Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Dialogue?

I read today of someone who used to be a Christian but now believes that belief in God is a delusion.

I never really knew this person but I know the church background that they have come out of and I know some of the same people that they do.

In describing their journey to disbelief (like my twin bro's) they say, using a quote, 'People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.' I think this is quite a profound statement and describes much of one of the issues that is facing the modern church. Where is the genuine dialogue?

My wife and I were at a Pentecostal church on Sunday beginning to introduce ourselves to the local Christian community. Near the beginning of the service the Pastor said that in a couple of weeks there would be 3 baptisms and to put the date in our diaries. He then said that if you have not been baptised then speak to him after the service because if you are a Christian then you have to be baptised. My wife said that she heard a lady in front of her whisper to her friend 'does that mean your not a Christian if you haven't been baptised?'
This is a perfect example of the need for dialogue and discussion within the life of church. Rather than being told what we should believe, there needs to be the space for people to ask questions, discuss what is being said and dialogue together so that we might be able to love the Lord our God with our mind because we have genuinely thought things through rather than being told what we should believe.

Back to this person who has journeyed to disbelief.

I do not know why they have given up on God, but I suspect that if people were given more space within church life to dialogue, ask questions and debate, then this person may well still be involved within the life of the church. Who knows what they might believe, but they would have the freedom and safety of exploring their beliefs within the church community.

I can't be alone when during sermons you've wanted to raise your hand and ask a question about something that has just been said or disagree with a statement that has been made.

That is why we started 'Crash' and will continue to explore this in Devon.

Isn't dialogue better for the soul? Jesus was always entering into discussion and debates, asking questions (sometimes with no response, but he still asked the questions!) and engaging with people verbally. I'm sure this is something that is valuable and missing from our churches.



2 comments:

Tony Mayes said...

Very thought provoking.

Sad isn't it that too often in our zeal to get thins right we push away the very people we should be reaching out too.

Maybe dialogue threatens some Christians, but for myself I love it.

Making room for all to journey in faith in our churches was one of the points in that dissertation that I wrote at the end of college.

Joe Haward said...

I'd like to see you dissertation mate.

A welcoming, dialoguing community really makes sense to me.

Hope you're ok?