat of an experiment. We are trying to figure out how to make the place comfortable for people from every background - including religiously diverse backgrounds, and still retain our Christian integrity.

It appears to be working so far, and the little group we are is growing larger.

But now, we have Pagans, Atheists, New Agers, and Undecideds hangin' around with us and loving it. They want to get involved too. So we are rethinking what it means to do ministry, and serve people.

Could it be that some people might find God while serving God? That's a unique thought. It sure is stretching our idea of doing church, and doing "evangelism." Eugene Peterson suggested using the word hospitality instead of evangelism. I think I like that idea.

Traditionally the church has required everyone to be likeminded in order to serve together. Could it be that we have short changed God by not working side by side with other-minded people?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Could the Atheists be Correct?

A newly-found friend and fellow Christian rebel, purchased an atheist on e-bay some time ago. The Atheist was selling his soul. For every $10 he would go to church one hour. (Check out the story at

This was quite controversial among Christians and Atheists alike.

As Christians we feel that Atheists are foolish, and we have Bible verses to prove our point. Yet many of the Atheists believe that we are captivated by a kind of despotic mind cult. Our thoughts are not free because we have been brainwashed by this cult of Christianity.

Could they be right? Could it be that the most common practices of Christian fellowship are based in creating people who all think exactly the same? I know far too many Christian leaders who are afraid to allow others in the church to have a say, to ask a question, or to get involved at anything more than a basic level, unless they have proved themselves to be robotic imitators of their leaders. Is this because we Christian leaders are afraid to be challenged, and so we silence free thinkers? or could it be that we have wrongly assumed that God's goal is make us think and act alike?

The second reason would be far more noble, even though it would show that we are foolish Christian leaders. The first option of being fearful would show how corrupt we are, and in need of defending our little despotisms.

I wonder how we can best help Christians become free thinkers. It seems to me that Christianity - the religion of liberty - ought to be able to find a way to free our minds.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Looking for a Win

Win and Christie dropped by last night after church. We haven't seen them for quite some time. They pastor a church in Beverly. Win and Christie are struggling with autheniticity in Christianity, just like we are. He calls the state of American Christianity "the system." They think that "the system" is messed up, and it is part of the problem with Christianity in America today. Well no, they think it is THE problem.

Thye actually came by to see how Elijah was doing, because they only just heard about our son's hospital stint, and his ongoing health struggles.

Thye came by to see how we were doing. They were being relational. They were being friends. They didn't care about numbers at the church, or a discussion couched in self-important Christianized phrases. They just wanted to see how we were doing. Win commented that he wasn't looking to build a church these days, he was just looking for friends.

I don't think that I'm looking to win the prize for church growth either, but I guess I am looking for a Win. More people like Win would be refreshing.

I think he holds the key to authenticity in Christianity - friends. Friends like Jesus - who act like Jesus - who are there for us like Jesus.

What do you think?