#011 Blog Excerpt 004
A new paradigm for existing faith communities large and small
In this book we will get into some of these questions as well as discuss some possible techniques to use in de-polarizing the political climate within a congregation. These techniques are expressly designed for—not just easing in-house tensions—but for finding real solutions to fundamental problems within the community’s socio/political dynamic. These techniques are carried out in interactive workshops that are fun yet extremely effective. If a congregation chooses to incorporate these workshop techniques into their overall group’s shared vision, the expected results will be dramatic to such an extent as to redirect and reshape, not just the ministerial body, but the entire congregation. One of the secrets of these workshops is that they are open-ended, that is to say they are designed to be used as an ongoing strategy! This differs from most other workshops which are designed as a onetime, or perhaps a once-a-year experience. Another unique feature of this workshop strategy is that it is NOT fee-based, no one is charged to participate. In setting it up this way all monetary restrictions are eliminated, promoting an equal-opportunity, level playing field with an egalitarian spirit. These workshops can be used as an outreach tool as well. Potentially, the resulting influx of people participating will be not only large in number, newcomers will be folded into the inner workings of the congregation’s workshop campaign almost immediately. This means that at a certain point, growth has an ability to self-perpetuate! And again, I’m not just talking numbers, I’m talking quality of the tenor within the relationships of the ever expanding body! Once the techniques and philosophies of the workshops are fully realized and embraced by the participants, opportunities to collaborate with other faith communities, as well as lay communities, will become apparent.
The key to these workshops is absolute candor and a willingness from all participants to lay their cards on the table. The goal in laying cards on the table, being absolutely honest, is to determine the group’s shared vision concerning this question: “Who is Jesus??!!” Many (church-goers especially) will feel very secure in their response to this question. Some may even be somewhat offended by this question…is he questioning my faith? Others may want to come up with an answer out of the bible. Those unwilling to move beyond or rise above these preconceived perspectives will be missing the point because the answer to this question isn’t to be found in the bible, encased within in a doctrine nor is it able to be communicated as sage guidance from a favorite priest or your pastor. The intention of this question will reveal itself as it is purposed to a group humble and open enough to put it out there; using this approach, the group’s members are positioning themselves to receive an answer from Jesus Himself. The bottom line here is: as people come together with humble hearts, with their cards on the table to ask God the question directly (not circuitously or by proxy), information will come forth. Not head information, but experiential information; information that can’t be captured on paper but will be recorded in the collective fabric of the shared experience. “Who is Jesus?” The source of our nation’s cultural rift resides in the ambiguity around this basic question. And it isn’t just a question for the church-going folks. We all must understand that the residuals of Christian beliefs affect everybody’s life in the United States; either directly or indirectly; whether you have ever gone to church or not! Even those who want nothing to do with Christianity or churches or those kinds of people. The deeper reality is that conservative Christians and their conservative Christian ideals permeate our culture at every level and in every sector, schools, lawmakers and policy setters, these are the people who shape the parameters of the very reality in which we all must live!