Monday, January 09, 2006

Friendship In The Time Of Excessive Faith

This weekend was supposed to be a kick off meeting for a ministry that focusses on faith and art, something which I have a lot of passion about next to youth and college career ministries. So I was really looking forward to this. The ministry was to meet on Saturday night, but I had gotten lost and wound up arriving late to an empty and locked building. I wondered if I had the date wrong or if they had moved to another location. I drove home, mulling around my thoughts and I started to wonder why is it so much easier for people in a bar to connect and get together than it is for a group Christians. For whatever reason the bar culture fascinates me. I rarely go to hang out there on a weekend except to see my friends band perform. As a result I see a lot of the same people from time to time giving us an opportunity to talk and find out what's going on in our lives. From that train of thought I was reminded of a singles group I attended a few years back. I have come to really hate singles groups, and here is why:

The group I attended were a good group of people. Very nice guys and ladies. When the weekends came around they usually spent it going out to eat then going back to someone's house for a movie night. Every weekend it was the same thing we go out to eat then we go watch movies. Of course on occassion they'd really get crazy by watching movies then going out to eat. I enjoy movie nights, I find them to be a lot of fun, but I don't want to do it every weekend. I want to get out, go shoot pool, a coffee shop, anything. Movie nights make it hard for people to get to know each other, to talk, or even just shoot the breeze. So I decided to be proactive and recommend to a group of guys that we do a guys night out and maybe shoot some pool. Something other than movie night or play video games. We planned to meet at my house and figure out what to do next. My room mate at the time who was also a part of the group told me it'd never happen. He was right. That day I got calls cancelling sighting how they just wanted to go out to eat and then have a movie night. What started out as 8 - 10 guys wound up just being 3.

So what's the deal? Why is it so much easier to connect with people in a bar setting than with a group of Christians? I think the main reasons is there is a fear of opening up and showing the real us. We have gotten so good at playing Christian that we do not know how to be genuine and real around each other any more. Take us out of context of the church or Bible Study and that is when we are really vulnerable and risk lowering our gaurd. Alcohol does that quite easily and superficially. Where we have to work too hard in certain Christian circles, booze makes it so we do not have to work at all and creates a superficial relationship. We are also very clicky sticking to what and who we know. It's not to say that they are rude or mean, they can be nice, friendly, and a lot of fun to be around. You just have to break through the crust of years of memories and common interests to get in.

It is a shame things are this way. True relationships cannot be forced or made to last by artificial means. You saw that with Christ and The Apostles you see a great (if not the greatest) example of what it means to have a relationship with other Christians. It is reckless, it is foolish, it is passionate, it is centered on the Love of God with honesty, openess, and compassion.


posted by Out Of Jersey | 5:26 AM


Blogger Logan Bennett said...

Hey man, I totaly know what you mean. I think that a lot of times Christians are very worried about what somebody might think of them hanging out at a bar. I know the college age group that I am a minister over has quite a few kids who have grown up in the christian faith, and came over to my house for new years eve even though we where all over 21 (who was drinking) they got offended that we even had alcohol at our house, tell me that is the attitude that we as christians should have. So I have now made it one of the activites for our college group to go to the bars and play pool to get people out of their little bubbles and into the world, the world that we are trying so hard to reach yet so hard to keep at an arms length. No wonder peopel don't want to connect with Christians, we are really not that much fun since we think that we can not participate in so many different things. I am totaly with you on these things though man. I also totaly understand your frustrations

8:02 AM  
Blogger Nakia said...

I totally understand the movie/dinner thing. It's almost... (dare I say it)... stereotypical of the Christian community.

I like the emergent swing on it. (Not really - I think it's cheesy) There's a small group at my church, they watch movies and then discuss how God could work through the message of the movie. So dumb.

8:43 AM  
Blogger The Cubicle Reverend said...

I'm not saying we should necessarily be hanging out in bars or things of that nature, whether a Christian does or doesn't is their perogative. I personally enjoy a pint now and then. But we also shouldn't cloister ourselves as well. I have to admit, I rarely hang out with Christians my own age. Years of working in youth ministry kind of screwed me in that respect. I actually expect to get some fun out of life.

I actually believe God can work through art and movies. And it isn't about movements or being emergent. It's about us developing our relationships with God through Christ, and our developing relationships with other believers. how are we going to share the gospel and love others when we can't even do it amongst ourselves?

9:03 AM  
Blogger Logan Bennett said...

Cube Rev: well I wasn't trying to say that we should or need to hang out in bars, I was trying to say that we shouldn't be afraid of it though, and we need to learn how to have a little fun like you said. Honestly me being a pro snowboarder like I used to be I am an adrenaline junky, and although I have found people in church to snowboard with, they are still not like my old friends who would do anything and everything that was crazy just to get a rush out of it. Those days were the good ole days when we could do something totaly unbelievable and crazy and have fun doing it. I totaly know what you mean man about wanting to have a little bit of fun in life

10:42 AM  
Blogger The Cubicle Reverend said...

