Gunnar Andaas loves his little village of about 8,000 inhabitants and I agree it is a very pleasant place to live. For a Canadian, I feel Like I am on the west coast and so much of the atmosphere is familiar. The same was true in Kristiansand, which looked to me like the Canadian shield, Kingston to Peterborough, Ontario. I am very much at home except for the challenge of language. It is for me an odd thing. So many words are two and three letters but then suddenly here’s a word with twenty. They seem to get it while I don’t.
I arrived LATE last night by air from Oslo to the island runway at Alesund. From there it was another two hours to a bed above the church. I had a good nights sleep and up and out taking pictures by nine.
My purpose in being here is to train the church in evangelism (Thursday and Friday night Seminars) and then interacting with the university students (about 100 or more) who come into the church for coffee after everything closes up. Most who come are lapsed state church Lutherans, atheists, agnostics or young people who like to get drunk and then get l——d. I doubt if many are intellectual atheists and even if they make that claim it is more likely that they are moral atheists who prefer to believe that there is no God to be accountable to.
So my task is to engage them and I began this morning by going to the student center and making friends. “No one cares what you know until they know that you care.” The gospel in Europe must be relationally driven. It involves more suggestions than proclamations… more listening than speaking and so forth. “The Four Spiritual Laws” would leave them totally mystified. My job this weekend is to help people learn how to connect and communicate. We are spending most of our time talking past people by answering the questions they are not even asking.
Tonight, after I teach at the church for three hours, I will go to the coffee house, restaurant, night club called “Rokken” where there will be an open mic and more than a hundred young people. I will draw portraits and simply show myself to be as un-square as possible by giving away the drawings and and hanging out. I’m looking forward to it. Again, this is my bread and butter. I want to leave them with this question, “What is it?” I want them to look at me and think “Manna” (“What is it?”). This is what it means to live incarnationally. Jesus said, “I am the TRUE “What is it.” He was totally unpredictable. No one had any idea what he would do or say next and this the reason for his impact. He wasn’t a bit like the Pharisees and I love to follow him by coloring outside of the lines.