Non-religious Bible training opportunities?

Russell Minick

My son is working hard at Cross-Fit.  Some people try to joke about why anyone would actually pay to work so hard.  But Cross-Fit people tend to be quite happy with what they are getting, even if it is initially counter-intuitive.

What about how Jesus and his teachings can be learned to affect life?  The idea I am hoping for is adaptable “Grace-Fit” (or maybe something with a name that is actually good for communicating what we are about).

Engaging important biblical content, with the same brain configuration we analyze other stuff, doesn’t happen enough.

“Believers” often think and say truisms:

  “Its not the heat, it’s the humidity”.

No, I’m not going to give a religious example; I know better.  Once someone starts processing new content with pre-certified religiously appropriate phrases, it is almost impossible for new learning to happen without confusion and hurt feelings.  A solution?  Don’t trigger the environment where people speak like phrasebook-dependent second language speakers.

“Seekers” also have challenges of cognitive disruption when they go into a religious group’s events.  How to behave, what implicit expectations are going on, etc. can divert focus from simply interacting with the content.

Interaction is another vital element.  Learning requires some important two-way communication.  At Cross-Fit there is direction and coaching to help those working out to know what to try next, and how to understand doing it without hurting themselves.  No, they don’t randomly let just anyone come up with the next exercise.  But, being able to ask for clarification, and to set your own pace according to your own goals, helps make the most of being part of a group without feeling pressured into group-think.

What are the expected outcomes?

The process is developing.  The Grove Fellowship is going to be offering more and more of this type of training.  But what I hope to see are gatherings of intense learning of content among a very diverse group.

In Acts 17 the apostle Paul addresses a group of thinkers in a direct way.  He interacts appropriately with a variety of views without compromising his own views.  In fact, his ability to fairly express the views of others shows that his own views are not from failing to appreciate other options.

When Paul introduces the resurrection of a man as the decisive element in how he understands the world, the results are mixed.  Some are not interested in learning any more about something so odd as a dead man coming back to life to bring hope and direction.  Others are very interested.  But all of them heard and understood the essence of Paul’s message.

In the same way I believe that letting the Sermon on the Mount speak for itself is powerful.  That kind of understanding gives a better position from which to think about Jesus than reacting to channel surfing through t.v. preachers, recoiling from FaceBook posts, or recovering from unfortunate religious encounters.  From a more clarified position, some will say:

“We would like to hear more about this.”

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