I'm sorry Logan, that wasn't what I meant. I just think we have cloistered ourselves so much that we no longer have a culture. We are a characature (sp). After watching the movie Saved! I was struck by how true it was in certain respects. And when the church got upset by it I felt they were getting angry for the wrong reasons. I got angry because I had to admit that was a mirror of myself at one point in my life.

10:47 AM  
Blogger Eddo said...

Interesting post.

I had the same sort of thing happen in a singles group I went to. I was BORED out of my Gourd! Ugh.

Once when the guys did have a guys night, we grilled and then we went inside and listened to a baseball game on the radio. I don't like baseball on TV and to listen to it on the radio was more than i could stand. At least play some poker.

Thank God I have a great girlfriend now - I had given up on the whole singles front and through blogging I met my current gal. She is the sister of a blogger friend.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Frankie said...

This is so interesting! I suppose neither being a devote christian or never having attended a singles group makes it rather difficult to relate, but I know what you mean about it being easier to make friends in a bar and how sad that can be. We're all so afraid to be anything REAL sometimes with one another. I've made so many friends being out and drunk, but all of my real friends are people I've met and talked with sober. Still, I never reach for the sober interaction. It just isn't as easy.

2:53 PM  
Blogger Nakia said...

Yeah - He can use movies and media and whatever he wants. I don't know that it's worth spending every week watching and discussing a movie. But that's just my opinion.

It can be a fine line, striving to be holy, but still being realistic like Jesus was.

There's a podcast I listened to this weekend from Bill Johnson (Bethel Church; Redding, CA) called "There are no poopless cows" about how Christians are too often trying to keep the stable clean, but it's the poop that causes growth and fertilization. (Well, that's my bad summary, look it up on itunes if you want to hear a waaaayyy better version).

Sorry - long comment.

4:36 PM  
Blogger The Cubicle Reverend said...

There are times I'd like to meet someone just for the fact that I'd like to have the stigma of being a single Christian off my back.

It really isn't just a christian or a single problem. But a human problem. Get enough booze in us and you can find out anything you want about a person. Otherwise our gaurd is up.

Too true. We talked about that a bit in my mens prayer group this morning. We have no problem talking about our physical ailments, but when it comes to talking about spiritual or emotional ones it's not likely to happen.

4:49 AM  
Blogger Todd said...

Right on, sir. I am not suggesting that Christians should go out and get trashed all the time, but we sure need to get jacked up on SOMETHING. The early disciples were drunk on the Holy Spirit. We have all but run Him off as well. I don't have an answer, but I feel every word of your post. I feel more at "church" with my Christian wrestling buddies than at my actual church. And like you, I LOVE to go hang out and shoot pool. When you visit us down here in Hickville, I know a great place for billiards.

9:24 AM  
Blogger The Cubicle Reverend said...

Nice, I'm warning you though, I really really suck.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:06 PM  
Blogger The Cubicle Reverend said...

Man, I didn't intend to have this discussion turn out this way. I just want to see more honesty in the church. Not turn christians into a bunch of lushes.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Carmel said...

YOu are right Cubez, I don't know why it is. But it would be nice to see a change.
I thought your idea would be great and am baffled as to why only 3 guys showed up.
I agree about wanting to see more honesty in the Church too.
Lovely post, it's something to surely think about.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Cate said...

Great post. Lots of interesting points to consider.

6:53 AM  
Blogger mack said...

I am seeking a blog there life out there?

7:18 AM  
Blogger The Cubicle Reverend said...

Carmel & Cate,
Thanks for the imput. This has been something that has been on my mind for about the last 10 years. Ever since I left a church that was great at putting forward a face of being Christian I kind of forgot about it when I attended a church that at least for a time was very genuine and honest and loving. Unfortunately when they lost their focus from God and more about appearances and getting numbers. It was a shame. In spite of their faults one thing they did well was make sure people were connected.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Well I surely didn't intend to encourage Christians to become lushes either.


Well, I deleted my last comment, because I'm certainly not trying to encourage THAT, so I'll just keep my mouth shut on this issue.

11:39 AM  
Blogger The Cubicle Reverend said...

No no no, lol, I'm sorry don't delete your comment. I was joking. It was a joke. that's all. It was just funny how people started going in a direction that I had not considered when I wrote the post.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Okay, well I'm coming back to re-write my comment, but I can't quite remember what I wrote. Something about how I pulled someone from the bar (while visiting them at one that they worked at) and led them to the Lord, and still go to her show at another bar and have developed relationships with many people there who I now am able to share my testimony with. AND I invite them to church to hear me sing.

Yeah. Something like that lol.


I don't encourage lushy Christians.


8:43 AM  
Blogger The Cubicle Reverend said...

I think we were lushes long before you came. It is an on going joke that has been going on here at this blog. I made a post of a beer, a book, and a movie I found I was enjoying. Everyone commented like crazy on the beer, but left the book and movie alone. Hence, we are all a bunch of lushes.

8:56 AM  

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