A good friend of ours (Tom Lindholtz) passed this along from a good friend of his (John Fischer). He describes very well what we've been conveying to others about the passion we have in our vision.
Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia have released a recent study showing that caffeine makes people more open to logical argument, even when it runs counter to their previously held opinions. The caffeine group, across the board, tested out as being consistently more open-minded than the decaf group. This would definitely lend new credibility to the belief that conversations over coffee are a good thing. An open mind is necessary for any relationship to grow. You have to be open to another way of thinking to relate to someone, because we are all different – we have different backgrounds, different gifts, and we see things from different points of view. Lasting relationships grow out of accepting one another's differences. We appreciate each other more through consensus than through conformity. This kind of open-mindedness in relationships is important for more reasons than just our differences. It is important because we are always changing, and since we are all in process, we have to remain open to that process in each other. My road will not be yours; yours will not be mine, even if we walk together. God has different plans for each of us. Jesus Christ did not die to create clones. He died so He could fill each one of our unique natures with Himself. And finally, part of who we are becoming involves those closest to us. We are not who we are in a vacuum. We are a product of the people we know and how we have grown together. We shape each other. When this aspect is strong, there is a healthy push and pull at work. "As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend." (Proverbs 27:17 NLT) Belief has commonly been associated with a closed mind. This is unfortunate because nothing could be further from the truth. Belief opens you up to God and gives you his Spirit to help reinterpret the world around you. Belief is all about discovery, and just as our relationships with each other are not static, neither is our relationship with God. We are constantly discovering more about God and his world, and we are constantly discovering more about ourselves and those around us. So pour another cup of brew for you and that friend. Open your hearts and minds to each other, and get ready for a surprise.
Wow! Very profound that "We appreciate each other more through consensus than through conformity." And all these years we've been working with the premise that inviting them to come to a place we like to gather for one hour a week will cause them to reconsider whether God cares and actually lives or not.
This is why we are rethinking "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us."
Jeff and Teena