Friday, July 25, 2008

Evangelism and Charity

Good talk last night... good because it left all the wheels in my head turning really fast. The crux of my frustration is that although the "conclusion" we came to was that we have to love, what's often taught and said (in this case, the video) really sends the message "We have to DO". It's not about loving people... it's about how to inject their lives w/ the pestering of proselytizations! DO this and you too can be a good Christian! Because all good Christians show their love to their friends by "working on them" for years and decades.

Earlier in the day, I had a talk w/ my car pool buddy about feeding the poor as Christians. We discussed the motivation and I expressed my annoyance w/ the idea that some Christians would only feed the poor when it fulfilled their mission to evangelize. While one can easily argue that side of things, I think it's extremely difficult to credibly and seriously make the claim that you are going to love people unconditionally when you have ulterior motives... no matter how sincere and love-driven those motives are. If Jesus' ministry had centered around trying to convince people that he was the Messiah or getting them to change their behavior, it would have been an utter failure. He loved people unconditionally. Yet, when we are told the story of the woman at the well, we are ALWAYS reminded that Jesus told her to "go and sin no more". The point of the story was that Jesus loved this woman unconditionally and made her human again in a society that had marginalized her. The point was NOT that people shouldn't commit adultery. So we should feed the poor because we are overflowing with love and care for them and we want to (perhaps as a result of following Christ!), but we shouldn't feed them out of a desire to convert them. Am I wrong here?

So when we talk about evangelism, I have a hard time with it. I realize that the whole point of evanglism is to "convert"! But the way it is executed leaves me (and obviously many non-believers) with a sour taste in my mouth. It's hard to argue that it's about the love. It's easy to see it being about the conversions. It's not just the revival-style either. That video kinda made me sick. I don't want to be someone else's project... I don't care how much they love me! If something really is the truth, won't it be a bit more self-evident than having to spend a decade befriending someone to convince them?

Sorry to be such a stick in the mud on this. Thoughts? Flames?


A thought

A quote keeps coming to mind. In light of the conversation we had last night...

Seek to understand rather than to be understood.

Sometimes I really good at this and other times I really bad.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Building the Stone Wall

I have the privilege of working with multiple groups on building up the body of Christ, and so over the past few weeks I have been reading even more and having conversations that are helping me to understand what questions and opportunities might be helpful for people in considering how we fit together as a group.

These are just a few more questions to ponder:

• What value do you bring to the home group?
• What do you need in order to be successful?
• When dealing with conflict, how do you like to be approached?
• What motivates you?

Could you complete the following statement?

If I am to honor how God made me, I should seek ministry opportunities that require…. And say “No” to opportunities that require…

I think it would be great if we could start a dialogue about this on the blog.

I'll go first...

1) I bring value to the home group by providing motivation and encouragement to fulfill the calls that Christ has for us a group. I am able to bring people together who might become good friends or have resources and talents that could help one another. I like to come up with processes and provide opportunities for other people to be empowered to use their gifts. I would also be a good person to talk to if you have an emotional or spiritual problem and need a listener and encourager.

2) I need feedback on how I am doing and interaction with other people on a regular basis in order to succeed. I need to discuss ideas and opportunities with others. I need to be held accountable that I can't do everything or be everything to everyone. I need to be reminded to slow down and that I'm not Jesus, but that I follow Jesus.

3) As far as conflict goes, I'm not sure... I don't really like conflict, but I would like to be approached in person and preferably in a place where we could work through things. I don't like "you did x, y, and z" wrong statements and often take criticism personally even if its not meant to be that way. I prefer, "I feel uncomfortable, I disagree, I feel hurt, when you did x, y, z" statement. Then I know better how to respond.

4) I am motivated by scripture, books, and talks with others who have a lot of passion. I am motivated if I a specific task that I can check of my list to accomplish.

I'm still working on the last fill in the blank statement...

anyone else want to share?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Christian license plates...

What on earth are we coming to?

Do we really need to show off our beliefs on license plates now?

I saw this on a CNN article online. I think this is hysterical.

...I think we should pitch in and get these for Jeff and Jason's cars. :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Anybody want to try this out?

My journey group is going through a book that has activities for the week, basically a spiritual exercise that we try to do and then we talk about how it went. Last we was beneficial to me, so I thought I'd share this week's exercise with ya'll in case anyone wants to try it out.

Experiment this week with living life as Jesus would if he were in your place; specifically focus on spending a day consciously "at home" with the Father-- living in his grace. Here are some ideas:

  • Wake up and direct your first thoughts to his loving presence.
  • Pay attention to his gracious daily provisions, even the ordinary ones-- a closet full of clothes, a hot shower, the ability to see, think, hear, and feel.
  • Look for some examples of his grace around you in scenes of natural beauty, the face of a friend, meaningful accomplishments, moments that make you laugh.
  • When you sit down for a meal, imagine God preparing this table just for you. Slow down; enjoy the gift of food in his presence.
  • Pursue a favorite activity. Try to consciously engage in it with your Father as your companion.
  • When you fail, bring it honestly to him. Experience his open arms of forgiveness.
Does it make any difference to live this way? Is God's companionship enjoyable? Do you feel like your days are spent living freely in your Father's house? What did you find hindered your ability to enter into this kind of grace?