Sharing Your Faith
Swedenborg Potluck Presentation – Sharing your faith
The hope for the evening of Friday, 28th January, was that by the end of it, we might have more confidence in sharing a small part of our faith with others when the opportunity arises.
We started by sharing some of the barriers that we experience in talking about our faith.
– I don’t know enough.
– How do I know what is essential?
– Feeling inadequate.
– Not many opportunities to practice.
– Where do I start?
– How much do I share?
We then asked, “Where does our Proprium fit in all of this?” A quick answer from the back of the room, “It’s in all of it!” The selfish proprium is the door through which the hells influence us. The Hells do not want us to succeed in sharing our faith. It isn’t surprising, then, that we quickly experience a rush of fear, doubt and anxiety. Our hellish proprium sets up the outcomes and expectations it wants for the conversation, such as the goal is to convince, prove I’m right, defend and protect.
It’s About Them
But what should the goal be in sharing our faith? The goal is not to convince or change their minds. It’s not about being right and the other wrong. It’s not to defend or protect the truth. Sharing your faith is not even about you; it’s about them. It’s about building a relationship and starting a conversation. It’s about considering where they are in life and sharing in a way that meets them where they are. We build relationships not with facts and ideas or with opinions or perspectives. We build relationships by sharing feelings. When we share feelings, there is a more significant opportunity for connection.
We share our feelings and affections when we share with others from a personal experience in life. An incident in which we drew on our faith for strength, comfort, joy or peace. A moment where our faith became living and tangible, where it moved from an intellectual exercise to being personally applicable in a unique and powerful moment. When we share a moment we experienced, we are sharing our life. It carries with it emotions and ideas, our loves and thoughts.
Sharing of experience rather than memory knowledge has the added benefit. It’s easier to remember because it’s not an intellectual exercise of remembering but a retelling of our life story that is an integral part of us. It’s also much more challenging for someone to argue with your personal experience.
Sharing your faith
So think about your own story. What have you experienced in life where your faith gave you that comfort or support in the moment? Here are some tips to remember when sharing your story and faith.
- Keep your story short. Don’t ramble. The risk of talking about ourselves is that our proprium is easily rewarded. When stressed, it’s easy to resort to what feels good.
- Use simple words that are easy to digest. Don’t use New Church jargon. You don’t have to memorize quotes from the Writings.
- Don’t go too deep into ideas – If someone is interested in what you have shared, they can ask questions that will take them deeper.
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