The Bridge Chicago is a way to offer the resources of Mission:USA to help people do good ministry.
Should Christians ever consider conspiracy theories? Or should we just ignore them? I have a friend who’s into them and while I do find there are some interesting topics out there, my friends from church suggest that I am sinning hardcore or at least that’s how they make me feel. I don’t put these theories over God and they don’t have control over my life, it’s merely an interest. Am I wrong to look into them?
Conspiracy theory is a bit of a broad term. They are certainly interesting, and if you don’t take them too seriously, I don’t see much harm. I am a history nerd, so I am more interested in things that are documented to have happened (like the British gunpowder plot, the CIA plans to take out Castro). Some conspiracy theories, like about 9/11, are going to anger people and that’s just a fact of life. Some Christians may also be twitchy about conspiracy theories after the popularity of the Da Vinci Code, which made some statements about Jesus and the history of the church that some people found offensive despite it being a fictional book.
There may be something else going on here though. Even if you were buying into some zany theories, which it doesn’t sound like you are, sin is a pretty strong word for it. There are some people who a of the mind that “I am a Christian and I vote this way, dress this way, listen to this music, etc; therefore that is the Christian way to vote, dress, etc.”. That is obviously not the way it is. There is room for great variety within the body of Christ. In fact, in his analogy of the body, Paul refers to the fact that it is necessary to have all different types of people within the Church.
So people are free to have their opinions and interests, and other people are free to disagree with them. But disagreeing with a Christian does not make something a sin. Sin should be saved for things that are rebellion against God. So if your friends aren’t interested in the conspiracy thing, then they are free to ask you not to talk about it to them, but you don’t need to let them make you feel bad. I’m betting you have actual problems, like all of us, that is where our focus needs to be, not on trivial disagreements.
-Matt from The Bridge
Anonymous asked: I am a pretty shy person, but I still want to witness to my friends and maybe do ministry some day. All the youth leaders and pastors I know are super outgoing. Is my personality just a bad fit for ministry?
I answered: No, your personality does not disqualify you. It takes all kinds of different folks to do ministry, just as it does to make up the body of Christ. Now, there will almost certainly come a time when you have to step way outside your comfort zone to talk to someone, or speak in front of a group or something, but that is how we grow. Your personality traits could be a big help if you know how to utilize them.
If your growing up shy experience was like mine, I imagine that means you did a lot more listening than talking. That is a good ministry skill you already have. You have probably also spent time observing people. That will aid you in a key concept that Unka Glen refers to as “knowing how to be”. He attributes his 20 plus years of urban and gang ministry, with zero shootings or stabbings, to knowing how to be. Basically, you need to show people respect in order to earn the right to be heard. Listening instead of speaking and thinking before you talk will aid in knowing how to do that. The flip side of that is you will have to be friendly instead of stand offish because some people, especially people who might be considered “the least of these”, are prone to read your shyness as you not being interested in them. This is where the courage to step out of your comfort zone comes in.
Knowing how to be is about humility. Being a big, boisterous personality sometimes (but not always) has the side effect of being head strong. That is not wildly conducive to letting someone tell you how to be. So if your inclination is to try to blend in, that can be a huge asset. You may think that people are more likely to be drawn to a super outgoing person, but there are people who connect better with a more laid back person. The bottom line is that no one personality type is more useful to the Lord than any other.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6:
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
-Matt from The Bridge