Pastor Rich is beginning a series on the Christian life and generally what it means to be a Christian in society. As part of this introduction he talked about advice, specifically giving advice without listening to the whole problem first, or assuming our experience is exactly the same as someone else’s, simple advice.
As you might expect for a software engineer, a lot of what I get asked about is computers. Someone has a problem and they need me to solve it. Sometimes as soon as I walk over the problem goes away (I heard this phenomenon termed “probable user hallucination”) and admittedly it’s pretty easy to think that whatever problem they’re having it not only has an easy solution, it has an obvious one.
See, one of the things that comes from working with computers for hundreds of hours is a basic knowledge of how programmers think. Even when I have no idea how to do something, because the guy who designed Windows or Word or any other piece of software is a guy like me I have at least some insight into how they were thinking. If not, Google helps.
What I don’t tend to have a very good grasp on is listening to what people are actually telling me. And I’m not that good of a teacher. I can’t just sit back and tell them what to do. I have to be in the driver’s seat. Professionally this makes sense, since I’m hired to be an expert, but even in that situation it’s important to be able to teach others new skills, and to really understand what they’re trying to do.
No two programmer’s think alike. There’s about as much similarity between my programming and somebody else’s as Hemingway and Jonathan Franzen. And nobody’s life or way they think is exactly the same.
So how does this relate to the Christian life?
Well, one of the things Rich wants to avoid are simple answers, like “be like Jesus”. Sure that’s not a bad idea, but it isn’t very practical. It doesn’t parse life in all of its subtlety. Sure there are some big ticket things we can do, but how do we approach every situation like Jesus.
One way to do something may make sense for one task and not make sense for another.
And the Christian life isn’t about glossing over the details. As I wrote about previously, some parts of the Bible are just … awkward. If we ignore them we may be able to live happy ignorant lives, but not very deep ones, and we won’t have much luck talking to the non-Christians in our lives.
This series is going to cover a lot of ground, which will hopefully be great for some of you who come to this blog but wondered why we were talking about 1 Corinthians the whole time. Hopefully there will be something for everyone trying to live out the Christian life in the world.
If you have anything you’d like to hear about, I’m sure it could be passed along and we’ll deal with it either in the blog or in later sermons. Leave your comments here.