The Dones, Theology, and Parallel Play (#489)

emailHow can you share a task with other Christians, even for decades, and come out without any meaningful friendships that endure when the task is done? There's actually a name for the phenomenon: parallel play, when you are doing the same thing in the same location but not really doing it together. The fruit of healthy adult activity is growing friendships of affection that are the true treasure of life. But before we get to that Wayne combs through the mail bag and blog comments to allow you to reflect back on our podcasts about the relationally challenged, "The Dones", and finding a healthy conversation about theology. Watching people find their way into a transformational journey that negates the effects of religion and draws them into freer space of life and grace is the joy in doing this podcast.

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Preachertainers and Pew Fodder
Previous podcast: Why Theology Matters
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  1. I love this teaching! I haven’t found like-minded people in my area yet…just soaking in for now.

  2. Parallel play. Its nice to finally have a word that provides a clear understanding of what I have experienced and participated in for the majority of my life including the institutional church. No wonder, I rarely felt connected.

  3. Wow! “Parallel Play”…. During our 30+ years in “ministry” I often told my husband and others that even though we were in ministry “together” we did very very little “together”. It was the longing on my heart and it was always a part of me that remained sad and confused. Neither of us had time to do much with and in the other’s ministry so…. I just comforted myself in the fact that we had the same mission. But, as you can see, it followed the same speaking pattern that was customary in that organizational structure, “This is good, BUT…” There was almost always that “BUT” word. I’m thankful to be rid of the “buts”.

  4. What a great podcast, thanks. Theology used to be hill on which I’d die; church world and seminary taught me that. I even had a house church theology that I evaluated everything else by after I left the church in 2005. Then one day I had an epiphany; Jesus showed me he was right there with me. My eyes opened and I found that I was walking with Jesus in the renewed Garden of Eden (that was renewed at the cross). I didn’t have to study God from books anymore because he was and is with me revealing himself as we walk together everyday. I’m teaching my sons that they learn of Jesus by walking with Jesus, which is similar to how they learn of me by walking with me. My relation to my sons has taught me that a child learns about his daddy by being with him, not reading books and hearing opinions about him (sometimes a book helps to reveal the Garden). I regret that I didn’t see this until long after I left the church, but everyday a fresh start. My relational health in how I relate to family and friends is changing as a result. My walk with Jesus in this garden of life is showing me how to agape others. Thank you for investing in Jesus Christ’s scandalous scheme of love by the things that you do, write, and say. Shean Smith

  5. This was a timely message for me to hear. I have found the “parallel play” concept to have dominated most of my church experience. I think it has lasted so long in the institutional church because it is comfortable. I don’t have to deal with others’ weaknesses and they don’t have to deal with mine. I am just now realizing that I want more than this superficial experience. My question is how? Most of the people in my life with the exception of family seem to be content with the way things are. Maybe that is the point, maybe just focusing on my closest relationships is the way to go.

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