We Can Learn a lot from Non-Christians and Former Christians

I think it is important to give an honest listen to both non-Christians and former Christians. We are discussing Dan Kimball’s They Like Jesus and Not the Church with our 20s and 30s and one of the things I like most about it is that you actually hear unfiltered comments and explanations of what non-Christians think of Jesus, church, and Christians. It is hard to reach people if you don’t understand them and where they are coming from. If we are going to understand where people are coming from we have to listen to what they have to say. Having said all that, have a look at what C. Michael Patton of Parchment and Pen posted about the testimony of one who left the church and why.

0 Responses to We Can Learn a lot from Non-Christians and Former Christians

  1. Pete Wilson says:

    Right on! Keep up the great blogging.

  2. K. Rex Butts says:

    The failure or refusal to listen to someone just because they do not share our faith convictions is just another shining example of Christian arrogance…an example I want no part of.

    -Rex

  3. Adam G. says:

    I’ve been frustrated by responses I’ve seen online from within the Stone-Campbell movement to talk of liking Jesus but hating (or disliking) the church. The responses usually consist of theological treatises explaining why it is unscriptural to try to love Jesus but not embrace the church. Talk about missing the point entirely!

    Besides, who’s going to read one of those Bible-passage-heavy articles and say, “You know what, he’s right. Every bad experience I’ve ever had with Christians and the church should be ignored and I should get myself over to worship this coming Sunday. Golly, I feel so much better now.”?

  4. mattdabbs says:

    Hey Pete,

    Thanks for stopping by. Your blog is great and I really like the design of your church websites. Really well done.

    Rex,

    I wonder if Jesus ever listened to anyone he didn’t agree with?

    Adam,

    Good point. Communication means you try to speak in a way the other person understands and try to actually hear what they are saying. When people throw a million verses at people they have no background to comprehend there is little wonder they throw their hands up and walk away.

  5. K. Rex Butts says:

    Most of Jesus’ conversations with people who did not share his faith convictions we redemptive moments (Zacheus, the woman at the well, etc…). Jesus found a way to turn those convesations into redemptive moments and I believe this was so because Jesus did not start off by parading his Spiritual superiority or berading the individual as though they are a moral deviant. Instead, Jesus found common ground (“I am going to your house Zacheus” or “Can you give me some water to drink”) but then used the opportunities to show how God was intersecting in this life and in the lives of those he was speaking with.

    It looks easy from a spectators position. Unfortunately, I find it difficult (though easier than it once was) to engage in conversations that do not insult but are redemptive. When I try to refrain from parading my supposed spirituality superiority and berading others whose convictions differ from me, then I find it difficult to turn the conversation into a redemptive moment. Sometimes it seems like the only way we can facillitate a redemptive conversation is to begin by verbally and emotionally beating the individual completely down for their moral failures so that they will want redemption – any redemption to feel good again.

    Does that make sense?

    -Rex

  6. mattdabbs says:

    Rex,

    I really think that the answer to what you are talking about comes in living out who God called us to be not in a showy way but just because that is who we are. Then you pair that with being open, honest, and transparent with your own sinfulness. Those two don’t seem to go together but they do. People see that you are reaching for a higher standard and a fuller life but yet that you are real with your struggles to “get there.” When people see that combo they realize that there is more to life (because they can see glimpses of it in you) and that they can relate to you in your weaknesses – because they know that you get it that we all sin.

    My neighbor has a friend named George who is not a Christians. The first few conversations George and I had George knew that I was a minister and dropped the F-bomb a bunch of times and said things to test if I would want anything to do with him. I did want something to do with him and treated him with love as a fellow human being. Amazed that I didn’t run away or shout him down he actually got interested in learning more. If I had talked down to him, rebuked him, etc we wouldn’t be friends today but we are and he is considerate of me and doesn’t use that language around me anymore even though I never told him not to. I think there is some redemption rolling around in there somewhere that hopefully be fully born in him one day.

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