Dropping God’s Name
I have found that I have a good relationship with God and I don’t have trouble connecting with my community, but what I struggle with is connecting God with my Community (see illustration). I have trouble talking about God and what he is doing in my life with the people around me. Why is this? It didn’t used to be this way.
Matthew 6:5-6 (The Message)
And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat? Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
I have a close friend that I’ve lost connection with over time. We met up for a drink the other day and he begin to tell me of his hard luck.
I immediately went into logical problem solving side and started to think of the reasons he was in his predicament. He began to explain that God has a reason for everything and was wondering what God was trying to tell him in this experience.
I felt like saying, “You got yourself into this mess, not God!” and then rationalize why he was in such a fix.
The good news is that I kept my mouth shut, but what I remember from that meeting was that for some reason when he began talking about God I began to tense up and wonder if the people sitting at the table next to us could hear us. I didn’t want anyone to know we were talking about God. It was an awful feeling.
What are the trigger religious sayings that turn us off to talking about God?
I asked everyone to write on the “Wall” (large vertical paper on wall – See photo) their triggers while Todd & Angie sing: I keep it hidden
What the Bridge wrote on the Wall:
- God is Love (Ignore all the violence in the Bible)
- The Gospel = Solution to all questions/problems
- Constantly going to the Bible when any problem/issue arises instead of talking about it. Where is the balance?
- Elitist “You should read this…”
- “Christian” gender roles (head of the household? WTF?)
- God’s Spokesmodels
- ”We just teach the Bible”
- We welcome everyone, as long as you act/believe/look/feel/think just like us…a couple of tattoos are cool, though you make us look hip & relevant.
The wife and I:
When Michelle and I started dating we had a deep conversation about our beliefs. We talked about how it was important that we both respected each other’s beliefs no matter what they were. I asked her how she felt about me talking about God and what I believed in. She said she was totally cool with that and thought it was important. What is awesome is that we continue to have conversations about God and about what we are going though in life and it brings us closer together emotionally and spiritually.
Matthew 18:19-20 (NIV)
Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.
Is there a way to talk about God with our community that is non-threatening?
I asked everyone to write ways to communicate on the “Bridge” (large horizontal paper on wall – See photo) while Todd & Angie sing: If we were only one
What the Bridge wrote on the Bridge:
- Be an ignorance expert
- I have little to no idea what I’m doing & where I’m going. I’d like it if we could figure that out together
- Test the waters
- Sharing your beliefs and experiences despite…in spite of your personal doubts
- Be vulnerable
- Respect & Love
- Affirming & seeing the image of God in everyone
- Don’t think you know the answer
- Meeting people where they are at!
- Reverse You Assumptions
- Consider that the person isn’t stupid
- The more I learn, the more I don’t know
I believe that it’s important to talk about God as a community. I believe that it draws us closer together and builds intimacy that we need as a community. I want to have that closeness with you guys. Thank you guys so much for listening and sharing you thoughts.