Monday, October 26, 2009

Surreal airplane conversation

Image source: Rolf Wallner
On my flight back to Zurich last week I sat next to a young man named M. He is a homosexual clairvoyant (fortune-teller, tarot card reader, medium, etc). This lifestyle is the polar opposite of the way I was raised. Honestly, it was a surreal experience. But I learned a ton.
Some of my fellow pastors would have begun to tell this man how much he was "sinning." And, of course, the Bible is pretty clear about certain lifestyles. But I decided instead to get to know M.
I learned that he grew up in a very orthodox church, and even experienced the presence of God at one of their retreats. He is a very spiritually alert person. But this spiritual curiosity led him in a very different direction. This led to him walking away from the Church, and therefore, Christianity altogether.
He also described his relationship with his partner, and how they met. They want to move to a new area and set up a "spiritual guidance" shop. He found a group of "kindred spirits" in this new town and is excited about the move. He even described some of his hopes and dreams, and some of his pain and hurts. While M described a life that I had never even imagined, I got to see his heart and learn a little bit about who he is.
Eventually the conversation turned to what I do. After I explained our desire to start a new church, he told me I was not like any pastor he had met before, which I took as a huge compliment. I got to share a little about the change Jesus made in my life, and how my mission is to please God. I shared about how God loves people -- even people that the religious world has written off. And when he said he has never really read the Bible (because the King James doesn't make sense to him) but expressed an interest, I was able to recommend an "artistic" version of the Bible for him to read.
My point is this... if we write off people because of their current lifestyle or beliefs, we shut the door to God being able to use us to speak into their lives. I find it interesting that the very people who didn't fit in with a religious worldview ("sinners") were the very ones that seemed to love hanging out with Jesus. And Jesus defended them to the religious elite. (see Mark 2:14-17 and Luke 15) And I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with M.
We need to ask God to send more "sinners" into our path. And that He would give us wisdom in our dealings with them. After all, it's the kindness of God that leads men to repentance. (Romans 2:4) We cannot afford to be so "spiritual" that we avoid relationships with people that are in desperate need of God. After all, haven't we, too, been brought into a relationship with God by His mercy and grace?
This experience reinforced my belief that if you invest in a relationship with someone, you earn the right to speak into their life. Have you ever had any similar experiences?


  1. This is a very good testimony and it's encouraging to hear. I currently work as a contractor at a railroad in Topeka. I work in the Tech Services department and so, consequently, we have lots of contractors and employees from India. Of course, these people are Hindu and I simply love them and serve I them. In the 9 months, I've been there, I have been working to earn their trust and respect. They all know I'm a pastor's wife and I often seek opportunities to pray for them. We had one couple who were buying a home The builder allowed them to go into the home before the bank had finalized the loan and perform a Hindu ceremony to bless the house. The home loan did not close on time and were homeless for 2 weeks (living with friends) waiting for the bank to approve their loan. I had the opportunity to pray for them over a weekend after confessing that I earnestly prayed for them, the next day they got approved. We were so excited for them. There is another couple who I am becoming close with who are expecting a baby any time soon. I through a baby shower for her. The relationships are building little by little and they come to me and have told me at times that they pray for me too. But God is at work, not just among our Indian friends but among Americans too. We have a coworker that has asked Randy to marry him and his fiance and one that is helping him get a job at a community college teaching world religion classes on line part-time. This is why I love this job. It's like a miniature missions field. I don't know how long God has me here but I am seeing God introduce himself to the employees and contractors and I've hardly said a spiritual thing to them. Love is the language spoken by all people, anywhere. When people see that you care about them and love them where they are, they are instantly attracted to you.

  2. That was good! No great! I quoted you on FB--will you see it??? Hmmm.