As I've been working with the Youth at our church we’ve put together a small group meeting every Friday night. For our first meeting everyone was handed a piece of paper and was asked to write whatever nagging question was on their mind. Everyone has questions and doubt but, sadly, church isn’t always the safest place to ask those questions. By writing out our questions and honestly putting our doubt in the open we’ve created a safe place for dialog. We’ve spent the last few sessions just going through the questions and discussing them together. I’ve been cheating and reading questions ahead of time (it’s not really cheating; somebody has to know something about how to discuss the questions). The questions have been really good and have made for some really healthy conversations.
One question in particular I found penetrating, “If Jesus was loving, then why are there so many people in our faith who are so closed minded?” Wow! See, the perception that Christians are closed minded isn’t just from the outside of Christianity. Even high school students see it and it makes it all that much more difficult for them to be a Christian, or even want to be one. On Friday we’ll talk a lot about why people seem closed minded (because there is logic even behind the most fundamentalist perspectives), what it means to follow Christ and change that perception. We’ll probably end up talking a little about evangelism (since that’s where closed mindedness shows up most often) and watching Rob Bell’s Nooma: Bullhorn.