July 1, 2010

talking about faith: casper visit re-cap

As I wrote last week, my friend Matt Casper came by First Pres' on Sunday to speak with my class. It was great having him. In our brief time, we talked about several things regarding outreach. I'll outline those briefly here...
When we talk with people of other faiths-or no faith-about our own, we have to first acknowledge that it isn't a one way conversation. We don't earn respect and the right to be heard without first listening to them. Which leads me to my next point...
People are people. Treat people with respect. Just because they have made different conclusions than you doesn't mean they haven't thought it through. Which leads me to my next...
You don't have to have all the answers. Be willing say, "I don't know." As Matt often says, "It's about dialog not debate.
At the same time, I added another aspect:
As I written before, "evangelism" has become for many a creepy or embarrassing term. But we need to rediscover how to speak about these things with confidence (while with humility) in ways that are "normal" to each of us. And I am also assuming a couple of other things:
- That we are in relationship with people that are not of our faith
- That we have conversations with others about our faith
I hope that in my class, people got a chance to see that this doesn't have to be weird and contrived. That this can be quite natural... even with an atheist. We'll talk about this more next Sunday at 9:45am. Author and pastor, Henk Vigeveno will be back to talk about this with me. Henk has been advocating this kind of approach for half a century. I'm glad to have him.

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