Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday in the Park . . . or Something Like That

It has been a tradition of ours (my son Ramsey, age 16, and I) for about a year to meet at the local Starbucks on Saturday mornings for a book reading and discussion. As soon as the weather started improving on our little island, I started riding the bike for the seven miles, over the pass and into our sleepy fishing village. It takes that effort to burn off my mocha. Ramsey drives in because he could drink mochas all day and not gain an ounce.

This morning we did something a little different and it was a lot of fun.

I rode my bike in and went to Starbucks and had my mocha (and read) but when Ramsey showed up we went up the street to where I had heard (though some connections) that a philosophy professor was having a discussion over coffee. We joined the group of seven and had a wonderful time for the next two hours.

I was reflecting, afterwards, that it is so much fun to sit and talk in a group where we take on real questions of life . . . in a very honest and thoughtful way. There is not that king of freedom when I meet with most Evangelicals (unless it is at a LAbri conference). In those settings, we are always inspecting each other that we are sticking to precise dogma to “True Evangelism.” There are also so many clich├ęs thrown around in Christian discussion groups that the communication comes to a standstill. Our lips still move . . . but there’s no real communication.

This is not just a Christian problem. I took Ramsey once to a "spiritual" discussion group. Not a Christian-spiritual, but a new-age spiritual discussion group. I thought it would be a good experience for him.

That later group was so ridiculous that there was no communication from anyone even from the start . . . just a bunch of emotional-spiritual words thrown in a blender and slung on a wall like an abstract impressionist artist.

Today’s discussion was very different. I hope to join this breakfast group again for their monthly meetings.

Most Evangelicals would not condone me taking my 16 year old son to a philosophy (and certainly not a new age) discussion group. But this is the neat thing about it. It is far better to be with your child when they encounter these great questions of life, with their smorgasbord of possible answers, than to allow them to deal with them alone some day (and they invariable will).

I am lucky to have a 16 year old son who considers his dad his best friend and mentor. He’s a smart kid too. He’s about to finish his first year of college with a 4-0. That’s quite a lot for a 16 year old. He aspires to be an astrophysicist.

This segues to my next topic.

I decided a couple of days ago not to doing any more postings for about a week and spend the time reading other peoples’ blogs. I got on to imonk’s blog (see the link at the side) last night. It is has been a couple of weeks since I’ve visited. There is always a scholarly discussion going on there. Last night it was a discussion by Michael Bell on the issue of our youth who do not stay in the church. He shares his statistics in his article but, in summary, it is an average of about 80% of kids who are raised in the church that leave by the age of 23.

I’ve done long postings on this before (about a year ago). But that topic pushed my buttons. I couldn’t comment on imonk’s blog long enough to share my real thoughts. So, like the case presentations for DSM IV mental disorders, tomorrow I hope to be back and share a real live story of a kind, Randy, raised in the church, and who is not in it now (and never will be again save some intervention by God).

1 comment:

Hope T. said...

I'm glad you had fun talking with the philosophy group. Lately, I have enjoyed talking to some people who are not evangelical (they are Unitarians). I figured out that the reason I have felt so good after talking to them is that the whole attitude of "I Have All the Answers, Let Me Tell You What They Are" is missing. It is just so great to be with fellow Questioners who can let the questions float without having to jump to a verse to "answer" them.

When I read the last part of your post about kids leaving the church, I thought "I hope my kids DO leave the church". Something must be wrong with me or the church or both. Looking forward to the rest of the series.