I overheard Alex Moreschi [mor-es-kee] tell a great story to a room full of people and had to invite him to the show. He was helping host a webinar event with a live audience at eFormation, a technology conference at Virginia Theological Seminary. Back in Savannah, Georgia Alex does hospital and hospice chaplaincy and assists in parish ministry.
One of the spaces Alex invests his time is with the atheist and secular humanist groups in town. It is hard for me to write about what I was hearing Alex say because I am inclined to impose Christian constructs and language onto what Alex does. He is, after all, Christian. Therefore his “work” with atheist and humanist groups must necessarily be “outreach,” “teaching,” or “missional,” right? I’m positive that those are accurate from a kind, Christian perspective, since those are, by nature, part of how we manifest our love … sometimes. Or are they?
The last thing we needed was for someone to come on here and preach the gospel.”
-No Religion Required Podcast Host
Or do those Christian constructs condescend to others as “less than” or needing us to deliver our information and God to them, as if God was absent or missing before Christian me brings it to empty, depraved you? Perhaps it is healthier and less arrogant to show up and join in the good, beautiful things that are already in motion before I arrived. Perhaps it makes more sense for me to humbly arrive on the scene as an inquirer and learner of what God is already doing there. Perhaps the one to bear God’s love to another is from the “other” to me. Is that possible? Might those be the kind of developing relationships that God would smile upon? Might those be the kind of relationships that would create a world that God would celebrate? Might those kinds of relationships develop a kingdom of heaven on earth? Hmm.
What Alex did say very clearly is listen. Most of his “work” or “ministry” going into places with people who do not agree with his Christianity has much more to do with relationship and being. Alex has appeared multiple times on another podcast called “No Religion Required.” That may obviously sound like an atheist or anti-religious show, as the producers intended, but maybe a no religion required motto would be a hospitable, respectable way to be a person of faith also. After Alex’s first appearance on that podcast one of the hosts thanked him afterwards, “The last thing we needed was someone to come on here and preach the gospel.”
Many people may disagree with Alex’s apparent theology about how to be in relationship with other faiths, including atheism and secular humanism. What I see, however, is Alex successfully loving everyone he meets, building bridges and healing the world. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised since he made no secret of his agenda, “Build bridges and heal, that’s my explicit agenda.”
Build bridges and heal, that’s my explicit agenda. – Alex Moreschi
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Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary
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