Thursday, September 11, 2008

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue.

I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

Why is living so unlike telling? Or is it?

15 comments:

Susan said...

Do you mean why are we good at "talking the talk" but not good at "walking the walk"?

Are you anywhere near the LHC? Is it causing much excitment over there?

Greg said...

Susan,
I was thinking of those who tend to discount "telling" over "living." Telling, they assume, is a far cry from living, which is all that's real or true.

Yes, the LHC is bigtime in the news here. Seems like a wonderful project. We'll see.

Susan said...

The trouble is nominal Christians who focus on "living", live good moral lives but are no different from some ordinary people who live good moral lives so without the "telling" it is not effective.

Christians who are passionate about God probably need to do less "telling" because it is more obvious in their "living".

Not sure if this answers the question or if it even makes sense!

Greg said...

Susan,
Yes, I think so. I think that "telling" and "living" are both important - the Bible is in some sense told living. There is a deep connection between the two and both have a place in living spirituality. If this is the case, it is seeking to gain perspective so that we begin to get the mixture better for the sake of Christ.

Martin said...

Hi Greg,
Many younger people these days say it is more important for them to just be with the people "living" then always trying to tell them something. Many refer to the words of St. Francis "preach the gospel always, use words when necessary". Which according to my understanding means "get their trust and if they ask then tell them".

My question is how long shall I wait for them asking?

Greg said...

Martin,
Good question. My thought was something like, why do some say living life is unlike telling a story. I don't think it is. Telling a story and living life are deeply intertwined.

As to young people preferring living to telling. I suppose it depends very much on what form of telling one does. I find that they are most interested in stories and less in telling them what to do or exactly how to think.

I believe if we as Christians are living and telling more holistic lives that then the gospel will unfold and begin to engage people. Moving together in understanding is crucial, but then comes the need to explain what has been understood. One could say this is a unfolding from one thing to another that makes telling more an outcome of the drama than having to wait to be asked.

John said...

As you and Susan have both said, Greg, both are necessary. Telling (what God has done in your life and the Gospel narrative) is a good thing, but if your living doesn't match, you'll be seen as a hypocrite and your words will fall on deaf ears. However, if you just live and aren't willing to tell why you live that way, then that's equally as bad as telling and not living.

I think many of us in my generation would rather be authentic and live lives that match up to what we claim to believe, and many times today we have to earn a right to speak, especially in America because so many have had bad experiences with over-zealous Christians.

Greg said...

Thanks John. So true about the impovrished telling and living that go on in so many over-zealous Christians. Authenticity is a key element of telling and living in truth and love.

harry coe maynard said...

Hello,

Just had a nephew return from four months at Mother Theresas in Calcutta, Picking up dying people off the strets. He said over half those he helped ended up dying. He's Baptist. the college group he's in are big on "faith in action". I guess that's overzelous. Reality in the Christian life is what they want.

We've had many discussions, these people they help,Must hear of Christ to.

It's easy to be a hypocrite in american, the World is so close, so churches are closing themselves up in enclaves.

Heard a video where 30 years after Christ 63AD, Nero was killing "high numbers" of Christians in Rome, interesting.

For what it's worth.

HCM

harry coe maynard said...

Hi,

My nephew Justin (overzelous christian) playing with orphans in Calcutta.

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.showvids&friendID=48463907&n=48463907&MyToken=0a22d8a6-0642-48cf-a315-d034ed12dc7c

Greg said...

Harry coe,
I'm not convinced that "faith in action" is being over-zealous. I think that John and I had in mind the over-zealous who tend to talk faith, but fail to actualize it in any authentic way. The gap is just too great for credibility.

Thanks for the link.

John said...

Greg and Harry,
That is exactly what I was talking about. But like I said, I'm just as concerned about those who live authentic lives but are unwilling to talk about it. I flip flop from pole to pole; I think what is needed is a middle ground. Living and telling.

Martin said...

Thank you friends for your thoughts, they are very helpful for me.

Greg said...

John,
Living and telling - why not! One should not replace or take precedence over the other, but it is often a question of context and timing that, while never perfect, have to be paid attention to.

Greg said...

Martin,
Thanks. Glad to hear it!