This Sunday at pfmchurch we’re starting a series called Why: Asking the Big Questions. From October 2 – November 20, we will be fielding questions about God, the church, and Christianity — and the questions will come from churched and unchurched alike. We’re not sure exactly how we’re going to collect the questions, but we do know that why is a powerful word that hopefully gives permission to ask real questions.
I recently saw a video where Leonard Sweet showed how Google auto-fills our search queries in order to save time. Google’s algorithm calls up the most often searched terms. For example, if I type in Are aliens it will likely auto-fill the word real, since that is a common search. In his demonstration, Sweet shows what happens when you type in a phrase like why are Christians…
The results are abysmal and don’t make Christianity seem even remotely like something you’d want to be part of. I was surprised to not only see it demonstrated but also to experience it myself when I tried. Google suggests things like why are christians so mean (a top result) or why does my church seem dead (a top result) and why don’t churches have wifi?
We live in a post-enlightenment world where Christianity seems therapeutic and okay for some people at best and destructively bigoted at worst. Oh, and our wifi sucks.
So, as I was thinking about this Fall, I felt like this could be an interesting series to tackle. I have a few disclaimers:
- The church and the pastors are not meant to be an answer factory. We are journeying together through this thing called life.
- Indeed we do have scripture, reason, tradition, and experience that certainly informs the faith of Christ followers, but there’s no doubt that Christianity is chock-full of mystery and theodicy — stuff that just plain doesn’t make sense.
- I don’t think it’s likely, or healthy, for a mere mortal to convince someone of transformative spiritual truth. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. On one hand, this takes the pressure off of me, but on the other hand, this may sound cowardly to an unbelieving world.
- I hope that unchurched/dechurched/defrocked/post-Christian atheists will be there. I also hope that Christians will be there. We should be ready to tackle this discussion. If our faith can’t stand up to some kicking of the tires, then what kind of faith do we have? That’s right: a Pontiac Aztec.
I’m not sure what question to begin with this Sunday, October 2. Should it be why are Christians so mean or maybe why does God allow evil or why can’t Christians have premarital sex? Still praying about that. Not premarital sex… I mean about the topic in general.
If you have any insight (I know the internet speaks widely on this topic) or suggested questions that you or “your friend” might be wondering about, I welcome them here on RadBlog or on the facebook.com/radamdavidson
Here’s a cool graphic that the people I work with made. It’s neat: