Note: This post is adapted from an e-mail about Socrates Cafe, that I wrote to a fellow leader at The Core.
Somebody came into the print shop I work at yesterday afternoon talking about how he wanted to start an evangelistic hangout for youth, and he mentioned the Front Porch as a place kind of like what he wants to do, but without the FP’s “soft sell”. What’s funny is, he was talking to me, but he didn’t know I had anything to do with it. So I didn’t tell him, because I enjoyed hearing his unguarded opinion.
The fact is, I don’t think we have a “soft sell” because I don’t think we have a “sell” at all. At least I don’t want to have one. Should an outsider’s experience with the church be more like getting invited to dinner with friends, or more like stepping onto a used car lot? Some of the things we do have a pointed spiritual emphasis, especially the worship gatherings, and also things like QAF, the Sisterhood and the Journeymen. And I actually miss the spiritual discussions I used to have with QAF.
But there also need to be non-spiritual things, to show people that that’s not all “church” people care about, or know how to talk about. I think it makes a big impact on some people to be able to sit down with a group of Christians and talk about political or social issues without there having to be some underlying spiritual principle behind it, or an overwhelming conservative bias. I think an environment like that, one that welcomes them in and wants to hear their view, gives them a fuller picture of who Christ is. But Socrates Cafe could never stand alone… it needs the more spiritual activities around it to make sure we don’t “de-spiritualize” Christianity altogether.
We’ve just started a series with Socrates called “pro-con”, based on the website www.procon.org, where we can work through some hardcore social issues, and really hash them out together, but in a respectful and thoughtful way. Last night we talked about legalization of Marijuana, and it was a lively discussion to say the least. If you’ve got ideas for upcoming topics, make sure to let me know…