The Art of Spiritual Conversation:
We do ourselves a great disservice in the church when we do not teach the art of spiritual conversation. Talking about spiritual things cannot be something that is relegated to pastors. The language of Christianity cannot be something that is merely sung in worship songs and uttered in ancient liturgical sayings.
When people’s primary experience in the church is that of being passive recipients, then we have not prepared them to take Jesus seriously. When individuals are told to sit down and shut up or only use other people’s words to articulate what they believe, then we do not actually invite them into a place of authentic wrestling with what they believe. If the invitation into the messiness of the Christian journey is not extended at church, the necessary skills are not taught and celebrated, then it is no wonder that the people of God who are searching and seeking meaning and substance will walk away from the church finding it to be a dull and dry vessel with very little good news to share.
I am not advocating that we throw out the past by doing away with things like the Confessions and the Hymns. What I am saying is that they in themselves are not the end all. It is not enough to say and sing the “right” words. The words of those who have come before us and the words of pastors today preaching and teaching the Biblical text are not untouchable. They provide us with an opportunity to do what Christians have been doing for centuries now…
To figure out what in fact we do believe. They invite us to articulate our faith not in the words of others but in our own words. They invite us to be a part of a living faith right now in 21st Century America. Spiritual conversation refuses to settle for wrote memorization. Spiritual conversations move from consumerism to engagement. Spiritual conversations move us away from being isolated spiritual beings and force us into frustratingly human relationship. They require humility and vulnerability as we share our questions and our ideas.
By Simeon Harrar ’14, Director of Student Ministries at First Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, PA
Read more about Simeon at his website: http://www.simeonharrar.com/