One night, a conversation was struck between a man and a woman. It was ignited by a curious point made by a teacher who mentioned an interesting fact about John Calvin, the Swiss theologian. Interestingly enough, prior to that they were just talking about what they were seeing on Netflix.
So that escalated quickly.
Then a conversation about Church History led to a discussion about theologian’s controversial doctrines. They were talking about the doctrine of election, and how people may see it as unjust.
The man had several arguments up his sleeve, yet in his patience, he waited and listened instead. He then smiled and nodded, “I know right, that’s such a mystery.”
The woman replied, “Yet, although I don’t embrace it in full, I know He loves me, by everything that He had done and the blessings He poured over me in abundance.”
Thank God he didn’t shoot her with his many ammunition of rhetoric, for then his heart wouldn’t be overwhelmed with praise, knowing that although they disagree, the redeeming work of Christ remains a beautiful treasure cherished by His people!
Personally, I experience such pleasure when talking about religion.
There are many occasions in which people’d start opening up and sincerely express their feelings not only about theological statements or the newest findings of scholars nor archeologists, but about how they make sense of life. Despite of all our stance in what we believe in, each of us has a certain worldview, a certain lens by which we look at the things around us.
The sun rises and sets each day, and it’s witnessed massively by the inhabitants of the world. Some overlook it as something ordinary, yet others would tremble with joy as the warmth touches the skin, as they see the beauty exerted as the light is refracted through drops of water, knowing that they are signs pointing to a Creator.
Our beliefs tell us of how we see suffering as it happens to everyone around us and ourselves. One may condemn suffering as a proof that there is no one who cares for us, yet for some, it encourages them to lay their all unto Him who works all things to good, even the bad ones (Romans 8:28, 1 Peter 3:13-17).
Our view on life says a lot about us for they are the fuel by which we say what we say, and do what we do.
So although it’s not without its negative consequences (this might be one of the fastest way to make debate nemeses!), I think religion (how people see God) is one of the best topics to talk about.
Perhaps one of the best parts of these kinds of conversation is that we’d get to talk about Christ. Unfortunately, there are occasions in which it could be a haunting name to even mention. Some people may laugh, see you with disgust, or start attacking you with the worst weapon there is — words. Yet some listen, and are curious about This Man from Nazareth who lived a perfect life, died on the cross, resurrected, and promises that He shall come again to judge everyone. I mean, if I were in their place, I’d be interested!
The story between the man and the woman continues. Now they’re starting to share their own experiences and their friends’ — how they have questions and doubts about God. The man’s smile’s starting to fade, and his posture changes as he’s starting to listen to the woman even more intently. Instead of answers, unfortunately, the man says nothing. He could only nod as the woman makes her points, expressing his sympathy and his sincere intent to be a respectful listener.
Thankfully, the story doesn’t end there.
The same woman then shared the other side of the coin, the experiences in which she couldn’t explain, yet strengthens her faith. The story doesn’t necessarily sound supernatural — there’s no instantaneous healing or anything — yet it’s a miracle that deserves a similar praise, it’s a miracle of forgiveness and her unrelenting passion to serve the Lord.
The once fading smile’s starting to make its return.
Then it’s the man’s turn to share his stories. Yet not his own experiences that was told, but his friend’s. It was a tale of a prodigal son and his unexpected return, showing how the Lord sovereignly orchestrates all seemingly ordinary circumstances as the instruments of His glory.
As the story ends, both shared how the exchange of stories had blessed them, and they ended the conversation saying, “The Lord works in amazing ways indeed. Just look at how we finally get here and got to have such a conversation!”
A quote that still remains with me about such conversation is one from D. T. Niles, “Evangelism is telling one beggar telling another beggar where to get bread.”
Oh such beautiful truth! We are beggars, indeed. As beggars saved by grace (Ephesians 2, Romans 8), it is only fitting that we tell other fellow beggars of the Bread of Life, Christ Himself. He shall fulfill our deepest needs — better than money or power — He shall give you life and you shall have it in abundance, in moments of joy or sorrows.
He shall be your greatest joy, for who could satisfy your longings but the One who creates you?
Friends, I invite all of you to give much thought into this — sharing the faith, and thinking about Christ and its implication to how we see the world. The gospel of Christ is the power of God to save (Romans 1:16), and we’ve been given the grace to proclaim it in even what seems to be ordinary circumstances.
May we pray all the more for courage, wisdom, humility, and gentleness as we join our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ proclaiming the greatest news there is that is Christ!