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Ok, so here’s what I got from Sunday Night. How do people from different religions get together and share their gifts with each other and grow together? I think we have to be Chefs. I think the majority of religious people see religion (theirs and others) as the only way of reaching God. This is the fundamental attitude that has to change before any true growth can occur and I like the example of Chefs vs Cooks. It might seem a little out there but bear with it and hopefully it'll make sense.
Chef Vs Cook
What is a cook? A cook is someone who follows a recipe. 1 cup of sugar mixed with 3 cups flour, add 2 eggs, beat until smooth, bake for 30 min at 350 degrees etc. They follow this recipe in order to get the result they want. I view the majority of organized religion this way. People following a recipe to "get to God". Pray 3 times a day, attend church twice a week, once for small group, attend a minimum of 3 social church functions a year, sing these songs this certain way, repeat for three years and Voila! happy relationship with God. Catholicism is a perfect example of this. Most of what they do is ritualistic. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing, a lot of people need that tradition and structure in their relationship with God. They need the recipes.
However I don't think following recipes is the only way to God. In fact I think it can hinder us more than help us. We need to be open to the very real truth that there is more than one way to God. There are a myriad of different paths. As many paths as people that are seeking him. That brings us to Chefs.
What is a Chef? A Chef is someone who makes up the recipe as he goes along. Lets call it 'salt to taste'. A Chef knows the end result he wants and he uses any skill or item he needs to accomplish that result. Everybody is different, we are all coming to God from a different place, a different angle. So why should someone else's recipe work for me? It worked for him and it would probably get me close to my goal of a personal relationship with my God but it will never get me all the way there. To get all the way there I have to become a Chef and make my own recipe with my own ingredients and techniques. I have to 'salt to taste'. I believe that everyone has to do this. I think that we all get close to what we want by using others recipes or denominations or religions, but when someone truly makes that last step to having a living, thriving, loving relationship with God; that is when they stopped following a recipe and became a Chef. They salted to taste.
A chef is someone who is willing to engage in conversation and experiences (to share their gifts) to help someone who is looking find exactly what they need when they need it. Not just hand the thirsty newcomer the same old bottle of wine or the same dusty recipe card.
In simplest terms: God is Love. He doesn't care how you get to him so long as you do. One of the best examples I heard came from my old Singles Pastor in Arizona. He had a church member come up to him completely distraught because he was sure he wasn't getting God's love. "Why?" Darin asked him. The man’s response was that his old pastor had said that smoking was a sin and would keep you away from God. And that while he tithed every week, always came to church, and did everything else on the recipe like he was taught, he had to have one cigarette a day. He used to smoke 2 packs a day and tried his best to quit but he just had to have that one cigarette and he was sure that he was failing to receive God's love because of it. Darin told him that if he just had to have that one cigarette, God would forgive it. The man broke down in tears. I have a hard time accepting that people think God doesn't love them for something as trivial as a cigarette or anything else we might carry as burdens. He wants to help us and we just have to be open to finding the path.
I hope that made sense to you, it makes sense to me but thats not always a guarantee. I’d be happy to talk about it if anyone wants to.
-Brandon Loos [Bassist at Collective] Call Sign: "Doom Cougar"
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We value highly the metaphor of journey. We’re different people from different places and backgrounds, representing an intergenerational community, and we’ve traveled different paths. So, we agree not to make assumptions about the person across from us, next to us, or in conversation with us. We challenge ourselves to be sensitive, knowing this community includes a diverse group of people from life-long followers of Jesus, to people who are just now open to the idea that God might exist. We strive to avoid offense, ask good questions, articulate and explain our responses. We don’t assume fluency in bible, spirituality, or Church language, because we believe the message of Jesus is not for Christianity, but for humanity. So, we do everything in the spirit of love and grace.
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