At the end of the day of work yesterday, my manager stopped by my desk on his way out… He was just making some small talk with me (the whole conversation took about 5 minutes and included one interruption). He asked me what I was doing this weekend. So, I told him that I would be preparing for my class and doing a few things around the house. He said, oh that kid’s class you teach at church – teaching the Bible? I said, no, that’s on Wednesday night (AWANA). This one that I’m preparing for is the adult Sunday school class I teach at church. He seemed surprised – he didn’t know that I teach 2 classes. So, I shared with him my typical schedule. Tuesday is the men’s Bible study at lunch at Coco’s, Wednesday is AWANA, teaching the kids after work, Thursday night is men’s Bible study, then Sunday, I teach an adult Sunday school class, and of course go to worship. He said, “Wow, that’s a lot of religion!” Then he admitted, “I’m not religious…“ (I wish I’d said “Neither am I…” :)) I said “Why not?” He said something like, “I just never got into it – it has to come from within.” He went on to explain how he was educated in a Christian school in Africa. He said, “We were required to attend Chapel every day, and to sing a hymn.” I asked him if that was the Anglican Church (the Church of England). He said it was. He said that his parents sent him there, not because it was a Christian school, but because it was a good school. He said, we didn’t become Christian because that was not our religion… He clarified that even though, he wasn’t religious personally, that the religion of his parents was Hinduism. So, that’s why he didn’t become a Christian – because it wasn’t his family’s religion.
I then shared that I was not brought up in the Church. I wanted to make sure that he knew that I wasn’t just a Christian because that was how I was raised. I told him that in our house, we didn’t go to Church, read the Bible, pray or even talk about God. Although, I do remember that my parents gave me a Bible in 1972, so I was aware that they thought it was good and important, but they didn’t really practice it. But, I told him that as I went to college and started to read Nietzsche, Freud, Skinner and other atheistic philosophers I really became an agnostic for many years. So, mine was an adult conversion… I explained to him how when we lived in Utah, I was consumed with work and was kind of a jerk with my family. So, I got this job offer in Minnesota (my first job offer in IT) and my wife said she’d go, but made me promise I would go to church when we moved there. So, after we moved there, I ignored that request for about 2 years, until these friends of my son’s from a family down the street invited us to church on Easter. My wife reminded me of my prior committment to go to church, so, I went and that is when it all started to change for me. During that Easter service, it was like the Pastor was speaking directly to me and relating to all the issues that were relevant to me. Then we went to a new believer’s class and later that year, me and my son got baptized together. I also shared that now I’m the only one in my immediate family that goes to church. I could tell he was anxious to get out of the office, so I let him go.
I hope to be able to continue the conversation at some point in the future. I would like to ask him, since he’s gone through Christian education, what does he think the message of Christianity is? I would also like to ask him whether he believes in God. And what are his views of Jesus? Also, what does he thinks will happen when he dies… At some point in the past, he seemed to indicate that he believes in “a higher power”. I pray that maybe I put a stone in his shoe… I’m very disappointed in myself that I didn’t mention Jesus, the cross, or sin. But nevertheless, I trust God to use my very imperfect testimony to reach him… Hopefully this conversation will continue!