5/31/10 Israel, 39 and Paul, 46
After my conversation with Jack (last post before this), I asked people at four tables in the deli if they had a minute or two to answer some questions. I was turned down at the first three. A year ago, I would have taken this personally and felt rejected, but now I think "how can they reject me? They don't even know me!" or "Maybe they truly don't have the time to talk" I have to admit I felt somewhat vindicated after these refusals when two men at the fourth table agreed to answer my questions and we had a long, positive and heartfelt conversation. They didn't agree easily though, and at first rejected my request also, saying "We don't need to be preached at". I said "Well I AM from a church nearby, but I really would like to ask questions, not preach at you. If you had questions for me I'd be happy to answer them, but I'd be happy just to have the chance to ask you a few things about your beliefs." I said this in truth, because my conversational style of evangelism is based on asking questions, and even if people don't respond with questions of their own, the questions I do ask plant seeds of truth that can help people along the path to a right relationship with God. Israel decided to allow me to sit and talk to them "because of your boldness" he told me. As it turned out, these men are a gay couple who met at a Catholic Church. We talked for probably 30 minutes about their struggles with their belief in God and their homosexual impulses. I didn't want this to be the central issue, however, so I asked if we could talk about their relationships to God without reference to their gay lifestyle, which we did for at least another half hour. How do they measure up to God's standard - the Ten Commandments? Since they've had experiences feeling judged by "fundamentalist Christians", I didn't want to take the risk that they would feel I was judging them too, (I try not to judge, but I do hold the Ten Commandments up as a sort of mirror and encourage people to judge themselves) so I applied the Ten Commandments to myself instead of to them, showing how I didn't measure up, and by extension they could see they would fare no better. At this point the excuses started, as they said they didn't trust the Bible or various specific teachings in it, and they had their own version of the God they believe in, one who wouldn't judge them. I believe they were confronted with their real problem - their rebellion against God in many areas of their life, all too often overlooked because of their gay lifestyle.