9/21/13 Fred about 21
Everyone likes a story. A week into my “Parable Project” – in which I have been asking random people for their reactions to one of Jesus’ parables – I am discovering that one of the easiest ways to begin a Gospel conversation is to ask people if they would be willing to give their opinion about the meaning of a parable, and then to read it to them. The responses have been surprising and, frankly, often discouraging as I realize how caught up in worldly thinking and how far from spiritual truth many people are. I’ve also been surprised to find great faith in unexpected places. One of these places was a self-described physics nerd, Fred, a student at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He gave an explanation of the Parable of the Wheat and Weeds that would put many pastors and Bible scholars to shame, mainly because he wasn’t afraid to back down from the difficult truths that this parable conveys. We went on to discuss the issue of free-will verses predestination, an issue we really can’t avoid if we want to have an honest discussion of who the “people of the kingdom” are and who the “people of the evil one” are (see Matthew 13) Fred had a very nerdy but effective way of explaining it, which I’ll show on an attached video clip. We ended up agreeing that we all begin not as children of God but as children of the evil one – an unpopular idea to be sure – and that we can’t just change from weeds to wheat by our own effort or by a gradual change. We must die to our old self and be born again as new creatures in Christ, a radical transformation which Fred also explained very well on the video clip. I was so impressed with Fred’s responses. My interview request was completely random and unexpected, yet Fred fulfilled the command of 1 Peter 3:15 to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” Sadly, at least in my experience, not many who identify themselves as Christians whom I’ve met on the streets have been able to do that. See "Fred the Nerdy Christian"