This week my brother and his family are in town from Texas and we are making the most of the time with Mom and other family members.
Because of that this week I am repeating several posts from the past that I liked — hope you do also.
New stuff coming Very Soon!
Not everyone likes Andy Stanley and his preaching. I not sure that I like everything about it and I know there have been occasions when I’ve stopped to the DVD or Podcast to silently argue theologically with what I just heard.
But he does something that we need to see more of in preaching. I don’t know how else to put it other than he gives the unbelievers and skeptics permission and room to hold onto those doubts. He clearly states what he believes is true. Yet often in doing so he will note that some of you here may not be “bible people” or “church people”. “Maybe you are here because someone promised you dinner out — that’s OK.”
He will tell his listeners that if you have doubts that fine — just listen in to this anyway. It might be helpful even if you don’t buy into the whole “Jesus thing” yet.
In a previous blog post I talked about a book by Rachel Held Evans — Searching for Sunday. One of the things that really struck me about the book was the realization that many times we may have in our audience those who have serious and troubling doubts about faith, theology, and the whole “Jesus thing”. Often we give them the impression that if you don’t but into it all — all the time — you are not welcome here.
I have to admit I have “plowed through” some sermons which — truth be told — I only agreed with myself about 80%. I wasn’t lying. Really… I just had doubts about it. I KNEW (intellectually) this was the right thing to say (based on what I had been taught).
Emotionally — well there was the rub. Sometimes you can admit your doubts from the pulpit. Other times it is best to reserve that for a campfire WAY out in the woods with only the most trusted of friends.
My point — We need to provide room in the church for those who are hurting, doubting, and frustrated. Give them space. Nod and listen more — try to fix less. Allow the spirit room to mold and remake.
I don’t have the all the answers. I have things that theologically I still debate with myself (and sometimes God) late at night or in the car driving to work. That’s OK — as long as I maintain the friendship with Jesus.
I have doubts about my wife at times. She has doubts about me daily. Yet our relationship is intact and we struggle, argue, and gracefully give each other room.