A pastor, a pagan, and a hippie walk into a coffeeshop.The pastor orders a coffee black, the pagan orders a cafe mocha and the hippie orders a water. The three sit down, enjoy their beverages while they chat and write.
Hey that’s not a joke!
Sorry for the somewhat misleading title, and somewhat incorrect first paragraph. We didn’t arrive at the same time, or order anything together. I was a good 45 minutes late to the party. Worse still I forgot my wallet at home so I didn’t get to order anything. But I couldn’t resist the set up. I have been thinking how my presence at the last two Halifax Bloggers monthly get togethers seem like the start of a joke.
The people that joined our get together on Tuesday were;
Lisa who self describes as a Eco, Yogini, Pagan (I asked if I could call her that too, Christians don’t have a good track record when it comes to calling people pagans so I wanted to be sure)
Christine who self describes as a Fit Hippie
Margaret who didn’t really self describe as anything other than an extrovert
The conversation bounced back and forth between life, family, relationships, home ownership and of course blogging. I enjoy this group. I feel they help keep me honest about my faith and my worldview.
When I was going through my undergrad and working at a call centre I had a wonderfully diverse set of conversation partners. They shared bits and pieces about their lives, their faith, and their world view and I shared mine. These conversations stretched me and made me reflect on my own beliefs. I would consider where our beliefs overlapped, where the diverged, and where they conflicted.
After I graduated from my undergrad and went to seminary my conversation partners all became other Christians who wanted to be pastors or theologians. We talked about different aspects of faith too but it was all an in house discussion. It is like debating which icecream flavour is better; vanilla or french vanilla. Sure they are different but they are still vanilla.
I thought that graduating would have changed this some, but it didn’t. I still spend 80% or more of my time working with, and talking with other Christians. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, but it is all variations of vanilla. Then along came my blogging group. Through our get togethers, and through sharing our writings with each other I find I am exposed to far different trains of thought and a far more eclectic set of topics than I have been for quite awhile.
It has been refreshing to feel that familiar stretch in my thinking. To have a group that speaks and considers topics very differently than I have been accustomed too. I am trying my best to practise really listening and engaging. I have been trying to really hear what is being said even if it directly conflicts with the way I normally think and believe. And this practise has been good for me.
In this increasingly pluralistic society we live in I think as Christians if we want to earn back the right to speak in the broader public forum we first have to learn to listen. I would recommend that every pastor join a group that forced them to think about everything a little differently. You might be surprised at what you find yourself learning. This is what my blogging group does for me. And for that I am thankful.
Also they read my blog and bump my stats some. I am also thankful for that.
I didn’t think to snap a picture at the coffee shop, so here is a cool one from a friends wedding.