Conversations on the train

July 2, 2003

[Apple Computer logo]The Apple developer’s conference is usually held in San Jose, just a short walk from work. But this year it was held in San Francisco, so I rode the train every day, an hour-and-a-half each way. This led to interesting conversations with my good friend.

Me: I have to split early today. Kay & I just started a home group in our church, and this will be only our second get-together, so I should be there.
He: What’s a home group?
Me: It’s kind of like a micro-church.
He: What’s wrong with regular church?

Me: It’s deficient, in that it mostly involves sitting and listening.
He: I thought you liked your new church.
Me: I do! But a church service is limited simply by its nature.
He: I thought “church” was just people getting together and doing God’s stuff.
Me: (surprised) Wow, that’s almost word-for-word one of the most important ideas of the Vineyard, “doing the stuff.” It’s the advantage you have of being untainted…
He: …Untainted by previous religious experience?
Me: Yeah.

So I shared some of John Wimber’s story with him. (He was surprised to hear that “doing the stuff” included healing, saying, “I thought that was just Jesus.”) And I complained about how the word “church” means “building” in the English language, whether you like it or not.

He: What about just me and God, is that church?
Me: No.
He: No?
Me: It’s the big lie of evangelical Christianity, that it’s all about “a personal relationship with Jesus.” Just me and God, and screw everyone else.
He: (surprised) I thought you were an evangelical.
Me: I am!
He: What does that mean, anyway, “a personal relationship with Jesus”? Is Jesus supposed to talk to me or something? I don’t hear a thing.
Me: Maybe he is, but you’re not listening. Kind of like with my kids, I can be talking to them and they ignore me.
He: Yeah, but the difference is, your kids can hear you. I sure can’t hear God.

So my prayer for my friend is that God would speak to him in a way he can recognize.

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

2 responses to Conversations on the train

  1. Wow! What a fascinating conversation you had with your friend! Interesting what you said about Christianity not just being about “having a relationship with Jesus”. Much of those old tenets are really outmoded aren’t they? No wonder that we have so much lone-ranger Christians out there. Here’s to more and more community!

  2. Jon, in reading the dialogue, it brings up the question as to how the Lord might have you repond to his “I don’t hear God” reaction. It could bring to light the right issues to inform him that Jesus said that His sheep hear His voice, that Him they know and respond. The need for His reconciliation with God might then be obvious…
    just a thought as I was reading the entry.