Jul 27

A Theology for Hanging Out

Some of the most teachable moments in my faith journey have occurred when others would simply hang out with me.A college professor “hung out” with me every Tuesday of my senior year to play racquetball.A mentor “hung out” with me every Monday night around a dinner table for a year where we talked about faith and life issues.A youth pastor asked me to “hang out” with him while he drove around doing errands, fixed engines, and traveled to the Fryeburg Fair in Maine for a weekend.While there were times of formal education in my life, these instances were invaluable to me as I grew in my faith.Just the mere interaction and investment into my life provided me plenty to think about.

When it comes to deep faith, and spiritual formation, I have discovered that “hanging out” is not only an important part of the discipleship process, it is the message of the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

The book of John goes back to beginning.From the beginning, God has been entirely about relationships.In the beginning the Word was with God, and the Word was God.God and Word working together in relationship to form all of creation; heaven and earth, plants and animals, and humans.

The book of John goes on to say in verse 14, “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us”.To dwell literally means to pitch a tent, meaning Jesus transcended heaven and earth to be with us.To show us who God was, what his nature was, and what His desire was.Jesus was a reflection of the divine, and reflected the divine simply by hanging-out in everyday activity.In other words:

  • Jesus “hung out” with his disciples on a boat. (Mark 4)
  • Jesus “hung out” with friends at dinner. (Luke 19)
  • Jesus “hung out” at social gatherings. (John 2)
  • Jesus “hung-out” in the fields. (Matthew 12)
  • Jesus “hung-out” by the lake. (Matthew 13)

In each of the scenarios listed above, the disciples learned a deeper understanding of following Christ simply by being in the company of Jesus. They learned Jesus’ mission, their purpose in life, the importance of a quiet time, but most important they were transformed into the image of Christ, simply by being with Him.

Christ is in us.Each day he is shaping us, speaking to us, loving us and leading us.When we are interacting with other people, God is active, and His image is shining through us.This is what it means to be salt and light.

Every Friday Night (and Sunday morning, and small groups) students have the opportunity to encounter an active God in and through the Gravity community.We have intentionally modeled the method of Jesus by creating space in which the image of Christ can be a reflection through our leaders and students. When students see compassion, humility, patience, forgiveness, love and grace, they are seeing the reflection of Christ. Students learn theology much like the disciples did, by “hanging out” with their leaders. It may be over a dodge ball game, or eating some pizza, shooting pool, playing a video game, or simply by sitting in a group together and talking.

Each week students choose to come to church on a Friday night to hang out. Instead of hanging out at the mall, or at a keg party, or driving around looking for something to do, students come and experience something better. They experience the reflection of the divine in others.

  • http://www.adamlehman.us Adam Lehman

    I recently met with a bunch of parents and – in an effort to explain why we spend so much time sitting around and hanging out with students – i wrote this: http://www.adamlehman.us/wordpress/?p=1181

    I love it. Keep spreading the word and articulating the importance of hanging out and being present with others…

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