Thursday, July 2, 2009

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:

What should we do when a change in attitude, understanding, and mentality is necessary, but some Christians are unaware of this because of weakness or simplicity?


Lukas und Céline Kuhs said...

Changing seems so impossible for me at the moment.

A friend asks me to "just love them more". I don't like this solution, because it will not change anything (except my attitude towards it).

Sorry, this is my struggle with Christians who are unaware because of tradition. May be the same as weakness and simplicity though.

Greg said...

Thanks. Sometimes leaving has to happen. At least, if we're open to our own need to change, it won't be impossible.

Yes, I think you're right that tradition can create blindness, which in this case, would be the same as weakness and simplicity or a lack of dis-satisfaction with what one has and who one is.

Micha said...

I think the best way is to begin a friendship and engage them and then slowly start to question them, to show their own contradictions in their worldview.
That is always the best way to eradicate wrong believes: analyzing their paradigm and showing how it isnt working with their axioms. Because then (after a while) they wont be afraid of leaving their paradigm.
Especially in exclusivistic circles it is necessary, to work with their presuppositions.
BUT - This takes so much time. So much.

I think we need to focus on young Christians, although it is sad to give up our older generations.


Greg said...

Thanks. Helpful points. Most good things take time.

Joshua said...

Would depend on the nature of the specific necessary change and the impeding urgency no?

Dialogue seems to help. Self-examination is helpful tip from Paul to Ghandhi. A demonstration of an alternative way of life. Rebuke might be apprioriate.

reneamac said...

"...because of weakness or simplicity" brings 1 Cor. 8 to mind, although "food from idols"-type of mentalities aren't "necessary" attitudes and understandings. But what I do know is God has a special soft-spot for the weak and simple. And therefore we are to develop such a soft spot in the power of Spirit.

I really like what Josh had to say (which kind of summed up what Lukas and Micha said as well).

I think, like Josh mentioned, self-examination is key, for love is key. Personally, I have to be extra prayerful when it seems "tough love" is in order: like leaving or harshly rebuking. Being extra prayerful is not something I'm always good at. I'm learning.

A cut against another human is a cut on my own body. How much more a cut against my Family? Pruning and surgery are necessary for health, but when I realize it is my own body and the body of Jesus that needs the cut, I am more humble, tearful, compassionate, loving. I am less sterile, mechanical, self-righteous.

Lukas und Céline Kuhs said...

Thanks for your last paragraph, Renea. Helpful thoughts!


John said...

Agreed. Thanks for that paragraph, Renea.

When I have friends who are unwilling to change (and sometimes I am that person as well) I think steadiness of love is important. Do not love the person less, but love them where they are. And remember that sometimes love means being tough, as in not providing an alcoholic with drink. I don't think we should ever give up on a person, but rather be long-suffering with them, forgiving them as we have been forgiven.

This is, of course, what a Christian should do. There is a lot of room for creativity within it, as well!

We must remember that love and friendship are not self-gratifying endeavours solely, either. We may gain self-gratification from these things (we may not at times as well), but rather we enter into them as a free choice.

Greg said...

Thanks. What I have in mind carries a fair amount of urgency, but true that is a valid query.

Good suggestions about how to approach the possibility of change.

Greg said...

Thanks. Helpful insights.

Do you think God's soft spot for the weak and simple would be an affirmation of the status quo? or all the more importance for a change when necessary?

Greg said...

Thanks. Good comment.

What would you say to Lukas in his first comment on love not changing anything?

reneamac said...

No, not an affirmation of the status quo--it's probably safe to say never. And yes, that is our calling to true religion (James), to uphold the weak: in this case, aim to lift them from the status quo. Of course, there has to be a recognized need and a desire to change before anyone can help. In our stubborness and laziness, God eventually turns us over to our sinful desires. He doesn't abandon us: ever. He allows us to experience the emptiness of our sinful desires, painful as it is to him, in hopes that we will recognize our need and turn to him.

reneamac said...

PS. We need cold drinks for the summer. ;) I suppose we could get iced tea or coffee...

Greg said...

That's a good way of putting it.
Cheers! Iced tea would be nice.

John said...

Greg -
I had a long response typed out, and I thought I posted it, but apparently it got deleted somehow.

I would counsel Lukas to make decisions for what to do with a friend, or a spouse, or a child, in the context of community. One must take into account the depth of relationship, the commitment made to the person, and also the circumstances of the situation.

We must remember that sometimes love is tough love, and sometimes it is alright to choose to separate oneself from relationship, but we are also called to be long-suffering in our friendships, so cutting off relationship should be a last step, though I would say in marriage cutting off relationship is not ok.

It's hard to know what to say without knowing the situations, but I think if we take our pride out of the picture (as much as possible), love the other where they are in life, and seek to be Christ's hands and feet to them, and do so with the counsel of wise individuals around us, those are good places to start.

Greg said...

Thanks John. Sorry you lost the first post. That's always frustrating, but I appreciate the one that did make it up.

The possibility of love and change should perhaps be a topic of further discussion

John said...

Thanks Greg. I think that the possibility of love and change may be a very good future ZZ Café topic. It's something I have thought about in the past, and I'd like to hear input of those wiser and more experienced than I.