Summer Shorts Question – 1
Easton: This is For People with Bishop Rob Wright.
Melissa: Welcome to For People with Bishop Rob Wright. I’m Melissa Rau and this is a summer short. This summer, we’ve asked our listeners to share questions they have for Bishop. This is Question 1 on our 5-part series.
Bishop, our first question is posed by Cindy from Colorado. She said that she lives in a conservative military town and has yet to find a good church match. She walks into church for the first time and sees an American flag on the altar and knows it’s not a good sign for what’s to follow. What’s your perspective on how to find a church of like-minded people?
Rob: Wow. So, great question. I think these days, you know, given the internet, we have a better chance at finding a community, a church community than ever before. We can do a lot of shopping, you know, on our laptops so to speak. You know, I take this question very seriously, because what people want to do is they want to walk into a community that is sort of living out the gospel in a particular way. So, I would ask, you know, what are you looking for? You made a comment about the flag being in a prominent place in the church. That happens in lots of churches. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss those communities out of hand.
But I guess what I would say is, is that what are you actually looking for? Make a detailed list of what you’re looking for. Are you looking for justice work? Looking for generosity work among the poor? Maybe you’re looking for a community that really takes scripture seriously, has a robust Bible study. You know, what are you looking for? And I think the more detailed you can make that list, the better off you’ll be. And of course, that is bound by proximity, how long do you want to travel? How much are you willing to travel to find this community? I would say that first.
And then I would say something that we don’t hear very often, and that is, you’re in a season of prayer, whether you know it or not. You’re discerning. You are asking God to drive you somewhere that you need to be so that you can grow, right? We talk about believing, belonging, and becoming. That’s the community that you are looking for. And so, you’re not just shopping, you’re discerning. And so, you need the Holy Spirit for that help. And so, I would invite you and your family to a season of prayer, Lord, guide us to that place where we can grow to know you and to love you and to love our neighbors.
And then, you made a last comment about like mindedness. And I would say, I certainly understand exactly what you mean. But there is this notion when people do church shopping, that they are sort of looking for a place that already agrees with everything that we know right now. And that sort of discounts this formation opportunity, this growth opportunity. And so, I’m so glad in retrospect that I ended up in communities in my formation that would have not necessarily been my first choice. But they broadened me and deepened to me, and I know that clearly in retrospect. And so, I would say, when we’re talking about like-minded, what are we talking about? Are we talking about our political views? Are we talking about, you know, other views? Likeminded for us, as Christian’s, is this a place that lifts up Jesus Christ and invites people to grow and give their lives away to the service of Christ? And so, that’s the best part of like mindedness for us. And we might be surprised if we open up ourselves to that, where we would end up.
Melissa: So, the challenger part of me is going okay, Bishop, what are the dangers of being associated with echo chambers?
Rob: Yeah. Well, no, that’s a great question. That’s exactly what I’m saying. Is that if you want to walk into a place that already agrees with you 100%, that’s an echo chamber, right? And perhaps, there’s not enough growth opportunity there. You know, perhaps we want to be challenged a little bit. I mean, if I know anything about the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit doesn’t really care what you think right now. When you say, welcome, Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit says, okay, strap in, let’s go for a ride. And you know, it’s almost like the Holy Spirit says, you know, oh, the places you will go, right? And so, we know that when people have sort of said, okay, God, you drive, and I’ll be the passenger. They end up in all kinds of places.
But if we’re just looking for an echo chamber, let’s be honest and say that, right? But maybe what they need, that community needs, is you. Let’s not also forget about that part. You know, communities have needs as well. I’m always so glad to confirm young people in the Episcopal tradition to confirm them. And what I say to them upon their confirmation is, we old people need your young perspective. And you, your young perspective needs us, right? So, the Bible says iron sharpeneth iron. And so, that’s my vision of fellowship. I need something from you, Melissa. And I think Melissa, you need something for me. That’s the way Christian Fellowship works. And that keeps us from being arrogant, right? And it keeps us open.
Melissa: That’s right. Thank you for listening to For People and Summer Shorts. You can follow us on Instagram and Facebook at Bishop Rob Wright. And be sure to check us out next week for Question #2.