Saturday, December 04, 2010
I have really enjoyed working with seven adults in our recent Exploring Our Faith class. The group was made up of two young couples, a father of young uns, and two others. Interesting, intelligent people who want to join the church. What's not to like!
Last evening was our final session and it included discussion of the United Church and its ethos. I listed as strengths a bunch of things, including a remarkable list of "firsts," along with a strong social conscience. In the shorter list of weaknesses I included a traditional reluctance to speak to others about our faith. I have noticed that UCC members like to say that they bear witness through their actions rather than their words. I think this is a bit of a cop-out. It brings to mind my wife Ruth's days as a marriage counsellor. The wife (usually) would lament that the husband would never say "I love you." Hubby would gruffly respond "I cut the grass, and make sure the oil is changed in her car -- she should know I love her." Expressing love for a partner is not either/or any more than expressing love for God is either/or.
A member told me recently that rather to his surprise he spent some of his time at the Royal Winter Fair this year "personing" the booth for Christian Farmers. He's a great guy and seems reasonably sane (hey, he reads this blog so he must be!)For the first time in his life he openly witnessed to his Christian faith and even prayed with some of the people who came to the booth. He said that it was a little nerve-wracking as a rookie, but he didn't regret doing so.
Are you open about sharing your faith or are you tongue-tied? It seems to me that one reason the United Church is shrinking and aging is that we aren't all that adept or willing to share the Good News of Christ. Yes, yes, there are all the stereotypesof the pushy Christian , but do you "bear witness to the faith within you?"