Learn and Grow

Video Transcript: I’m Ken Meyers at Knollwood Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I’ve been there for seven years starting in 2005. It’s a great experience, a good church, suburban church. It’s a church that’s resourced in many ways. We’re highly educated. A lot of us have some resources financially to work with and so this is a high-octane kind of congregation.

Years ago, when a lot of us who were Southern Baptists and that explosion happened, we were all looking for places to go because coming together with colleagues and co-ministers is very important especially in Baptist life. We were looking for places to go and several were being informed and one of them was the Alliance. One of them was Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and what I was looking for was who will take seriously this major component of what it means to do and to be a church. I think that it least includes Christian Education and Spiritual Formation. While I’ve had to reinvent myself over the years in understanding and implementing that in congregations and back in to people as deeper water, the Alliance quite frankly has been slow to get into these waters but they’re very serious about it now.

I’m as you know, in a series of meetings right now where we are going full steam ahead and why is that important is not just because Ken Meyers whatever church ought to be engaged in Christian Education and Spiritual Formation, it is because we don’t have a resource place to go anymore. We don’t have a publishing house that we used to have anymore and why not gain the benefit of other congregations to work to do it, but it doesn’t just blow down to you got this and it worked and I’ve got this. We’re talking about generative models but also we’re giving ourselves now after all these years, 20 something years, we’ve given ourselves permission to borrow from other faith traditions. We’re given ourselves permission to say there are opportunities in inter-faith environment to learn and to grow.

Three or four years ago, I was in Europe to go teach in Romania like I do every year and I decided to go to South of France where, not to the Mediterranean but to Plum Village where Thich Nhat Hanh keeps home at the monastery and I’m not interested to becoming a Buddhist. I’m not interested in abandoning my faith. I’m a Jesus follower and I love that way of getting to God but I knew they had an avenue for knowing truth that I did not have, mindfulness. I went to spend a week there studying under Thich Nhat Hanh, the Muslim monk who lives there. As I was there with him for the week, every morning at 4:30, we get up at 5:00 till six. We would lotus position on the floor on a pillow. Gong was struck, a word from Buddha was read and we went into a mode of mindfulness.

After five days of that, flying back across the Atlantic, suddenly all of these years of trying to know what it meant by the Pauline notion of taking on the mind of Christ, the mindfulness of Buddhist helps me understand what Paul was trying to say in the New Testament about taking on the mind of Christ, so we’d share life. I found this crossover.

Alliance is a place where we have permission to learn in that way and to learn in all the ways that we can. We want to ask the large question, what are the ways we get at truth? How did you get at truth? How does your story intercept with my story? How can we help each other show the way to purpose and meaning in life?