A guest post by Ray Evans. Ok, not really, but since I’m plagiarising half his talk yesterday I thought I ought to put his name at the top. Our pastor, Ray, has a good knack for finding stimulating similes that stir the soul, and yesterday was no exception.
For many of us our faith is really important to us. It’s the way we look at, and make sense of, the world, and it shapes our thoughts, values, and behaviours. It’s a natural and central part of who we are, what we do, and how we live. But when it comes to talking about faith we can get really weird. Our faith joins our politics and our salary in that room in our house, the door to which never gets opened when friends are round. If we do talk about it we often behave like a drug pusher or a spotty teenager trying to ask out a member of the opposite sex. We make sure no-one else is about, talk in code, and hope for a bite. We often bail before it gets to the crucial moment because we can’t risk it being out there in the open. Our hands sweat, our stomachs churn, and our mouths get dry. We can feel our hearts beating faster. We try and keep it all together and not get weird but it can’t be helped. If we don’t get a bite we try to play it cool; if we do it’s all in. What we need is to just be a bit more normal, to find ways to talk naturally about the things that matter to us – including our faith.
The Christian in Sport guys have a simple way to think about this. It goes their story, your story, his story. All it means is always ask other people about themselves first – find out about people, take an interest, don’t treat them as a project. Just be a normal human being! And then you might get a chance to talk a bit about your story – about yourself, what you enjoy, family, hobbies, and yes, faith – which inevitably leads to his story. You sharing your faith will lead you talk about who and what you believe in. And most people out there won’t bite your head off; most people are genuinely interested in other people, their views, what makes life tick etc. We just have to be a bit more natural, a bit less nervous and weird, and a bit more prepared to talk about the things in that room.
Footnote: A fair amount of the above has come from the helpful insights of Graham Daniels and Christians in Sport. Danno is a top bloke and CIS are a great organisation. Look them up, get involved.