i’ve been talking and listening for the past two weeks, it seems. All the time, I mean. Which, if you count reading and writing, it close to true. Part of what makes it seem like forever is that I’m trying to stop talking religious and that takes more work.

Because I’m teaching a class in about 10 hours, it makes sense to summarize some of what i’ve been saying to other people and other people have been saying to me.

I think that these are significant steps in deepening as a Christ follower and in finding out that it isn’t a faith or a religion.

  • Decide your Invisible Friend is real.
  • Talk to each other about how hard obeying God is.
  • Decide that it is okay to use the Bible to respond to the previous point.
  • Argue and talk with and question and laugh with God about what He is saying in the Bible and in your head.
  • Quit saying the word “pray” and just talk to God.
  • Go for a walk with someone you can talk to.
  • Decide that you don’t have to defend God.
  • Decide that God isn’t making you feel guilty, you are. This can be by imagining that you aren’t doing things that He never said anything about anyway, OR by doing what is wrong.
  • Decide to not be afraid of what God might say if you asked Him about your life.
  • Stop asking God about the future.
  • Live what you already know.
  • Talk to people as if they might not have life figured out.
  • Decide that you don’t have and will never have all the answers to all the questions that exist about life, God, meaning, and the book of Revelation.
  • Know your own answers.
  • Start obeying God and disciple.
  • Decide that the reason Christ followers are supposed to meet together is encouragement, and if you aren’t being encouraging, you aren’t helping.

I know they need explanation and if you want it, be in class in 10 hours in Fort Wayne. Otherwise, ask and I’ll explain.

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6 responses to “summary

  1. OK Jon…

    “Quit saying the word “pray” and just talk to God.”

    So many things about this sentence I like and a few things I don’t.

    It sounds as if you are encouraging people not to get hung up on “prayer” or at least to just talk with and not about, which I like.

    You also mentioned that you were trying “stop talking religious”.

    Oddly enough both statements remind me of Chapter 56 of the Tao Te Ching: “Those who know do not speak; Those who speak do not know”

    I would encourage you to change the “to” God to “with” God. This simple change implies a conversation in which one must also listen.

    As for the not liking it. What this brings up for me is this: I struggle with an interpretation that I often hear from people which is ‘Hey, I talk with God and I’m a nice guy, why do I need to go to church and pray certain prayers etc. etc.’

    What I hear when someone says something like that is not that they have a strong relationship with God, but instead are looking for ways in which they can dismiss church and prayer in order to rationalize their “decision”.

    I’m sure I went too far with this given that I’m confident it was not your intent…just what it brought up for me.

  2. I love the change to “with”.

    And, I love the pushing you are doing with that sentence. The challenge that I am wrestling with is how to not have language always evoke the frustrations we have with a version of what we are describing.

    Here’s what I mean. When we describe our interaction with persons, we have a ton of words. We laugh with, cry with, talk with, argue with, reminisce with, chat with, brainstorm with…enough. When we talk about interacting with God, we pray.

    When God talks about it, He uses all kinds of words. We read that Moses talked face to face like a friend (Exodus 33). The disciples, when they were wallking with Jesus, probably NEVER described their interaction as praying.

    And, aren’t we disciples? Walking along? Talking with God?

    And, to the person that you descibe, the one who says, “God and I are okay”, I always want to say, “So when the two of you are talking, what is He saying back?” Since conversation involves listening as well as speaking, silence as well as noise.

    Thanks Rob.

  3. “Decide that God isn’t making you feel guilty, you are. This can be by imagining that you aren’t doing things that He never said anything about anyway, OR by doing what is wrong.”
    “Decide to not be afraid of what God might say if you asked Him about your life.”

    Two comments on these: Those two points jumped out at me as HUGE roadblocks to deepening my relationship with God. When I think of times of intense growth in my own life, I’m pretty sure it has come when I have simply focused on truth/Truth and let go, as your statements indicate.

    I am also struck by your verb choice: Decide. That word has implications for the faith journey on so many levels–we can be held back or boosted ahead into a marvelous leg of the trip dependent on what we choose (or fail to choose).

    Thanks for condensing some very big thoughts into words I can wrap my brain around.

  4. I Love this.

    As far as not liking this… I think it is perfect. Too often we try and word things in ways to make it “easy” for people to follow Jesus and more so, easy for us to “know” they are following Jesus. Following Jesus isn’t easy… and tracking who and how well, isn’t my job. People who want to make excuses for their shallow faith will make excuses and people who have incredible “prayer” lives and church attendance might aren’t necessarily the pillars of faith they think they are (I am not saying they aren’t, I am just saying I think we measure the wrong things).

    Thanks again for a great post.

    Just wanted to pop in and say I’m still listening. Haven’t been interacting as much lately, but I’m here.

  5. Chris’ “I think we measure the wrong things” is convicting–and I agree with him.

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