Sunday, May 02, 2010
Lights, Camera, Action! on the Streets of Rome
This week we hit the streets to hear from the people in Rome. We asked various individuals a lot of pertinent questions, listened to their answers and invited them to share their thoughts. In a limited way, we strove to “take the pulse” of our city in terms of world view and spiritual quest.
We encouraged people to express themselves honestly, in order for us to gain a better understanding of how they view and experience matters of faith.
These efforts were actually part of two projects which coincided - providentially.
The first was an initiative in collaboration with the Rome Bible Institute. We’d approached the school faculty and students in September by proposing a “Neighborhood Survey Project” as a service to us and to fulfill their curriculum requirements for ethnographic research. So they arrived this week – 8 Bible students: equipped with clipboard, a list of questions, a map, and prayer. We dispatched them to public places nearby where they interviewed passers-by. We had them going for two full days, with a break for lunch, espresso and a time of debriefing and prayer at our apartment. Brian and I can use the data they collected to enable Rome City Team to address the felt needs of our community. But perhaps even more, we wanted these young Italian Christian leaders-in-training to catch a burden for the lost and a vision for urban ministry.
The second project is called “Moving Europe Pictures”: an initiative of ReachGlobal is that of producing a DVD addressing the spiritual state of people in places where our personnel are ministering, such as Berlin, Amsterdam, a city in Turkey, and Rome. So this week we hosted a two-person film crew, and we ran them all over Rome with their equipment in order to capture perspectives on spiritual issues among people in Rome. As the video camera rolled, each of us got to interview many individuals on the street (in Italian!), as well as more extended interviews with friends here. All of these people willingly, even eagerly, shared their diverse personal experiences of God and faith. The sum of all this interaction was a deeply revealing and moving impression of the spiritual needs in our city. We’re so glad we had this rare opportunity to get out into our city and ask relevant questions. We probably wouldn’t have dared this without the camera and microphone! Yet everyone was gracious, patient, honest, sincere, and so articulate in expressing their heart and mind. Some say that no one wants to talk about God these days, that it’s a taboo subject. We beg to differ. However, if there is one emphatic declaration that we heard repeatedly, it is that religious institutions are irrelevant anymore.