Thursday, March 01, 2007

Reasons Why My Church Would Benefit From Doing Vetamorphus (Updated:Work in progress)

This is based off a passing comment I made once, after all the frustrations I had with whinging and seemingly 'eyes-closed' Christians who are comfortable just using the church for its services, etc. and never asking questions or giving back. I feel like I come across very 'high and mighty' sometimes, I hope I'm not. This is just a major irritation for me. Now I understand that the ten things I'm going to say can be found through many other avenues, but I feel closest to Vetamorphus, so I'm going from there. I also realise that Vetamorphus wouldn't give the same things to me as everyone else, but I'm sure if a bit of effort was put into engaging it, they would definitely receive from it.

1) The close friendships that form. Especially in the small groups, where you specifically meet with the same people each week and share the deepest parts of your weekly life, thoughts and beliefs. This sort of openness, I think, will usually lead to good friendships, and it did. However, the retreats that combined all the groups from across Victoria were also awesome, and some of my good friends are also from those. Too often at church or youth group or even the Garage group, I see people - Christian or not - who look left out and seem as if there's nobody there for them to be able to talk to. I must confess, often I don't even make an effort to reach them, because I'm comfortable where I am with my friends. However, I've resolved to start trying to look out for and be a friend to the 'outsiders'. Because they're as equal to God as I or my friends are, so I should treat them that way.

2) Seeing and listening to other people's beliefs. Even if we all came under the Christianity umbrella. Vetamorphus opened my eyes to the huge array of beliefs and thoughts that different Christians possess, as individuals and as members of different denominations (and even of my own). Some things scare me, such as huge event evangelism, spiritual gifts such as tongue speaking and prophecising, as this is what my non-Christian friends tease me about and get the wrong idea of Christianity from. If I had not done Vmorph, and just stayed in my church, I would have been sheltered from all these other approaches to Christianity and worship. I'm still scared of them in a sense, but seeing the people who openly embrace those things was a real eye-opener. They seem so much more in-tune spiritually than I have ever felt. I remember times before Vmorph when I made jokes with other people from church about that sort of stuff. I feel bad about it now, because I would have continued doing that probably, if not for last year. Just the fact that I was exposed to all these extra elements to faith showed me that there's a whole lot more growing for me to do, and not to sit back and let things happen to me - I should be making things happen.

3) Helps one to realise their leadership potential. Part of the course requirements for Vetamorphus are that you actively engage in a ministry for 40 hours, and a live-in ministry for another 40. While one may take on a ministry simply to fill the requirements, by the end of it, you realise the impact you're having on other people, and just how capable you are of it. There are so many people, me included, who are happy to coast along and never give back to others. Part of it, at least for me, is laziness, but it used to be that I didn't see myself as able to, or 'worthy' enough to do something for others. Now, thanks partially to Vetamorphus, I know that I'm more than capable of a lot of things that I can't even imagine, and so is everyone else.

4) Mentors. I think mentors would benefit so many people at church, and outside too. Just the ability to sit and talk about life intentionally with someone who is more experienced, usually older, and who sees life from a different angle to you, is such a cool thing. For me, my mentor approaches faith and life in a bit of a different way then I do, but I respect his ways and his person so much. Mentoring gave me the chance to open up and build a friendship based on trust from the very start with someone I didn't know that well. For all the people at church, whether involved in their own friendship groups or still relative loners, mentors would be a great help, and the opportunity for them to mentor others would also be an eye-opener, and a way for them to be self-empowered.

5) Benefit on community. This one kinda goes with number 3. While everybody who does Veta is given a chance to exercise their leadership, clearly the community they are reaching out to will benefit from their efforts. Sure, sometimes efforts don't end up the way they were intended, but when more and more people are exercising leadership (whether that's outright or by following and helping others) with good intentions, good things are bound to happen.

6) Faith exploration. Up until last year, I almost never read my Bible. Ever. I'm so action-centred that I rarely leave time for self reflection and reading. I enjoy it, heaps, but I just never seem to do it. Although I didn't put as much into the readings as I could have (something I'll try to change), all the other ways Veta helped me ask my questions, voice my thoughts, hear others' opinions and just explore faith in different ways helped me to grow up a lot. I feel like I was so blind just coming along to church all the time, but never questioning or exploring, just accepting everything. The thing is, I never even imagined there was anything I could question. Although it might sound weird, questioning and wrestling with why I believe the things I believe, and even what I believe, has made things a whole lot clearer for me. I think that there are lots of people at church and outside who never think or bother to question, or dismiss their beliefs as stupid, but they shouldn't. Eveyrone's entitled to their beliefs, and should feel comfortable enough to voice them and question them, and Veta would help our church do that.

7) Different ways of worship. Worship pre-Veta, for me, meant coming to church on Sunday, praying before bed and reading the Bible. Tis what it meant, and I didn't get much out of it. Veta taught me about all the different things I could do to build my faith and others' too. Faith through action, through church life, through community, through reading, through self reflection and meditation. I loved all of it, and it taught me how much more there is to Christianity than I ever knew - and I'm supposedly an 'insider', since I've been going to church my whole life, as opposed to an 'outsider', who doesn't believe in Christianity, and has stereotypical views of it. A major reason why there's so much stupid politics and arguments in church is because people are so set in their ways and traditions. If only they knew how good it is to engage in a new way, someone else's way of worship, and that it could be better for them and the church. Even engaging in other practices of other religions is cool, buddhist meditations and fasting are something I'd like to try, as well as lots of other things.


  1. I don't really have much to say about this post. I agree with it entirely, and think it is fantastic, especially for those people who weren't involved in Vetamorphus. Although the man reason I'm posting this comment is so you know that I have read it, and am loving your posts so far. It is quite annoying when oyu don't kno whether people care about what you're writing, so I'm making sure you know that I do.
    Keep up the awesome blogging!

  2. Great words Ben. It can be tough when you have experienced something that has truely given you life, and changed your perspective on the world, and then others don't know what you're on about when you talk about faith and life. Keep up the Journey. You're a great friend and theological companion.

  3. Jono: I agree, it is annoying when you know people read your stuff and don't tell you what they think of it. Feel free to add points that I can write about, or stuff that you feel helped you in Veta.

    Sime: I realise that it seems like I am saying my life is much better than many at the church's, because I've done Veta. This is not what I mean. I just want people to know what I got out of it, and why the things that we got out of it, rather than trying to argue you can only get them from Veta, would be beneficial to DCC.

  4. Ben: i dont' think I hear you saying that you believe that your experience is better than others. I hear you saying that it is simply 'different', and through that difference you have been able to engage with God in a very unique way. The Veta process is an excellent way of a persons 'known' faith becoming a 'lived' faith.