Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Seeking Challenges

The life of a church worker is filled with challenges.  As such, people in this line of work tend to avoid situations where their perspectives, attitudes, and priorities are questioned.  This has certainly been the case for me.  The only small groups / classes / Bible studies I am part of at the church are ones I lead.  Even though different viewpoints arise during these gatherings, as the leader I am able to guide the conversation in certain directions.  I get to prepare activities and discussion questions that move the dialogue along a path of my choosing.

So, it is with a great amount of curiosity and a twinge of nervousness that I am becoming a "regular" member a church group.  An early-morning men's Bible study, to be specific.  The group consists of 10-12 guys, none of whom are within twenty years of me.  To be honest, this is not a small group (nor a meeting time) that I would typically be drawn to.  I've worked at this church for nearly nine years, and until last month, I had never attended these meetings.

Why now?

It's time for me to step out of the role of leader and be surrounded by a very different demographic.  I need to be immersed in the wisdom that only comes from people who have lived longer than me.  It's important for me to step out of the echo-chamber of ideas that reinforce my understanding of the way the world works and seek challenging, new perspectives.  I need to wrestle with difficult questions as just-one-of-the-guys, and not as the person who is expected to have the answers.  I need to humble myself a little (or a lot) and realize the ways in which I need to grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Today was the first day I attended this group as a member.  Though the texts we studied were familiar -- Doubting Thomas and Early Christian Community -- the insights offered by these intelligent, well-read, faithful, curious, wise men brought something new to my (albeit limited) understanding of who God is.  It's a blessing that this group eagerly invited and graciously received me as a fellow participant.

The discussion was lively and fascinating...and so important to me that I'll be waking up far too early again next week to do it all again.

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