C is for Connective
The experience that kicks off the EPIC life is attention grabbing, and that experiences becomes meaningful when we participate in it. As we participate the experience grows in importance, and we recognize and read the images that add richness to the meaning. And all of this serves as a preamble of sorts to the fourth element of the EPIC life: connection. (129)
All of this works together to create connection. When we connect with something we are living into something that God has created us for. To connect with Him through relationships, connectedness. As a church, we’ve lost some of our ability to help people connect because of both our own doing and of course the changes within our society.
Church used to be a third place of choice, a meeting house, a sacred space where the community gathered for governing, for mourning, for celebrating, for relationship building. But churches increasingly became not relational space but propositional place. Instead of going there to connect with God and with others in meaningful relationship, people started going to church to be convinced of transcendent truth, or, if they already numbered among the convinced, to have their beliefs and religious convictions confirmed from the pulpit. (132)
Connective can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, especially in today’s culture of being connected through technology. For some people this is their way of being connected, I thought about putting quotation marks around connected in the previous sentence but then caught myself thinking, “although technology may not be my way of connecting, I cannot down play this for others, especially the younger generations. This is their way of connecting.
Good or bad, we should be thinking of how we can continue to connect these opportunities in the social media world. We’ve tried to do this through our high school ministry. We have a Twitter account and a Facebook page. This past year I started to send out tweets from the talk on Sunday night that would be sent in bunches of 3 or 4. Any youth who followed us on Twitter or Facebook would see the tweet and were able to respond. Some did, most didn’t. But the great thing is if they weren’t there, they were still getting some sort of message and could engage with it if they wanted to! Toward the end of the year I added some other tweets throughout the week which were either straight from the talk or some questions for them to think about. I also tweeted our focus scripture throughout the week.
Whatever connectedness looks like in your context, I think Sweet does a good job to remind us that all of the EPIC things work together to build on what God has already done. We do not look to these things as a means to an end, completing them when we do them. We look at these four areas and continue to seek where God is moving and using these things to bring about His Glory and Love and Grace!
I’ll end this series with a quote from the end of the book that struck me in the face and will continue to challenge me.
The life of faith, to fully qualify as a life of faith, is characterized by experiences that are meaningful; full participation in those experiences of meaning; a richness of imagery wrapped around those experiences; and deep connections with God, others, self, and creation. All four EPIC elements, enlivened and intertwined, deliver grande passion, the life we’re all thirsty for. (155)