Static Chapter 1: Pheidippides Was A Wimp

Here’s the plan: We’re going to blog through Ron Martoia’s Static for a while.  I’ll post something on one chapter every week, probably every weekend, as long as my schedule allows for it.  You guys are invited to read, discuss, ask questions, disagree, agree etc.

This book is about gaining a more complete understanding about the Christian faith.  And it’s about finding language and concepts that better communicate that faith.

What’s wrong with the language we use now?  Some would say words like “repent” and “sin” and “Good News” have lost their meaning.  Some would say what they mean doesn’t adequately communicate what the Christian faith was all about when the bible was written.  Others would say these words are unattractive to those outside the Christian faith.  Still others would say there’s nothing wrong with these words at all and, in fact, not using them is to be unbiblical and rewrite the Christian faith for easier sell to our modern consumer culture.

You can imagine that if this is what Static and our discussion here is about, there is bound to be disagreement from time to time.  Passionate disagreement.  All I ask is that we all think and pray before posting, that we’re kind to one another at all times, and that we put constructive discourse above winning.  Let’s get started…

CHAPTER ONE: PHEIDIPPIDES WAS A WIMP

In this first chapter Ron introduces the two characters Phil and Jess, a husband and wife who are trying to “witness” to Phil’s co-worker Marty and having a hard time with it.  This book is their ongoing conversation with Ron about what Christianity really is and what Marty really needs to hear from Phil and Jess. This is a trendy writing device these days in certain circles: Conversation as a means of teaching.  QUESTION: Was eavesdropping on Ron’s conversation with Jess and Phil an effective way to communicate these ides to you or would you rather him just tell you what he knows and leave Jess and Phil out of it?

SNIPPETS:

“In the stories of Jesus’ life, the salvation parts-all of them-are answers to direct questions,” I said. “People ask Jesus or a disciple to them about salvation, and they get an honest answer.  But if salvation is the ‘good news’ that we read about, then why do people have to drag it out of Jesus and the disciples?  Or look at Acts 16:17, NLT.  In that account, a girl is tagging along behind Paul and Silas, and she is shouting, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.’ But Paul, instead of saying, ‘Uh-huh-sing it , sister; we got the power,’ turns around and commands an evil spirit to leave the girl.  So, apparently, Paul recognizes that emphasizing salvation is a misdirection-not to mention an irritant.  Which it is.” p.5 QUESTION: When you read these words for the first time what was your inner monologue?  Did you immediately form an opinion?  What was it?

I was part of the church.  I was studying Scripture.  I thought I knew it all.  But when I talked to people outside the Christian bubble, people who didn’t believe or who were searching for a deeper spirituality, I hit a brick wall every time… When you hit so many brick walls, eventually you’ve got to question whether you truly understand the message yourself – or whether you really know how to communicate it. p.9 QUESTIONS: Has this been your experience – “hitting brick walls” when you talk about what you believe with people who don’t believe the same things?  And, if so, have you questioned whether you understand “the message” correctly?  Or do you more often question whether you’re communicating the right message in the wrong way, or just poorly?  Or do these questions presume too much – you don’t actually think much about what “the message” is or communicate it to anyone?  If we’re ineffective in communicating what we believe (ineffective in that others don’t listen or come to believe as we do) does that necessarily mean we misunderstand the message or communicate it poorly?  Does less than stellar “results” necessarily mean there’s a problem with our understanding or our communicating?