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?
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: 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.