Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"Real" World

So one of the hardest parts to my job is that it keeps me at church with church people for most of my time. Don't get me wrong, I love hanging out with my fellow staff members and absolutely love the adults and students I get to experience life with. However, I miss having conversations and experiencing moments with people who do not know God or at the very least do not care anything about the church. I don't think we set out to be a holy huddle at the church, I think it just sort of happens. I have met very few people at Central who would claim that the church is not for those who are not yet a part of it...but in the end do not know how to invite or interact with those same people. And then I realize why do we classify people into groups anyway? Why does it have to be "believers" & "non-believers"? I understand that there are people who have a relationship with Christ and there are people who do not. But at the same time, I just refuse to believe that God looks at people in categories, so why do I? Anyway, connecting back to what I was originally saying; when I worked at Starbucks I got lots of time hanging out with and chatting with people not connected to church. They were just regular people. And the crazy thing is that I really do feel like when I was there I viewed all people as just people, not my current "two category" viewing. Have I gotten less like Christ in some ways since coming to the church? I don't know, but I struggle with that concept and not enjoying my conversations about life while making someone a latte. Last night I went to the DBacks game (which we won, woo-hoo!) with my friend Jason. Afterwards we went across the street to this bar Tiggo's. We wanted to just sit and have a conversation but we ended up talking with this bartender Anthony. He was an interesting guy, saying so many "colorful" statements. As we were talking to him it felt good to have just a regular conversation. I wasn't treating him like a "non-believer" and looking to hand him a fake twenty dollar bill witnessing track. Just talking about business, baseball, and a little bit about him. I don't know if I will ever see him again, and maybe I was supposed to say "go to church" but I thank him for providing me the opportunity to interact with someone who wasn't just like me. My hope is that I can continue to find opportunities and places to interact with people who aren't part of the church. Not because they are a different "category" but because I want the fullness of life in relationships with all sorts of people. I miss that. I like that. And honestly, it feels as if I am most Christlike when I do that.


Brandy said...

One of the reasons why I left my job at Central is that I was really struggling with being surrounded by so many Christians. That's not a bad thing, but I was really wanting to shine God's light to the secular world. And when you're just sitting there, having a real conversation, sometimes Landon, those are the times when God's light shines the most. :D

Jason and Melissa Schneider said...

You forgot to mention that Anthony could have crushed both of us with one arm tied behind his back. Well maybe he would have to use both arms. I agree with your statements. I love having random conversations with people but, when they find out that I am a pastor the conversations soon ends or I feel like i have to ask them what church they go to. If i just want to talk with them does that mean that I do not want them to know God? I do not think so.

bigdave said...

Wow, what a privilege to read your mental catharsis! It is exactly the way I feel more and more every day. I gave you a copy of Hugh Halter and Matt Smay's book, "The Tangible Kingdom," and I know that you don't seem to have time to read it right now, but it addresses the very thing that you wrote about and how they have developed Adullam, a congregational network of incarnational communities in Denver. You would love how they have brought to being communities that are based on the concept of belonging leading to belief, as opposed to belonging being only for those who believe. How can we witness to the masses in America that have no inkling as to what church or God is all about, unless they see Christ in us. That won't happen inside the walls of our churches, but it happens everyday in our meeting the "Anthony's" of our day to day lives.
Hope I don't ruin your outreach by responding to your articles, but I am moved!
Love, DAD