This week, Dale and I entered back into the podcast game talking with one of my seminary friends, Pablo. Pablo is currently living in Santa Cruz, Bolivia awaiting paperwork to be able to work in the US. Why is he doing that? I’ll let him explain, but it has a lot to do with trying to discern God’s voice, dealing with pain, and having faith. A lot of faith.
We are raising our families in an incredibly different world—a hyper-connected one. I am an avid user of a lot of these technologies (he types, while listening to Spotify, charging his iPhone two feet away, and having just sent an email to a friend about how to get a podcast started).
In this episode, Dale and I tackle the topic of technology addiction, a lot of it built off of this video that made the rounds a few weeks back:
Enjoy the newest episode (which we shortened by about five minutes!):
Earlier this week I wrote about some of the reasons it is so difficult to build community in Baton Rouge. In that, I wrote about four relationships that can, at times, take priority over the local church: (1) their immediate and extended family, (2) the friends they grew up with, (3) their old church friends (but not at their current local church), and (4) their kids’ school relationships.
One friend (who moved here as a young married having now grown up here) commented on the original post, saying, “People are very friendly and welcoming, but it oftentimes didn’t move past surface level.”
Is that wrong? How deep can the relationships in our churches here in Baton Rouge realistically be? Do we need to be in a constant state of gaining new relationships and sustaining them to a level of depth (which, over time, leads to dozens and dozens of friendships)? Larry Osborne (pastor in California) actually wrote about this idea in one of his books, Sticky Church. In that, he opines (yes, I said “opines”),
I think of people like Legos. We all have a limited number of connectors. Introverts have a few. Some extroverts have dozens. But either way, once they’re full, they’re full. And when that happens, we tend to be friendly but to not connect. It’s what happens when you move to a new town and are excited by everyone’s friendliness, only to be discouraged three months later that you haven’t connected with anyone. (p. 79)
Osborne uses this concept of connectedness not to chastise churches for being hard to get into but to simply explain why it is the way that it is—over time, people’s ability to keep and sustain relationships hits some type of temperament-dependent capacity. To a degree, I think this is true. At some point in time, we run out of an ability to add on new and deep relationships.
I’m not suggesting (though I have in the past with some folks and have thus learned how dumb it was) that we abolish all non-church friendships. However, if our local church family is important, how do we give priority to our local church?
“I just don’t feel like I know anyone here.”
The staff at the Oaks get comments like that with some regularity. It has been the most befuddling thing as a pastor to try and (1) respond to that comment appropriately while (2) ensuring that those comments happen with less frequency. Have we made progress at it? Absolutely? Have we hit our target? I don’t think so. But I am not 100% sure how.
I was more deliberate this Sunday to state some of the competing priorities that we all have to face—priorities which make that feeling of connection get diminished. I’d hope here to illustrate those (perhaps with more clarity) and then later this week offer up some solutions.
I often get asked, “How’s Evan?”
So this week we put him on the podcast. For all of you who are missing him . . .
Dale (my brother) and Christina (his wife) decided to go visit friends serving overseas. This episode comes direct from there, along with our buddy Josh. Josh and Joanna’s wedding was the first one I ever did, so they’re extra special to me. 🙂
The podcast theme for this month is marriage and family. I think a lot of the ways that evangelicals talk about marriage and family is a little silly at best and idolatrous at worst, so hearing Josh’s perspective on decisions they’ve made and why they’ve made them was refreshing.
Special bonus: I take the reins of hosting this time (since Dale and Josh were sitting in the same room, side-by-side), and I think I did a pretty bad job at it. Enjoy! (And if you want to listen to last week’s episode, head here.)