Moved Mountains

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Lost Art of Relationship

One of the biggest challenges facing Christians today is the prevelance of social isolation. I think one of the reasons blogs and sites such as You Tube and "MY Space" have become so popular is through these virtual reality hubs, people can reach out and find something they are not able to find in the real world. They can find acceptance from likeminds and a sense of belonging.

Below's a link to a video montage from You Tube that I think illustrates this point well. I found it strangely moving when I first watched it. If you want to watch it you'll have to click HERE. It is rather long (about 10 minutes) and contains a few seconds of material that some people may find offensive (a lesbian kiss as well as the "F" word).

I think it is obvious people are screaming out to connect and belong. What are we - as the church - going to do about it?

Mike O also dropped by and left some comments relating to the way evangelicals handle the art of relationship that I thought were very relevant.

Mike O said:

I am a conservative, evangelical Christian. But I have found that I do not have to compromise my views to talk to people who don't share my beliefs. What we have at OTM is common ground. I agree that we do risk "gracing people" away from God, and I've expressed that concern there. But at the same time I think we need to look at it from the non-Christian's perspective. Will they listen if all we do is harp on them about the truth? If we can't just talk without constant "intentionality," how well will those relationships really work?

The way I see it, there is a relational breakdown between the body of Christ and the rest of the world. And until we fix that, nobody will listen anyway.
Here are some links to articles and posts at OTM that detail his own "emerging" journey into a biblical missiology.
It is time the church rediscovered the "art of relationship".


Helen said...

Andrew thanks for posting that video montage. I love that it's people getting to speak for themselves. People who probably don't have a lot of other people to listen to them - as you pointed out.

Why is it that some people can speak for 30 or 60 or more minutes every Sunday and thousands show up to hear them? But others have no-one to listen to them. Why do Christians spend 30 or 60 minutes or more listening to pastors who don't really need all those people to listen to them; while there are all these other people out there who do need someone to listen, and don't have anyone? (Or, perhaps it's possible to do both. But are Christians out there doing both?)

I'm glad you wrote about Mike. Mike is equally wonderful at connecting with other people, whether they share his beliefs or not. That's why we asked him to help us host one of our blogs (the eBay atheist blog). It's exciting for us that conservative Christians like Mike are taking our ideas about how to connect with others better and figuring out how to implement them in a way that doesn't compromise their beliefs.

We hope that Mike will lead the way for others because we would love to see more conservative Christians working on the art of relationship. And Mike has it down.

The Creature said...

Helen wrote:

Why is it that some people can speak for 30 or 60 or more minutes every Sunday and thousands show up to hear them? But others have no-one to listen to them.

Two reasons! One, within Christian culture it is considered acceptable to do this - I wonder though how many are actually really listening and how many really do want to be there? The other, it always has been and always will be difficult for some people to have a voice. That's part of the reason I am in the ministry I am in. It enables me to be a voice for people who otherwise go unheard and get walked all over in the process.

I think there are many, many Christians out and about in the world listening and loving in many ways. Church - at least the part that is about the Sunday service - shouldn't be confused with Christianity/following Jesus. Although for many Christians around the world the Sunday service has become synonomous with their faith (and that is a way of thinking that has to change!).

When I started working on the streets I came across many, many Christians who felt about ministry and following Christ in the same way I do - and they know it is an approach to life that doesn't fit in the traditional church settings. These are people from all different branches of the church.

So I think you are not giving Christians due credit. Maybe your experience is different to mine, and if you have only been around Christians in the traditional "church" setting (i.e. the Sunday service) then I wouldn't be surprised that is the experience you have had.

Mercedian said...

Poignant! And so true. People want to connect. I think it takes desire and commitment in order to be a person who connects with others. The biggest thing we have to do is to quit thinking about ourselves and start looking around. Thanks for reminding us of this.

Bruce Logue, Ordinary

The Creature said...

Thanks Bruce.

I haven't made it over to Ordinary Attempts yet but will try to do so soon.

Helen said...

Andrew, thanks for your response to me. I see what you're saying and I'm glad to hear about you and others being out there on the streets ministering to people who need help.

I think you'll like the OA blog.