I had created the category Journey as a place to document various inputs, be they thoughts, experiences or discoveries, that I stumble upon. Rattling about in my head lately is the thought that I really deire to surround myself with those that wish to go deeper. This is less a comment on the ability of my aquaintances to hold their mental breath but more on a longing to delve and question without fearing a nasty case of the bends when returning to the surface.
I have been involved in a handful of small groups of men that have met over coffee early some mornings. Most of the groups have been organized with a specific book chosen to read and discuss. These tend to be proper baptist books from authors like Henry Blackeby and such. Yes, I’ve even gone through Mr. Warren’s PDL… twice (arrggg). Another group I’ve been involved with has been walking through the New Testament a chapter every week or two. This has been quite enjoyable as each participant takes a turn leading the group for a chapter. This also has been the most edifying and the closest to an accountability arrangement I have had in my life outside of my marriage. Interestingly, this is also a multi-denominational, multi-racial group as well — and this group devotes at least as much time each week to supplication and intercession as to Bible study.
Back to my point. When sitting with these fellows and discussing various topics of life and our Christian walks, I often hear the odd, trite, Christian cliche tossed about. Often the look on the face of the tosser is that of great satisfaction that he has just shared such a deeply insightful truth. It takes all I can muster to refrain from cringing or letting out a good belly laugh at the juvenility of the statement. Sadly, the truth is that we put a great deal of effort into possessing a repetoire of appropriate cliches. Yea verily, all too often I am guilty of this sport and I do have quite the quiver full of cliches.
So, in lieu of these trite tidbits and snappy soundbites what are we to do? First, I imagine we need to give up the presumption that something always needs to be said. Second, think deeply about what is to be said. Third, consider if it is appropriate to be said. Fourth, if the moment is still viable then, and only in fifty percent of the cases, say it. For example, I routinely hear parables described as “earthly stories with heavenly meaning.” Cute, but not very provoking. How about if we consider, as N.T. Wright does,
“What would we have to do as the people of God in order to make people outside the church say in frustration or anger or surprise, ‘why are you doing that,E’ such that would call forth from us fresh stories of explanation.”
Not exactly a thought to which you smile and say “good one.”