Saturday, November 23, 2019

Does it Resonate with you?

I came across the magazine Resonate recently, on the pile of take-aways in our church premises foyer. Seemed to be some really good material in it. Including a small group guide to developing authentic relationships and faith sharing. Also, a great on-line presence with related videos.

The guide included a debate...I wasn't sure if it would have been a real debate, with people taking differing views (which would have been best), or an on-paper debate with oneself (which would have been worst).

Why 'worst'? Because while proclamation is enjoined, it is rarely done, exempified or demonstrated in real life. We give lots of input in church, but its usually someone else speaking, asking everyone else to get out and speak to their friends without showing what this is, or having people in church engage in talking out their faith.

We need to have opportunity for anyone who wants to speak in church, and opportunity to listen to each other. It is both good, and good training. How do we learn to talk out our faith, if we never actually do it, even in church settings? This is particularly so in youth work. Instead of just passive listening we need to encourage young people to speak, debate, know how to articulate their faith and deal with both genuine questions and smart-alec-ness.

To conduct effective faith conversations we need knowledge, of course, but importantly, we need to be doing it with each other, and we need to be able to use our own language, or to slip into the language we are comfortable with. Everyday langauge, not theological school discourse or church sermon language.

I read the Resonate blog related to the magazine article. Petty good, then I read this:

One day, during the fasting month of Ramadan, his friends expected him to order pancakes as usual. They questioned him when he shook his head and walked on. He explained that out of respect for the culture and for God, he too was using the month to fast and pray.
That's like Paul saying 'out of respect to God, we are not going to disturb the trade of the Ephesian silversmiths' idol manufacture' and by the way, we'll give our respects to the Diana priests every time we meet for communion.

I would probably refrain from food that offended my Muslim friends in their own country too. But I would do it out of respect for them, not respect for their pagan moon-goddess and their savage triumphalist religion that enslaves women and slaughters non-muslims.

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