Recently, I was asked “Are you a Buddhist? Your face looks very different.” I was ready to go to sleep on the plane, but with an opportunity like that in a conversation launcher, sleep was deferred, and I engaged in conversation. In the midst of a rolling dialogue, I discovered that this individual had a pluralistic worldview—a mixture of Hinduism, Catholicism, and some evangelical thoughts. What to do?
It was just a few moons ago that I had thrown out all of my seminary notes and courses from two decades ago. All of them! Oh, I still hold to my beliefs and training, but with a lot of theological stretch-marks. But times have changed, and I need to bring what I have learned into a new world with a renewed vigor towards how to contextualize. So, the notes and course materials were consigned to the dustbin.
In the joyful state of saying a rapid good-bye to those notes, I did slow down enough to look over one or two items. One matter that stuck in my mind was Larry Moyer’s statement which I had copied down faithfully:
Hence, in this conversation with an individual who had a pluralistic worldview, I looked for openings to take away or dispel false preconceptions of the gospel of Jesus. After a solid 25 minutes we were all talked out. But I was able to gently remove some misconceptions, and gently deposit some new thoughts about the word of God.
As we are coming towards the end of Holy Week, I am continually reminded that people are asking questions. Hollywood has already declared 2014 as the Year of the Bible, with several movies trying to depict characters from the Bible. Although not all of them are necessarily stories from the Bible (e.g., the movie about Noah might be much closer to the Jewish mystic system of Kabbalah, one needs to sort through which messages are actually captured by the viewer.
Holy Week calendaring enables us to talk about our Savior. But, it would appear that this year the movies and media are providing many more opportunities to talk about the Bible, the gospel, and Jesus. Are you willing to seize these opportunities to launch conversations?