Monday, February 9, 2009

Conversations about God!

Today I want to continue discussing some of the ideas we exchanged at the "Human Event" conference this past week. Something that struck me as unique and particularly helpful in unpacking many of the ideas offered by the presenters was the format. The presenter would speak for twelve minutes (none of them actually did. In reality they spoke for about fifteen or twenty), then they would end their session with a question or series of questions. We would then break up into small groups of 3 or 4 people, and unpack the ideas and process the questions. Then we would return to the larger group and the presenter would field questions that arose from our small group sessions, and would conclude by moderating a hearty discussion to further expound, substantiate, or debunk their ideas.

One of the presentations addressed the issue of conversations about God with people ‘outside’ of our faith paradigm. Do we just parrot toady catch-phrases that we think make us sound relevant (my words), or do we genuinely look for an appropriate “Starting point for a conversation about God these days?” For instance, Tim Tebow, during the National Championship game, had JN. 3: 16 displayed on his 'eye-shadow'. Between midway through the first quarter and early the next morning the number one internet search on google was for JN. 3: 16. Whatever your view on this may be, Tebow has a mass appeal among college football fans, and he uses his standing in football as a starting point for a conversation about God. No doubt, some people who didn’t know what JN. 3: 16 meant prior to the game, are now aware that it says: “For God so loved… that He gave.” How cool is that?!

Why is this important? Because statistics tell us that in the West we are losing 5000 people a day from Christianity, while China adds 16,000 new Christians daily. Clearly there’s something ‘lost in translation’ between us and the people we’re trying to reach, and it’s imperative that we quickly figure out what it is in order to get it right. Books like The Shack, are beginning to explore these ideas in unique, and sometimes controversial ways, but at least they are opening up a conversation. So here are a couple of questions to ponder for the day:

What’s the starting point for a conversation about God these days?
What part of the gospel message, if any, would you start with?


Hope said...

I like to assess the type of person I'm speaking with. To someone who is a "feeler" I speak from the Gospel of John. It's important to know a bit about who I'm speaking to. If I don't know them and I don't know what to say, I just smile and hope that they will ask me what I have to smile about.

Ash said...

First question- I think, in just my experience esp w/ new people, it's usually through a question about their value system and progresses to a discussion on religion and finally my faith and their views or mine on particular social's steps...for me anyway.

Second question- that is entirely subjective...b/c it will depend on what aspect of the conversation/or Christianity that person has challenge with....or the issue they're thinking about.