The Sacredness of Wine-Stained Notecards
We hosted an event for Communion Wine Co. on Monday and decided to try something new. Normally I share thoughts on a subject (or bring in a guest to do so) and then follow it up with Q&A. But I've really enjoyed how these events often wander off the intended course and turn into a larger discussion.
In order to encourage more of that, I asked everyone to consider this prompt:
Where do you feel stuck spiritually? (with the Church, with God, with the Bible, etc.)
Since we have everyone attending from pastors to long-time Christians, to newer Christians, to people who don't follow Jesus, I encouraged everyone to share honestly with whatever they felt.
We started by having each person write it on a notecard. Then I had them discuss their answer with the people around them. Finally, I asked any brave soul to read their card out loud.
At the end of the event, I asked anyone who was willing to turn in their cards so that I can use these as data points whenever I get to share about these types of conversations (which is often!). I now have a pile of notecards—a few of which show beautiful red drops of wine enjoyed that evening—that represent a collection of stories and challenges from the people gathered together that night. I think it's worth considering what people actually say when given a safe space to open up about the things that cause them to feel stuck spiritually. (I've edited some of them slightly for comprehension).
Here are a few of them that focused on the Bible:
- Old Testament - God commanding groups of people to go kill other groups of people
- I find many instances where I feel God is showing me something divine through another person or experience. Sometimes, these are in opposition to the Bible. Does the Spirit transcend the letter?
- I have Bible burnout
Here are a few of them that focused on theological positions:
- If God is part female and no gender at all how can women be less than, or anyone for that matter?
- I work at a church, yet I believe very strongly that some people are born gay as it was very obvious with some people I grew up with. Jesus never talked about it, yet for Gen Z it's often the first question they ask about.
- I don't understand the concept of hell if God is a loving father
- The overall church's view of homosexuality vs. the lack of comment from Jesus
- What part of Scripture was the most instrumental in guiding the church to decide that only men should lead?
Here are a few of them that focused on the church:
- I struggle with the business of the American church. The church has become an employer driven to increase revenue and attendance.
- My concern is with the people attending church when they use fear, guilt, and shame in place of love, support, and encouragement
- Loyalty allows you to experience community but leaving is viewed as being disloyal
- God is love and the American evangelical church is the opposite
- The lead pastor model
- Hypocrisy - this is why I can't attend
- I am not stuck theologically. I'm stuck church-wise.
- Why is there so much abuse in the church, and why don't Christians seem to care?
There were definitely the most hangups when it came to the way people experience church. And yet there tends to be sadness rather than anger in the way these are shared. Most people share these types of statements with the pain of what they've lost in their spiritual experience. Yet I continue to believe that Jesus is good and wants to show up powerfully in our midst when we gather together to bring Heaven to earth. I will continue to pour into any expression of church or community that works to offer more of this.
We didn't solve these statements during our event. Like a fine wine in a glass, we simply let them breathe. We made space for them and wrote them down like prayers of wine and ink. And collectively we were reminded that everyone is working through something.
How would you answer the question?
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