20 August 2008
You may notice from the On My Nightstand list that I'm reading a couple of new books. It's only coincidence that they're both positioned as 'letters.' Before anyone starts worrying... yes, Letter to a Christian Nation is written by popular philosopher/atheist, Sam Harris. I've been getting together with a guy in my neighborhood lately and discussing faith, religion(s), God/Jesus, and the universe. This certainly isn't a book that I would have pushed to the top of my To Read list, but in the interest of connecting with him where he's at, and furthering the ongoing conversation, I agreed to check it out.
He and I usually get together at the pub down on the corner and share our stories, views and experiences over a pint. Before I moved here five years ago, a friend who'd been a missionary to Scotland for seven years told me that if I wanted to connect with people here I needed to engage the pub culture. So I have been. And to my utter dismay... my fun, relational, fraternal time down at the pub has been hijacked by deep theological conversations lately. Oh wait... that was the idea.
The last few times I've been down at the pub with some guys I get together with weekly, I have been taken aside for some pretty intense chat. I was speaking with one guy that currently lives and works in Africa who shared passionately how much he would love to believe all that I was saying and all that he's heard, but he just can't get past the way he has experienced Christians living/behaving... especially missionaries.
The next guy that cornered me just couldn't get his head around a God that was supposedly "merciful," yet says that 'all these people over here are going to hell.'
And yet another guy had issues with Jesus' claims to be the son of God.
Our conversations generally center around rugby, kids and work, but I found myself fielding the toughest (most common) issues the world has with Christianity: Christians, justice and Jesus. It's taken a long time for the conversations to turn to these topics, but I've discovered that I've grown into the role of the pastor they reference for all their queries and doubts.
I really do enjoy the lighthearted boys-night-out atmosphere that we typically have on a Tuesday night down at the pub, but at the same time, I am incredibly encouraged that these times are becoming seasoned with more depth and authenticity.
Posted by PunkMonk at 12:06