39) "What Keeps Them Coming Back?" | Dr. Cyril Guerette (Part 2)

Sure it's easy to go to a one-off event: a party, a concert, a fundraiser... but what happens when an event is weekly and ongoing? "What keeps them coming back?" This week, Mark explores what draws us to traditional forms of church and compares that to what might (not) draw us to an alternative form like The Alter. Ultimately, it may be that we more readily rally around a church with inwardly-focused relationships defined by self-developing efforts. But what of a model that asks us to rally around outwardly-focused relationships defined by neighbourhood-developing efforts? Can it work? Is there enough compelling substance in emulating Jesus, doing to learn, being accountable for it, and nurturing fellow mindful neighbours to "keep them coming back?"

Then Mark sits down with Dr. Cyril Guerette - Pastor with FreeChurch Toronto, Professor at Heritage Seminary, and rapper ILL SEER with PropheticPoetic. This week in Part 2, Mark and Cyril talk about philosophy and theology as poetry and the relationship between faith and reason. Cyril reflects on calling, certainty and confidence, and how the church can be better curators and witnesses to beauty in God's activity and in the world.

Recorded on location at Marche Brookfield Place.


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Notable Quotes from Dr. Cyril Guerette 

"That's basically what I would say is the heart of what I'm trying to argue: medieval theology helps us recognize poetry and philosophy are the same thing. Any time you speak you can analyze that sentence as a poetic statement and as a philosophical statement. And in theology we understand how they come together because they're both participating in God's beauty, in God's truth, and in God's goodness."

"Anselm can somehow hold these two together and also has a theology of language that I say, 'Okay I can go here.' I can talk to the postmodern Christians and hang out with them; I don't quite go as far as they do with the limits of logic - I hold on to Aquinas's proofs and stuff, but I get that it's not going to be for everyone. But then I also can go to the logician guys and go, 'Yeah, we need to use logic and we have to try to understand there is a beauty of logic' - I always talk about the truth of beauty, and the beauty of truth. And together that sentence shows the wholeness of the oneness that is God."

"I still believe in a certainty, but it's a confidence. It's a certainty that starts off with faith. It's a certainty that says, 'I exist, you exist. I can't prove it, so that certainty is a different type of certainty – it's a conviction.'"

"The question is faith and reason: how do they relate to each other? They need each other. For me to have reason, I need a law of non-contradiction. But I can't prove the law of non-contradiction; Aristotle said that. You just have to assume it. You can prove that not having it defeats itself, but someone could just say, 'No I don't believe it' and you can't force them; if they deny the law of non-contradiction, then they are already in this illogical kind of world. So you can't prove to them, right? So you have to have faith in reason. The other thing I have to say to people is in order to have reason you have to have faith. But in order to have faith you have reason. When I say 'I have faith in Jesus,' well, I have to hear what Jesus is and say, 'Well, what is Jesus?'...  You can't have faith in something unless you have some type of thing for having faith in - which is a proposition! But which one comes first? I think they are combined in the mystery of God."

"I felt called when I was young – I'm still feeling called. I feel like I'm able to bridge the culture and the church in a way that – there's a few of us that have a unique ability to do that. And so we're helping in some ways the culture relate to the church.. and also have the church connect.... So I feel like that's part of my role. Part of it's also just helping disciple. I have a passion – I'm sad to see people leaving the church. I feel like, 'Oh no! They didn't quite see the potential!' – and there are things about the church that need to change, but there's also an attitude that needs to change amongst some of our generation towards the church and the older generations of the church. And so I'm hoping that that's part of helping drive this. And I love that whole missional discipleship thing.... I love helping people become better Christians, but also helping people see Christ as the answer to some of the things that are hurting them and what the gospel would do for them."

"If the church can help see the multifaceted beauty of the gospel and help different people connect with that, I think that would be something that we can do. There's this new generation rising up in the church having a voice – maybe we can help connect it. Because right now there is a disconnect with people even knowing why it's good news."

"I believe that one of my callings is and one of the chapters of my book is the redemption of language. All these words 'sin,' 'pious' – piety is such a beautiful word – all these words, let's redeem them, reclaim them.... Maybe that's our job is to be the laundromat....  Sometimes we need to use new words, and sometimes we need to clean and reclaim words...; that's the prophetic call: if we can use poetry and logic to help work through that, the church is going to be able to much better speak to the culture."


Next Week's Episode 40

Philip Hamilton - Minister at Church On Tap