Where is your favorite third place? It doesn’t have to be a coffee shop, of course. It can be any place that is not home and not the workplace. Is your church a meaningful thrid place? If so, what does it do to fill that need? If your church fails as a sacred place for connecion, what is missing?
I like to have many options as third places so that I can third place in the environment that best fits me at any particular time. i really like out-of-the way places though – they seem to have more character, regulars and less traffic. I like going to places that aren’t on the main road, that are two doors down from the busy Starbizzle.
I don’t think our church is a meaningful third place. The only couches we have are in the prayer room, which isn’t wildly connective or the ones in the worship center, but those all face the same way (yes, I’m talking about pews, silly). I don’t think that churches need to be third places though. Why do we need to build a third place when we can rent it for the price of a coffee? I don’t think any church needs to fill the need of a third place, instead they need to teach infiltration and missionality as a way of life. God lives at Starbucks just as much as He lives in the church (along that line, perhaps the first thing that needs to be taught is that people need to stop saying, “you can’t do _________ in church!” like as if church is a magical place and not a elect people).
How often do you seek community and connection on the internet? Are you involved in file sharing, social networking, group-edited Web sties and so forth? What does the virtual community on the Internet add to your life?
I am blogging right this very second! I myspace and facebook pretty much everyday. I don’t file share, but that’s not because of any ethics, it’s just because I don’t so far – maybe when I get desperate enough for some Coldplay I will. I think the virtual community adds a couple distinct things to my life. First, it gives me on-demand connectedness with all sorts of people I have now throughout my life. I myspace with people who live all around me mostly, but I facebook with people from Canada and Georgia mostly. The other thing I get from user-driven social sites is the opportunity to hang out and discuss things that I am interested in. I can survey the conversations on many differentblogs and jump in where I feel like it. I can find people who want to talk about the things that I want to talk about, in the language that I want to use, and discuss it!
Who acts as an icon in yourlife, inviting you to look through him or her to God? As a result of this relationship, do you notice yourself becoming more dependent on God?
Ii think there are three kinds of people who act as icons in my life. First, the poor. At my best I am able to see Christ in their eyes. At my worst I cannot look into their eyes. I become dependent on God to love through me when my love runs dry. It’s embarrassing to not be as loving as Jesus, but that’s my truth so far. The second group are teens who love Jesus very much – to the point of risk. On the other hand, I see teens all the time who give up on themselves and choose reckless lives that are going nowhere because it is easier for them. They smile and laugh and then post myspace bulletins lamenting their lonliness – they haven’t felt the presence of God much lately. But the teen who follows God to the point of it being genuinely hard – where they make concious decisions to give their lives away – in those teens, I think, Jesus lives very well. Thirdly has gotta be my kids. Fathering teaches me more aobut my relationship with God than anything else has in all my life. And God must really, really, really be patient to Father someone like me.
Think about some of the churches you have recently worshipped in. Has the rich, provocative image of Christianity been replaced by sterile, neutered spaces that seem more like physicians’ waiting rooms than temples?
This is the thing about modernly built churches – they are built cheaply and they have huge white walls. Institutional white – there are no restaurants that try to create atmosphere with huge institutional white walls. I understand that building stone cathedrals is hunormously expensive, but it seems that the whole world of designers were not invited to participate in the creation of modern-post-1940 churches.
Some churches are also putting the worship into multi-purpose rooms, since the worship center is only used for one morning a week. but, perhaps it is only used for one morning a week because it is such an uncomfortable place! There are other options than putting basketball nets on the walls to justify keeping a large space – but it requires creative thinking, which seems to be as costly as a stone cathedral.
What are you doing to reveal the spiritual through the natural and the material of your life? Are you doing your own thing or the diving thing?
I love the way that Rob Bell eliminates the disconnect between spiritual and physical. They aren’t separtate, they are expressions of the each other. So when I recycle, it is a physical expression of a spiritual belief I have. So, for the Christian who lives this way there is no possibility of doing your own thing – everything is a spiritual thing, and everything belongs to Him.
Think about the metaphors that guide your life. Are they Jesus metaphors, such as the overjoyed father who runs to welcome a lost child back home? Or are they manmade metaphors that point you in a direction other than Godward?
I can’t imagine that any of my major metaphors point anywhere but Godward. At this point in my life I have completely given my life over to God and have no interest in taking it back. He’s doing a much better job of running my life and I think that’s a great place to be in.