12/21/10 Greg about 50
I stopped by Starbucks and found a well-dressed gentleman working on his laptop. He looked busy but I thought to myself "We're adults here, if he doesn't want to talk he can tell me" so I walked to his table and said "Excuse me, I don't mean to bother you but I'm wondering if you have a few minutes to answer some questions" "What kind of questions?" "Well I'm from a local church and I ask various people about their spiritual beliefs" He smiled confidently and agreed so I introduced myself and sat down. Greg is in Chicago visiting his father for Christmas. "Do you have any spiritual beliefs?" I asked. "Well, I'm Presbyterian. In fact I work for the Presbyterian Church as a consultant with about 80 different churches" Greg grew up Presbyterian and, after leaving the church during college, came back in his 20's. He said he isn't sure he will go to heaven, saying he believes a person must work hard at being a good person, but he believes he is better than average. I asked if he reads the Bible much. "Yes, Ï've attended Bible studies" he said. I talked some about God's standard of goodness - perfection (Matt 5) compared to man's standard, and described how we fall short compared to the Ten Commandments. I started with myself as an example first but helped him to see that he too would be found guilty. He agreed that no amount of future goodness woud erase the sin he has already done. I asked "ïf I came up to you - a church guy - and asked how I could go to heaven, what would you say?" He had no idea. I told him how I was shocked to find out how that Jesus warns of hell more than he talks of Heaven, after having read through the four Gospels to see for myself. Greg agreed to all of this - maybe out of courtesy - but suddenly couldn't take it anymore, saying he had to get back to his work. I so wanted to tell the rest of the story - about God's grace - but I think he needs to face up to God's law and justice first.