I’ve been looking forward to this for about six months.
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Earlier this year my good friend and old college roommate Jason got in touch with me. We’d always connected, perhaps because we both played soccer or are deep thinkers or were born on the same day, same year. He was going through a time of spiritual exploration. I was too. And even though we were on slightly different trajectories, we had a lot of ideas to throw around.
He is not committed to a Christian world view, and I am, but there was this thing: I was learning all kinds of spiritual truths from him, things that lined up with scripture and some of the more traditional aspects of Christianity, stuff I had never been taught in my evangelical upbringing. Some of the conversations we had blew my mind. Some made me feel very, very lost. Some brought a lot of my doubts to the surface. But for the most part, our discussions made me dig even deeper into the Bible, made me analyze what Jesus really said (and not just what I was taught that he said), made me ask difficult questions about my faith.
Then this thought hit me: the Christian church needs people like Jason in their seats. And not just sitting there, but asking difficult questions, dialoguing, spurring them on. But for the most part, we don’t like it. People like J make us uncomfortable because they don’t agree with our faith statements or our denominational emphasis or our “blind faith.”
But why? Why does the church work so hard to create congregations of people who, like robots, all believe the exact same thing?
Why is the church so uncomfortable with having people of different faiths come along for the ride?
Why is the church tailor-made for only Christians to enjoy?
If someone is genuinely seeking spiritual truth, does it matter if they are a Buddhist or a Muslim or a Christian? I’m not saying the church has to change its teaching or that it has to stray from Biblical truth, but can’t we create an environment that is open to questioning and dialogue and spiritual introspection?
Then came The Red.
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For eight weeks, beginning this Sunday morning at 10am, we are going to try to create an environment that digs into Biblical truths in a way that is open to dialogue and questions. We hope you don’t have to be a Christian to enjoy it. Our main goal? Furthering the conversation on faith and spirituality.
We’re not so sure that people want the one-hour services that are so popular these days in “seeker” churches, so we are starting at 10am for anyone who wants coffee and doughnuts. The main experience is at 11am – we’ll have a time of silent meditation, a time to interact artistically, a time to talk about some aspect of Jesus’ teaching (this week we’re discussing Theological Humility), and an optional time of prayer. If you’re not comfortable praying, go get a jump on the line for lunch.
The (in)famous potluck lunch.
We did a trial run this past week with the volunteer-leaders, and from coffee time to the end of lunch, all in all we spent about four hours together. It was kind of refreshing, not rushing in and rushing out, actually getting to speak with people for more than five seconds on your way to the car.
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We’re also going to try to incorporate as much social media as possible, so anyone who comes is encouraged to bring their computers or smart phones, get on the web while we’re in the middle of it. We’ll be updating our Facebook page and Twitter account (@8weeksintheRed) through the whole thing, so feel free to jump in and ask a question if you’d like. Or join us for the time of silent meditation. It would be nice to know that other folks out there, all over the place, are coming along for the ride.
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8 Weeks in the Red. I can’t believe it starts this Sunday. Stay tuned. And, if you don’t mind, help us spread the word by sharing this blog or our Facebook page with your friends.
Click HERE for details on location, time, etc.