Last night my small group was at my house until nearly 11 PM, and my co-leader didn't leave until 11:40. We had wrapped up the group around 9:00, but as people sat around the circle chatting, two of the group members began to talk about a play they had seen over the weekend, "A Bright New Boise." As they related the story, it paints a picture of Evangelical Christians as people who disengage from the world because they're really only concerned about getting to Heaven.
This began a conversation about how well (or not) this stereotype represents the American Church, role of faith and works, the Church's response to homosexuality, the need to serve the poor, the tendency for a purely social gospel to replace the Gospel, the need to love others, whether ongoing sin will cause someone who believes in Jesus to go to hell, the problems with faith as our parents practiced it, the blind spots of our generation of Christians, and the perception of the Church by those who are not a part of it.
As I sat there listening and participating, there was a moment when I remembered and rediscovered why I do what I do, why I lead small groups, why I help others organize and lead small groups. I help create environments where conversations like this can happen. I help create environments where people can wrestle with their faith, where they can figure out what it means to live out their faith, where they can disagree and still walk away as friends.
It was a rich conversation. It was the sort of conversation that is worth its weight in gold. The feeling is much the same feeling as giving your all on the soccer field or the basketball court with a team of friends. It was challenging, draining, and invigorating all at the same time.
It was discipleship. It was community. It was theology.
It was life-giving.
The challenge now is to make sure it translates into life-change.
Photo by ElvertBarnes
It's a simple question really, although one that might be difficult to answer: What are you about? What defines you? What is unique about you? What makes you who you are?
Jamie asked this question of herself on her blog, which got me thinking about what I'm about.
I'm about Jesus, and I'm about helping others follow him.
I'm about my wife.
I'm about the Church and more specifically my church.
I'm about community.
I'm about cities. I live in DC, and my last three trips have been to Seattle, New York City, and Addis Ababa.
I'm about food. I especially love Chicago pizza, hot dogs and beef sandwiches, and if you grill meat I'll like it.
I'm about leadership, learning to lead myself and others well.
I'm about too much TV.
I'm about receiving grace and trying to get better at giving it.
I'm about reading and writing.
I'm about social media.
I'm about driving.
I'm about generosity.
I'm about being stressed and agitated but trying to change that.
I'm about my friends.
I'm about Sabbath.
I'm about poker.
I'm about competition and winning.
I'm about thinking and challenging and stretching my mind (and yours).
I'm about serving the vulnerable, because that's what Jesus is about.
I'm about integrity.
I'm trying to be about joy and intentionality.
I'm about theology.
I'm becoming about artistic expression and travel.
I used to be about politics.
I'm about exercise (sometimes).
What are you about? Leave a comment below or better yet, write your own post and link back to mine. I'll be sure to swing by your blog and check it out.
Photo by Flickr User gfpeck
…does he still love it when I give begrudgingly?
What does it mean to be a Good Samaritan when you see ten homeless people in five minutes?
How do you teach someone who is wasteful with what little they have how to be responsible with their money and belongings?
How do you help find a job for someone who is homeless and hasn’t had a steady work in years?