Maybe it was the spelling. One would expect that after a year the supervisor would know his name. Time to reconsider what lay ahead.
Teer Hardy joins me for a conversation that ranges widely but never wanders far from the subject of relationships.
A Back Story
Everyone lives within a context. Our self-awareness of our given place and time often determines our mental emotional health. Ignore privilege, for instance, and a lack of empathy for those less fortunate becomes apparent.
Faith stories and the life of faith are helped along by an awareness of our time and place. One would find it hard to read the Apostle Paul’s letter to Timothy where in the first letter he recounts his own circumstances of life and in the second reminds Timothy of the investment of his mother and grandmother.
Varied Contexts Make Good Conversation Partners
Tear knows how to use a computer. He manages the tech for the Crackers & Grape Juice podcast. Immediately one might think Teer, Jason and Morgan have all known each other for some time. We find out that is not the case. The significance of their varied context came to light during one of their recent podcast episodes.
A given subject or ministry issue spurred a good conversation. It became apparent that the different ministry settings helped shape the way the particular subject was framed.
For the Pastor-Theologian it would seem a healthy and helpful practice to find a variety of conversation partners from different ministry situations to help think through a more fully orbed practice. It would also be helpful, and a matter which I try to pound on the table of insistence, to develop friendships with those from other Christian denominations, even faith traditions.
Sometimes we forget there are more parallels between denominations.
Cooperation Over Competition
Tim Suttle recent wrote a piece on the subject of sport as liturgy of the empire. One of his points highlighted the way cooperation garners better results that competition. Southern Baptists, my tribe, pride themselves on cooperation. Yet, the measures used to encourage local churches is set up like a competition. We have top ten lists for most of our measures: baptisms, church attendance, Sunday School attendance, Cooperative Program giving, etc.
The very instantiation of a Top Ten list has the unintended consequence of creating competition. There are stories of pastors padding their baptism records by having the baptistery ready and wiling to baptize a passerby on the spot if he or she expressed faith in Jesus.
I learned that in the same way Southern Baptists think about climbing the ladder to bigger churches, so do Methodists who know what the next salary level would be on the next rung up. There are more parallels between denominations that many admit.
Why not develop relationships across those dividing lines and learn together?
I enjoy engaging Jason and the crew at Crackers & Grape Juice. I always learn something from coffee with my Episcopalian friend Tim. Our church recently merged with a non-denominational church. Our school lunch ministry we have run for nearly 20 years now meets students a the Assembly of God building closer to the school.
Who are your conversation partners? Are your relationships exclusively with your tribe?
Listen and Learn
Most of the time we listen for difference and separation. It might be better to listen and learn. Thanks to Teer Hardy for talking about his story.
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