2/1/10 Mekala, Adrian, both about 40
I stopped by a cafeteria-style deli in Chicago's south loop area and struck up a conversation with a middle aged black woman about her beliefs. Mekala grew up involved in a group called "New Thought" which I immediately recognized as a cult. However, I didn't judge or criticize her about this. Instead, I spent about 15 minutes finding out the specifics of her beliefs and involvement. She believes that the Bible should be interpreted "metaphysically" which explained to me why she believes in all sorts of unbiblical ideas - no such thing as sin, Satan, hell, and Jesus' divine nature. Instead she believes the evil in the world comes from people's "bad decisions" and that through reincarnation people are given the chance to "get it right" and will eventually get to heaven. After biting my tongue while listening to all this, I began to ask a few pointed questions to help her see the inconsistencies of her beliefs. The conversation was headed in a good direction toward biblical truth when suddenly Adrian, a man who had been listening to our conversation from a few tables away, asked if he could sit and talk with us. As it turned out, though he seemed fairly knowledgeable about the Bible, he hijacked the conversation, making almost every mistake one should avoid when trying to share the faith. He was a poor listener and opinionated, barely allowing Mekala or myself to get a word in edgewise. He had no clear line of thinking or logical sequence to his statements, following all sorts of conversational 'rabbit trails' that led nowhere. He was unable to articulate the gospel, and some of his ideas were clearly unbiblical. Adrian reminded me of the need for guidance and training in evangelism. I felt bad for Mekela, because she was clearly interested in what I had to say, but Adrian became too much of a distraction. I finally had to leave, but Mekela was truly interested at least in the info I left her.