Yesterday was the men’s breakfast. We have been in Romans for the last two years (well I started going two years ago and they were already halfway through 🙂 ). I really like this group.
The thing I like about this group has a lot to do with the guy who leads it. His style is very open and he is more than willing to let the conversation stray into challenging waters. I’m sure the age and maturity level of the group helps too. That is not to say everyone who goes has been at it a long time or even that the same individuals show up at each breakfast.
I say “we” because I feel like I belong here. I’m part of the give and take of personal interaction. We are a fellowship and that is what we do when we meet.
I attend the regular Sunday service with my wife, but it isn’t the same. While it is important to come together and stay connected to the larger group, we don’t have the time for deeper interactions on Sunday because it just isn’t conducive to that kind of socialization. Using school as a parallel, Sunday is like the lecture hall where the material is presented and our smaller more personal gathering is like a study group where we review and digest the material, making it our own. Do not infer from this the men’s breakfast is a rehash of Sunday service, the congregation hasn’t been stuck in Romans the last two years. 😉
In this same vein the men’s breakfast is a place where I can practice my faith. What I mean by that is I can “fly with a net” there. There is a cross section of people who are willing to be my test subjects just as I am willing to be theirs. We learn from and put up with each other in a “safe” environment where we are all guided by a common commitment to Christ.
This is very important to me because sometimes I feel like one of those electrons on the outer shell. I may be part of the atom, but it feels like the bonds are weaker where I tend to spin. I’m not very dogmatic about biblical infallibility (though I believe the bible is the standard by which to measure) or even what it means that Christ was fully human and fully God (though I believe His atonement is the only basis for God’s acceptance of me). I don’t believe that people are saved by “magic words”, and I don’t fully understand the tension between behavior and grace or election and will (though sometimes I think I do). I have real problems with evolution but understand that it is not the real issue. I self identify as a “fundie” but sometimes it seems like I’m either a liberal in fundie clothing or a fundie in liberal clothing.
Maybe I’m just a troublemaker. Some time ago we were discussing “disputable matters” and I chimed in that prostitution was a disputable matter (’cause we seemed to be hardening the denominational lines). I was actually thinking of Rahab since she was both a harlot and a heroine of faith. I then went looking for OT injunctions against harlotry. Apparently Levites can’t marry them and fathers are not supposed to force their daughters into that line of work. Beyond that it would seem this was (is?) a valid occupation for unmarried females. As far as I can tell you can’t be an adulterer or a fornicator but prostitution is okay if that’s how you make a living (depending of course on local legal custom). Finally the group leader asked if I was really defending prostitution or making a point (smart man). My point was that we need to be very careful when we start defining the boundaries past which we will not fellowship. Sometimes less really is more.
And they let me come back 🙂 Now that I think about it I have no idea how much headway they made before I got there. Still, they welcome me back.
What it comes down to is these things can be very simple for some people and very complicated for others. Maybe it’s simple for those people who can just trust God but complicated for the people who feel compelled to try to understand why. Some of us look for signs and others wisdom.
My wife doesn’t have much problem with her faith, she doesn’t worry about it. She worries about other things 🙂
She says I’m deep, but I think that just means I’m in over my head.
That’s why I really like this group. They keep me from drowning.