Seth Godin has a good take on becoming a smart person that can apply to the church. Here’s a portion:
If smart people in your industry are talking about an issue you don’t know cold, it’s very important that you don’t just sit there and nod your head sagely. I think there are two constructive paths. The first is to ask. "Wait, I was with you until a second ago. What does that mean?" You’ll be amazed at how smart and engaging this makes you seem if you say it at the right time.
The second approach is to write it down and not go to bed that night until you know the topic better than the person who brought it up. How else, precisely, are you going to become one of the smart people?
Have you ever been in church and “nodded your head sagely?” I know I’ve been there. Why aren’t we asking more questions?
I suppose we’re afraid we’ll look dumb, but our fear keeps us from learning about God and growing closer to Him. Which, ironically, is dumb.
Seth isn’t just talking to the ones who aren’t asking questions though. It’s a reminder for us that as we talk about things with people, we should stop to see if they’re understanding. We should create a culture where people feel safe asking questions.
So let’s get smart.
Post some God-questions you’ve always wanted to ask in the comments. Do it anonymously if you want. We’ll spend some time looking at the questions in the coming weeks.
I spent about an hour at Williamsville North today with the Bible club after school. One of our students asked me to come be a part of it as an “expert” who would answer the students’ questions. It was a fun time with them. Here are some of the questions we talked about:
- Is ___ the antichrist?
- What languages (and why those?) were used in the Bible?
- What’s with all the strange stuff in Revelation?
- Do people who commit suicide go to hell?
They had a few others, but these filled most of our time together. I felt good that this student had a place where they could interact with other Christians in the public school. I’d love to go back and do it again sometime in the future.
what is something you feel you can’t say in church, or around other christians?
Some of the responses are kinda silly. Others are pretty serious. Most are brutally honest.
When the church is silent on these issues, or not open to discussion, people will go elsewhere for advice or help. Topics like sex, finances, or struggles with kids/spouse are important ones for the church to address.
Any specific ones jump out at you, either from your own history or from the comments on Anne’s post?
With Pastor Whited out of town in Haiti, I’m covering services this weekend again. He started a new series last week titled “Questions for the New Year.” He covered some general questions, but I get the first specific question in the series, “How Can I Make a Lasting Change?” I just finished the first draft of the outline, which is much earlier than I was expecting to have it done. I used the extra time to make a graphic for the series. I’m a bit of a hack, having very little design knowledge/creativity, but knowing my way around graphics software. I think real designers might not like people like me.
So, because I can’t actually draw anything, I’ve just gone with a basic font treatment for the graphic:
It’s nothing fancy, but I like it better than just a plain old boring text at the top of the outline. Look for more about the sermon in the coming days, plus we’ll have a special follow-up to the sermon that we plan to make a regular feature, at least on a trial basis. Fun stuff!
I’ve written about how much I love our youth in the past. I’ll probably write about it again in the future. It’s a real joy to work with them. I often hear from people about how they could never do my job. A number of them fear for their lives around youth. Some of them just don’t understand youth. Others think youth do stupid things and don’t care about anything spiritual. I guess it’s just an example of everyone having different gifts.
Well, I’m thankful (and I think many others are as well) that I enjoy working with youth. One of the highlights of my ministry is teaching Confirmation. Many people, including Lutheran Church Workers, hear that and think I’m crazy. And my favorite part about Confirmation is teaching the Commandments. For whatever reason, students connect to the Commandments in a way that really makes them think about how they are living their lives. I had rehearsed about 15 minutes worth of teaching, which is usually about 20 minutes long when we add in student readers and jokes I don’t make during the rehearsal. Last night at Cornerstone, we spent 45+ minutes on the teaching time because of all the questions that the students asked. As a teacher, it’s a real joy to have so many youth seeking to know the truth of the Scriptures!
You can listen to the whole teaching time online. Check out the Cornerstone Podcast for the audio from last night. You can even subscribe using iTunes or your favorite RSS Reader, just like you would do for this blog.