Wednesday, October 8, 2008

the mind of the skeptic…

I am almost hesitant to share my not so random thoughts this morning…

I spend about equal amounts of time hanging out with skeptics, as I do with the “churched”.
I am constantly amazed that God has placed me in this position.
I am over 50.
Fluffy (nice way to say I’m not thin)
And a grandmother of four.
I am madly and passionately in love with God and an extremely grateful follower of Christ.

For some astonishing reason the skeptics actually like to hang out with me.

I believe…

Everyone who knows me understands that I am a follower of Christ, but they also know I don’t beat them over the head with the Bible, I pray that I am always very real and non-judgmental.
I love sharing frank discussions about their life journey.

It’s actually kind of cute sometimes. Monday-one of my peeps was bashing Christians (and rightly so), then turned to me and said “I’m sorry”, acknowledging my faith journey. But, she was right and I totally agreed with her. She has a mad hate on with Christians. And I understand why.

We work at Starbucks and she was sharing how the “Christians” stopping off at Starbucks on their way home from being so holy are rude and disrespectful to the barista’s, often cursing; after blithely dropping Christian tracks into the tip jar. That is the “witness” my dear skeptics see every week.
I’d actually prefer that Ned Flanders would come by for his latte…

What I know from the skeptics p.o.v.:
They want authentic relationships -they want to be able to be real…
Do not want to be judged - they want to be safe…
Have huge stereotypes of Christians. Which are most often based in realities. They don't want their lives to be changed, because they don't want to become like what they perceive "us" to be.
They are having real time spiritual conversations, just not with “Christians”.

Sort of related, sort of not….

Fast forward to Tuesday: When I am with our creative team I constantly viewing everything we do through the eyes of the skeptic.

I am continually bewildered when our creative team (comprised mostly of 25-35 something’s) get locked into designing from their point of view.
Can’t they see how locked into their own post-modern, Christian world view they are?
Completely missing what is now culturally relevant for the next up and coming generation? Or even people their age, but that are unchurched.
This isn’t the 80’s, or the 90’s, this is 2008.
They used to be cutting edge, when they were a fledgling young adult ministry. They were impacting lives.

But, now it seems to be that they are designing from memory instead of imagination…

Please understand that any discussion like this we need agree on the premise that we all are seeking to glorify God and we are uncompromising in sharing Word. And know that God is able to work through anything.
But I believe in giving God a fighting chance…

How many “skeptics” do you hang out with?
Are you designing from memory or imagination?

I apologise if this doesn't make sense, but it makes sense in my mind...


prophetsandpopstars said...

Hey Vicar, before you described yourself, I thought of you as "God shaped." I will continue to do so.

I think all Christians should work at Starbucks for a variety of reasons. I'm contemplating it, myself, as seminary is about to end. My jaw dropped as I read about your baristas' experience. Perhaps it's just that we are more caffeine deprived and therefore addicts and jonesers?

I taught a room full of elders last night and discovered that they all were skeptics. We're Presbyterians and they had never learned about predestination, its traps, danger and ugly sides. It was an amazing conversation: difficult question with few answers.

The thing's hard to guess what's relevant anymore. Working along side skeptics is genuine. Planning a worship service around them? I don't know. It seems more and more that we ought to ask, "if a skeptic wandered into our worship of God, how would we like for them to see us celebrating the fact that God loves us all?" "If a skeptic happened to be in our celebration, how might the devotion of our hearts communicate our commitment to God?"

Every time I check your blog, you just rock more and more!!!

dorothy (vicar of vibe) said...

Thanks Chris,
Your comment have prompted another post...

Anita J. said...

There's nothing like a real, down-to-earth friendship with a skeptic to open the eyes of the evangelistic is there?

Sometimes it isn't cursing Christians that turns them off, but the ones who coo over them like they are a baby in a carriage.

I think skeptics appreciate honesty over a mask of kindness, don't you?

dorothy (vicar of vibe) said...

Now that you mentioned it, it's not the cursing per say, but the way they are treating another person.
What the skeptics observe, is perceived as hypocritical and simply reaffirms the stereotype they have in their mind.
And then of course the mask of kindness is just as limp.
Taking the time to develop a real relationship with skeptics-helps them see past that stereotypical Christian idea they have in their mind.

beth said...

You got it, girl. It's all about the relationship.

Years of doing my best to live the Good Evangelical Republican lifestyle left me dry, cynical and with very few real friends. This 'love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself' idea really works.

We're a church of stumbling, broken people. Our leadership sets the example for just loving people as they are, refusing to set up an us/them paradigm and welcoming all. Like prophets and popstars says, our Sunday mornings consist of nothing more than letting people see us celebrating the fact that God loves us all. We leave it up to Him to do the conversion thing.

I love your blog, love the example of your life, and really, really, REALLY want to drive up to DC and have coffee with you!