What Do We Talk About Every Day?

Deaf TalkThings I’m tired of talking about: climate change deniers, Donald Trump.

Things I’m not tired of talking about:  the Tony Awards, “Emily Doe.”

Very soon my denomination will be talking  about fossil fuel divestment and The Confession of Belhar, and the future of Synods – all topics that most of the world doesn’t know or care about.  But in my denomination, our General Assembly will be caring very much about these topics June 18- 25 in Portland.

I’ve been talking about this blog post by Andrew Kukla which is about what we talk about in church.   He notes that we often talk about spiritual things in Christian Education classes but not in everyday conversation.  It’s not part of our daily reflections with friends.

When someone of another faith tells me that they’ve become Muslim/Buddhist/Hindu because “it’s not a religion; it’s a way of life” I want to slap my hand to my forehead.  Since when is following Jesus not a way of life? (Hint:  since, in the words of Kukla, we’ve been  doing “classroom education” rather than “discipleship.”  We offer classes.  People go home smarter.  But nothing changes.)

One way to change the Church:  talk about discipleship every day. Where did I see God today?  What signs of resurrection did I notice?  How was my soul moved?  Why did I or didn’t I reach out to a stranger?  Did I even notice the strangers?

I also have an idea for changing the world:  talk about race every day. How often do we talk about race with our family and friends?

In the words of Debby Irving:  “Not talking about race (is) a privilege available only to white people.”    Irving refers to a survey she took years ago, in Waking Up White, which asked:

How often do you talk about race with your family and friends?

Without exception all the people of color answered, “every day.”  Their sons and daughters’ lives depend on knowing about racism and colorism.  Their own job security depends on knowing certain cultural codes.  I believe we should all be talking about race every day.

Why does a young black man get 3 years in Rikers without a trial, falsely accused of backpack theft?  Why does a young white man get 6 months in jail for rape? The stories are countless.  There’s plenty to talk about every single day.

What we talk about every day reveals who we are cosmically and eternally.  It speaks to our life’s purpose.

Yes, it’s fun to talk about new ice cream flavors and who’s getting the next EGOT. But God is calling us to make disciples and love our neighbors.  Let’s talk about what that looks like – every day.

Image source.

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3 responses to “What Do We Talk About Every Day?

  1. stevethomason

    “One way to change the Church: talk about discipleship every day. Where did I see God today? What signs of resurrection did I notice? How was my soul moved? Why did I or didn’t I reach out to a stranger? Did I even notice the strangers?” YES! Thanks for posting this. As a Pastor of Spiritual Formation in the local church it is so easy to slip into the classroom/curriculum mode.

  2. Many people don’t know how to talk about the issues that are this important. And we in the church aren’t usually teaching our people because we don’t know teach them, either. I’m not trying to be a tout, but the Thoughtful Christian site offers dozens of good materials for bringing these issues into Christian Education (for all ages) and making them about discipleship; providing tools for the people in classes to take out into the world with them. I’ve used their materials on class warfare, white privilege, food production and consumption, civility, water use, making medical decisions, and many more. They are Bible-based and attempt to directly tie our faith to everyday life, everyday decisions, everyday conversations. Lots of theological and practical questions for people to wrestle with in their lives and in what they see around them.

  3. Discipleship seems to be the new buzz word…just as missional was several years ago. It doesn’t work. It does not connect. It is not a word which resonates in the 21st century. Sort of like asking a teen to listen to a cassette tape…or even use email.

    I wholeheartedly say YES to talking about where do I see God, where am I growing in my understanding and practice of being a more human in this world, what difference does it make in my life, how are others lives better because of how I live my life, where are the people who have no voice and how can I be their voice…

    It is spirituality. It is deeply spiritual. It is what the SBNR have been trying to hammer through our thick skulls.

    It may take sitting around a table dismantling old ideas and concepts of God, Jesus, and the Spirit. It may take helping people take the next step in their faith knowing that every person’s step will be different. Some will need that information step. Some will need the hands on step. Some will need a time of silence and contemplation first. Some will need to try something else. Some will not make that step as what they currently subscribe to still works for them.

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