First – a brief word about my personal M.O. I am an ENFP according to the Myers-Briggs type indicator. When I took this test – er, I mean “inventory” (they make a big deal about how it’s not a psychological “test”) – phrases like, “works in creative bursts of inspiration,” leaped out at me. I had for so many years despaired of my work habits, which often seemed so driven by creative flights of fancy, less by the kind of sheer willpower I so envied in those who did read the books and articles, organize the note cards, finish two days before the paper was due.

All to say – I’ve been lazy lately. No blogging (insert here ironic statement about lack of readers anyway).

But this week, was inspired just to write a couple thoughts, mostly in response to last Sunday’s sermon.

The title of the sermon was, “Four Ways to Have a Conversation.” A more didactic approach, it was an attempt to share what I learned in one of the courses I took this past spring for my DMin degree – a course called “Engaging the Narratives of Other Religions.”

I dealt with the question: in light of the fact that Christianity makes a very exclusive claim to truth (“I am the way, the truth, the life; no one comes to the Father but through me”), what do we make of the truth claims of other religious traditions? Just because we in the West have inherited this tradition – Christianity – what gives us the moxie to say that this Way (the way of Jesus) is the only way to “salvation”?

Here is the result of that effort.

Though I often feel so uncomfortable preaching a sermon like this – Jeff the wannabe seminary professor, trafficking in highfalutin abstract ideas – I received feedback that indicated it was very helpful to people. I also appreciated the approach that the learning itself provided. Presenting four “models” for interfaith dialogue, which were partly the subject of the course, provided some tools for people to think for themselves about how they approach that question I posed above. No preacher-guy telling folk what to believe. (Though several people readily guessed which model most closely fits my own thinking).

In any case – wanted to post it here, to see if there might be any wishing to comment further.


Jeff V.

PS – here’s another subject I may cover this week, if the inspiration strikes: “flash mobs”. Anybody out there familiar with this phenomenon? How cool would it be if we were to get together a PCOL “flash mob”? Gospel as performance art? Secret rendezvous in Palmer Square? Or would that just be plain scary?