So, you think you have faith narrowed and reduced to a strategic formula and defined in rational theological words? You have memorized the accepted answers to the correct questions. While the incorrect questions, the ones that take you on a journey inside your soul, remain unasked and locked out. The incorrect questions — the questions about doubt and risk and uncertainty and wonder — long for a safe place to be asked.
Have you found that safe place? Do you have conversations that meander and linger into the next week?
There is a crying need in our culture for conversations outside the lines, discussions that open the locked box inside us, chats that are about the journey more than the destination.
Our "socially networked" world is forcing us to re-examine our reality. We have never been more alone. Even virtual and digital friends via Facebook and daily posts, peeps, and tweets leave us searching more and knowing less.
When was your last conversation that lingered longer than a day?
One of our mental blocks that keeps us spinning our wheels is our inclination for "right" answers: to be right in a world filled with wrong. Another mental block is our addiction to rules and formulas. It's time to push through these mental blocks.
Paul reminded the Colossian believers:
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone (Colossians 4:6 NIV).
It's time to get past positioning and posturing. It's time for conversations that explore. God has placed bites of wisdom in ordinary people; have you discovered that first hand?
It all started with a simple question: "When you think of God, where is he? In the sky? Outer-space? Clouds?"
Jeffery said, "Wow, I never thought about it, but when I'm watching a ballgame on TV and a believer hits a home run, lots of times he raises his hand and points to the sky. I'm like that, I think UP."
"Wait," Pam added, "Don't we teach our kids that Jesus lives in their hearts?"
(So where do we get this God in the sky idea?)
The conversation that began with a simple question just got complicated.
The chairs were moved in, coffee cups refilled, and messages checked. The conversation was irresistible and compelling. It was a real, no-holds-barred discussion, nothing except religious talk was off-limits.
They discovered that genuine conversation rolls on; it isn't bound to a place or time. It travels under the radar, off the grid, into a world where everybody is equal, where everybody is a somebody with something to share. The old mental blocks about God's in the sky or God's under the steeple crumble at our feet.
So, if you're ready, let the conversation begin ...
Many thanks to Jim Palmer, author of "Wide Open Spaces," a book that challenges the mental blocks and forces us to think again.
Do you have a question ready? It's time for some incorrect questions with out-of-the-box responses.
Start with this posting of Faith Notes. Send it to a friend and ask the "Sky-God" question. The goal is not correct answers; the goal is conversation filled with grace and seasoned with salt.
This week I especially always welcome comments. You can leave a comment on this issue of Faith Notes at the bottom of the web version: http://bit.ly/HLda0j3i