There have been a few experiences in my life that I would like to write about dealing with cross-cultural relationships, but I can't seem to find the time to write about them.
"But wait," you say. "What are you doing now?"
Good question. I am going to write about something that happened just a few hours ago because it is fresh. Mmmmmmm. Fresh.
If you follow this blog at all, then you know that I work for a campus ministry called InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. I love it and when it is good, it is GOOD. Know what I mean?
So tonight I was in the dorm that I hang out in and was with the people I usually hang out with there. There is this crowd that always hangs out in the lounge. I love that too. I have never seen the lounge of a dorm be used as frequently as this one is by as many people as this one is.
Anyway, I ran into a student that I had been meaning to talk to for a long time. He mentioned to me that he used to be a part of a church but left. One day the pastor there made an apology to the congregation (I think) about how he and other Christians had been hypocritical. The guy I was talking to got really offended and left and I guess that was the end of his involvement with the church.
I was a bit confused by this because I have found that when people fess up to their mistakes and apologize and begin to make it right, others generally respond well and are thankful for it. I have done that before and I think it was received positively.
I explained that to him and it seemed like he had never thought of that before. I thought that was a bit strange but it was fun to watch him mull over this new perspective.
We kept talking and he just kind of blurted out that he hates reading the Bible. It just makes him angry.
From our perspective, a lot of the things in the Bible seem at best, outdated. At worst they are oppressive and harmful.
I shared with him something that has been helpful for me. Realizing that the Bible was actually revolutionary for its time and pulled its culture forward has tremendously helped my understanding of what it is saying. It is not trying to keep culture from growing. It is forcing it to grow.
I explained how some of the laws concerning women seem a bit off. But if we think about how women were treated before the laws in Leviticus, we become very grateful for the Bible. Women are treated like people with rights. If you rape a woman, you had better be prepared to provide and care for her for the rest of your life. That is a CRAZY idea for the ancient world.
Then when you factor in Jesus, all bets are off.
"There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." - Galatians 3:28
I am not sure exactly what that passage means, but it is certainly difficult to justify the oppression and dehumanization of anyone after reading it.
This was his response after I said that. I am not even kidding.
"Wow, you just totally made me love Christianity."
WHAT?!?! That . . . just . . . happened.
Oh, we will be having some more conversations. Mark my words.
The next conversation I had happened literally minutes later.
I sat down with some other students and pulled out my computer. I wanted to show them what I talked about last night at our large group meeting because they hadn't been there. I was going over an overview of the story of the Bible using James Choung's True Story method. I created this cool Keynote presentation for it with all kinds of fun graphics. The kids love graphics these days.
I knew a guy who was not a Christian was watching so I was kind of secretly doing it for him. Sneaky.
But when I got done, I turned to him and said "What do you think? As an outsider, what is your opinion?"
"I like it. That is kind of cool. I might have to come back to Bible Study."
Sometimes you don't believe something could ever work and then something like that happens and you realize how little faith you have.
He came to Bible Study tonight. We'll see what happens.
That all happened in like a half hour. How much time am I wasting?
Those were fantastic conversations. I was not pushy. I was not nervous. I was just talking about stuff I care about with people I care about. And I can't wait to have some more.