What I've been thinking and what I've been reading for you to compare notes.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Creating A Culture of Dialogue

As you read the third chapter of John Burke's book, "No Perfect People Allowed", it occurs to you that creating a culture of dialogue in the church is something intricately woven into the fabric of Christ's ministry while on earth. Just think back to all of the conversations He had with people who were not simply seekers, but many who were downright doubters.

"Notice that even though Jesus had all the anwers, he still respected and valued the opinions and free will of others." (Page 53)

I think the radical difference between Christ and many who follow Him is our level of confidence in the truth. The more confident we become by learning and living God's truth, the less intimidated we are by those around us asking us sincere questions about our faith. These questions, when openly received by us, become a tremendous bridge of relationship and communication.

As Burke postulates in this chapter, a culture of dialogue is essential to reaching emerging generations with the Good News about Christ. We may moan about wanting them to join us on our playing field but the fact is - the playing field - as well as the rules - have changed.

We believe firmly in absolute truth. Many in our postmodernistic culture do not.

Does that mean there is such a thing as "absolute truth" any more? Absolutely.

Burke's view here is simple yet essential: "doubt is not the antithesis of faith." (Page 56)

In fact, the path to authentic faith is the healthy and biblical model. "...those who never doubted, struggled, or wrestled with what it meant to do the will of God were not the heroes of the faith...they were the Pharisees who crucified Jesus." (Page 57)

So we need to create a culture in the church, a culture of dialogue that makes allowances for the doubts, questions, and wrestlings of faith those seeking spiritual truth need.