By Brad Garrison
During my childhood through high school I was a football, basketball, baseball guy. I grew up in southern Illinois where there were no ice rinks and the ponds didn’t freeze over enough to skate on. Most people who walked on the ice there drowned. However, while attending pharmacy school in St. Louis, I fell in love with the game of hockey.
I was a St. Louis Blues fan and I didn’t want to just watch hockey, I wanted to PLAY hockey. But there were a couple of problems. First, I didn’t know how to skate frontwards let alone backwards, and I didn’t know how to stop once I figured out how to get going.
I didn’t let that deter me, though, cause I figured that if I got going I could stop by just running into someone–it seemed part of the game and that appealed to me.
Second, though, my pride made it hard for me to try to play with players who already knew everything that I didn’t. The solution was a learn-to-play program where everyone was on the same skill level as I was. That made it fun and encouraged me to keep learning.
Now, at 63, after 40 years of playing the game I am passionate about, I’ve gotten better, but what if there had been no place to begin? What if the only opportunity to play had required getting on the ice with Pavel Datsyuk or Steve Yzerman? I don’t think I would have started this journey.
My pride made it hard for me to try to play with players who already knew everything that I didn’t.
Peter says in 2 Peter 3:18 that we are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior.” Paul in 1 Corinthians 3 talks about “infants in Christ”–his problem is not with the infants he found when first coming to Corinth, but with the lack of growth he found when returning years later.
As an adult convert I can guarantee you that I didn’t get to the place I am now in my spiritual journey by starting in an adult Bible study. In fact I can still remember my first thoughts when invited to a study. My stereotype of adult Bible study was six geriatrics gathered around a dusty old book.
Some bright Christian invited me to play hockey on the church team. I developed some relationships with other Christians which began to break down my stereotypes and prejudices so much so that when another invitation to Bible study came, I accepted. That journey has been going on for 40 years as well.
Where are the starting points for people to start a spiritual journey with us without requiring them to be the spiritual equivalent of Steve Yzerman or for that matter, me who has 40 years of experience? Living Water will start The Galley Connections Café this fall as a comfortable place to enjoy some good music, meet others, and relax.
Living Water will start The Galley Connections Café this fall as a comfortable place to enjoy some good music, meet others, and relax.
It will look and feel like the kind of place you’d typically meet a friend for food, drink, and fun. The atmosphere will encourage conversation and questions. A short (3-5 min.) weekly video dealing with life and families will show on the large screen on topics like Making a Fresh Start, The Most Important Thing, and Dealing With Loneliness.
You can watch or not because you get to choose how connected you want to be and how you spend your time at the Café. In other words, you get to play at your own speed.