9/18/10 Ruben about 25
Being intentional about evangelism has taught me a lot about human nature. I would never have guessed that so many people like to talk about themselves as much as they do. When asked about his beliefs today, a young man walking to the train (Ruben) told me he is trying to rediscover the spirituality of his ancestors, the Aztec and Mayan peoples. He believes their spirits wander this earth yet today, and he actively tries to communicate with them through native dances and drug induced hallucinations. I actively listened and asked questions about Ruben's belief's for about 20 minutes with sincere interest, not agreeing but letting him know that I understood them and finding some common ground with Christianity. For example, he believes in life after death; a Creator God; the concept of good and evil; God's right to give rules and hold us accountable to them; the rebellion of man against God's rules; and man's responsibility to care for the earth. After a certain point I felt I had won Ruben's trust and it was only natural to share my own beliefs. I said "You know, we have a lot in common but there's a few key differences that I'd like to point out." I asked if these "spirits" of his ancestor's were now morally perfect, and he said that they were not, and are undergoing a purifying process much like the Catholic idea of purgatory. I explained how this will not satisfy God's justice, that our unforgiven sin is what keeps us from a right relationship with God. My time of listening and asking good questions had earned Ruben's respect, and he listened to the Gospel with interest. Though I emphasized that Jesus taught that he is the only way to the Father (John 14:6), I finally had to leave Ruben with his belief that all religions are basically the same, though he now has a new Bible, my contact info, and a sincere desire to find out more about Jesus.