How inspiring it was for On Q to discover why Tom has started a Q Place!
On Q: Tom, can you tell us a little about your faith story?
Tom: I grew up Catholic, but at 17 stopped going to church. I still believed in God, but didn’t believe there were any churches that allowed questions, and there were obviously questions to answer. When I was 30 I married someone from a mainline Protestant denomination who eventually got me going to church with her—but it was just what I call Catholic Lite: people mumbling the same responses week after week because it’s what their parents did, and theirs before them, never really digging deep or questioning. At least that was my perspective and opinion. Eventually we caused enough ‘trouble’ there trying to bring in contemporary worship, that we had to leave. We ended up in a non-denominational mega-church, with somewhat baptist theological leanings, but here’s the thing: every week, it seems, the pastor eventually says something, that in my opinion, risks driving away people, who like me, have questions! I mean, I understand that it is our theology, and it has to be said, but to ram it down people’s throats…
OK! I need to get off of my soap box!
On Q: And yet Q Place, and specifically our new book, The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations, has compelled you?
Tom: Yes! From the very first section—with the story of the young guy spouting off in an airplane conversation—the book brings up how insensitive and ‘brute force-like’ we Christians can be when sharing our faith.
Fun story: I worked for a hard-nosed, tough company, where everyone was driven. One day I notice a new guy—soft-spoken, pretty quiet, who’s been doing one of the nastiest jobs in the office—looks so beat up by Friday, that I offer to take him to lunch. As the food comes, he bows his head for a moment. I say to him, almost in a mocking tone, “Were you just prayin’?” He meekly says yes, but sees that I was joking. I smile and tell him I think that’s fantastic—that I’m a Christian, and that our family joins hands and prays at restaurants. Then he looks at me with a big smile and says: “You may not believe this, but in my God time this morning, before work, I prayed to God that I might meet a Christian at work today, ‘cuz I haven’t seen one yet!” We’ve been close friends ever since.
What happened that day is all the proof I need to know that it is God who does the heavy lifting. Experiences like that go further to strengthen my faith than any theology lesson.
On Q: So you’ve decided to start a Q Place!
Tom: I have! I know there are a few men around the neighborhood who are extremely bright and intelligent, but who aren’t going to church for some of the reasons I didn’t. I would like to see if I could be part of bringing them closer to a consideration of God. And, to hopefully form a neighborhood group of strong men who are committed to their wives and families and being accountable.
On Q: What’s that initial process been like?
Tom: I’m just in the process of trying to round up my other core leaders. My thought is to have the leaders be from different faith backgrounds to pull in some flavor!
On Q: Tom, it’s so clear that you are going to have a blast once you get started! As we wrap things up, can you share any additional dreams or goals you have for your Q Place?
Tom: I’d love for the group to become a band of 12 or so prayer-warrior/accountability partners who meet once a month and look forward to each meeting, because they find strength from each other to be men who aren’t afraid to stand up for their faith, and who consider themselves brothers in a neighborhood where people are ‘nice’ to each other all the time, but have no deep relationships with one another. Looking forward to some honesty and strength together.
On Q: God’s blessings as you begin!
Tom: Back at you, for the ministry of Q Place.