10/20/11 Harold, Mesha in their 30's
After meeting at a Jason's Deli with "Tim" - a seeker who has been attending our church - I asked if he would like to sit in on a witnessing conversation. He agreed, so I asked two African-American men sitting a few tables away if they'd mind if I asked them a few questions. One of them, Mesha, who was very effeminate and most likely gay, didn't mind as long as his friend Harold did the talking, so we sat down for a long conversation. Harold had grown up in a Baptist church but during his teens had growing doubts and chose not to take ownership of the faith he had grown up in. He doubted that the biblical God exists, choosing instead to believe in a less personal higher power and claiming that people have made God into their own image. He believed in various conspiracy theories about the origins of the Bible and wondered why the "lost gospels" were rejected, believing they didn't serve the political climate of the time. I didn't really offer many counterpoints against his statements, because as long as he needed to eliminate the possibility of being judged for his sinful lifestyle, he wouldn't want to hear them. I trust that the 10 Commandments could be used to help Harold realize he needs a savior, so after I had heard Harold's excuses for not believing I began to ask how he would be judged if what the Bible says is true. "How many lies have you told in your life?" I asked. "About as many as my sexual partners" he joked. I stuck to asking about the commandments, because a debate about homosexuality would only confuse the real issue - his realtionship with God. When it came down to it, as friendly as Harold came across in our conversation he still chose to rebel against God no matter what, not seeing it as an act of sinful pride but as "standing on his principles". He couldn't see why the Bible says that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom", so I ended our conversation with a personal account of how the fear of God has led me to experience His love in Christ at the cross. Even though they hadn't agreed to such things as the inspiration of the Bible or the need to fear God and repent of sin, talking about my own experience of forgiveness in Christ seemed the best way to end this conversation. As I later talked to "Tim", the seeker from church I had been meeting with, he could clearly see the results of unbelief and sin, and this led to an interesting conversation with him as well.