Kyle explains from personal experience how conversations about faith, God, or meaning can get very ugly, and how wanting to avoid such conversations like the plague is a very reasonable thing. But he also describes discovering a different, good version of faith conversation, and encourages us to push through the discomfort of going deep with people so we can enjoy and be changed by them.
When it comes to the benefits that a commitment to honesty has for our lives and for our communities, Kyle wonders if there is a difference between just "not lying" and true honesty, and considers how the old saying "it's not the crime, it's the cover up" seems to be at the heart of some of the words of the Apostle John.
Arrogance and unteachable-ness are often right at home in religious settings. To protect against this, "humility" is our number one value at BLV. Even though humility means hits to our egos, in Vince's experience, it has given and continues to give gift after gift to him personally. So what does it actually mean or look like for a community or an individual to prioritize humility?
We wonder if the greatest enemy of "belief in God" is not secularism or atheism or religious pluralism -- it is bad "belief in God" -- ugly, cruel versions of "belief in God", or "belief in God" carried out in bad faith. For Easter this year, Kyle leads us in a reflection on the way Jesus' death put to death Bad Faith, and the way Jesus' resurrection invites people into just the opposite: an incredibly magnetic and inviting Good Faith.
Everyone wants to change and grow and be a different, better person in the future than they are today. But so much of what we default to doing to try to change and grow just doesn't work. (And, sadly, so much of what churches tend to teach is things that don't work.) Kyle teaches us a helpful way to approach trying to change, and brings us to an incredible promise from God that makes change feel possible.
What can we learn by tracing a line through Bubbles from HBO's The Wire, Jesus on the Cross, and the writing of St. Paul? That churches at their best are like a 12 Step Meeting. Vince's own experience has taught him that maybe it's worth expanding our understanding of the 12-Steps beyond just Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Sex Addicts Anonymous. Maybe all people need the 12 Steps.
The legacy of churches is ushering in social change, BUT the legacy of churches is also being on the wrong side of history. Texts from the Bible have been misused throughout history to stifle change and maintain the status quo, but in-context readings of even the most challenging-to-modern-sensibilities Bible passages reveal the heart of the earliest Jesus communities to be about justice, equity, and inclusion.
Living to prove ourselves is exhausting. St. Paul and modern psychological research on shame & vulnerability both demonstrate this. The better alternative is one of the great tasks of life to learn to live out, but it can change communities from the inside out.
What if our church was known for activating people to genuinely feel like they can make a positive difference in our wider community, city, and world? The earliest churches had this legacy as the way they operated subverted their hierarchical culture. Perhaps today, what it takes to activate people is subverting consumerism in our culture.
Vince kicks off our 40 Days of Faith Prayer Experiment for Lent 2018, getting us to dream big together about the impact our church can have on our wider community. What if we could help more people in Lincoln Square build rich interpersonal networks?