Saturday, August 24, 2013

Making Room for Everyone

The poor guy didn't know what hit him.  I was picking up a few groceries and the man seated in the car next to mine, struck up a conversation as I loaded my bags in the car. 

"Nice car," he opened.


"Nice day," he continued.

"It is, isn't it" I responded.

"Here's something you might be interested in," he said, handing me a small card.

I didn't want to look and I was afraid to engage him further. Maybe he was giving me a business card for a service I might actually be interested in.  But I feared it was something else.

My first fear was that is was a naked photo of himself, but it wasn't.  But it was related to my second fear of where this conversation was headed.  The card was a message about God's love and he was all set to convert me to something.

I'm all for people finding out about God's love.  However, shotgun evangelism is an embarrassment to any faith.

This poor guy didn't know what he'd walked into and I really tried to ease out of the situation.  "I am very confident in God's love for me, plus I was a pastor for over 20 years."

Now you'd think that would stop any person in their right mind from continuing on the path of converting me -- but no.  This guy had an agenda regardless of what my life experience was.

His next move was to lambaste the Roman Catholic church.  His reason for this attack was that it was very old.  I looked at him -- he was very old.  I didn't bring that up, but told him that I rarely darken the door of any churches of any denomination anymore.

He tried another critical jab.

"Sir, I love God and have served him most of my adult life.  But the church needs to do some work before too long.  Maybe we could just start over with out the hate and judgment," I suggested.

He said nothing more.  He just sat there looking at the card I'd handed back to him. 

It is a good thing to be passionate about something.  Often when a zealous person is involved there just isn't room for varying opinions and sadly, that is frequently the situation where religion is concerned.

I probably should have just taken his card and thanked him. If we are ever going to have peace, it is going to have to begin with understanding that there are many opinions and not very many of them are wrong.

As I drove away, the man was still staring at the card in his hand.

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