6/8/11 Stu, about 20
I was approached on the sidewalk by a young African-American man named Stu who asked to use my cell phone, as his wouldn't work. After helping him I used this as an opportunity to ask about him and his beliefs. Stu is involved in a dance troupe that performs for both private parties and in downtown Chicago at tourist hotspots. He believes in God but not in Jesus, and the reason he gave was that native cultures all around the world have their own version of a "Jesus", a god-man who gives his life to save us, many of which pre-date the historical Jesus of Nazareth. I personally don't know how true that is, but Stu viewed it as evidence against Jesus, that he is just a product of wishful thinking. I talked a little about the historical evidence for Jesus, but focused mainly on Stu's need for Jesus, how he has sinned specifically against God by breaking the His laws, and how only a perfect and infinitely worthy sacrifice could satisfy God's demand for justice. The way I see it, Stu wants to dismiss and reject Jesus in order to free himself from the obligation to obey and follow Him, and he has found in revisionist history sources a good excuse to do so. By focusing on his rebellion against God's laws and his need to restore a right relationship with God, I hoped to give Stu good reason to want to affirm his need for Jesus instead. Stu's reaction? It definitely got him thinking, but I think his experiences on the streets with dancing have left him more hardened and slow to trust every new thing he hears.