3/19/15 Paul about 55
Paul, a Chicago firefighter, told me in a grocery store conversation, “I’m a believer in Jesus, but I just don’t believe all that hocus pocus magic stuff, like a stick turning into a snake, or the Red Sea parting and all that” Knowing my time is limited in outreach conversations, especially in the aisles of a grocery store, I’ve learned not to get sidetracked with side topics, so I didn’t debate with this but instead asked about a much more important miracle: “So what do you think about Jesus, do you believe he rose from the dead?” Well I think Jesus was a great speaker and had a lot of influence over people, but I’ve been a firefighter for over 20 years and I’ve seen people who I thought were dead come back to life, so I believe that’s probably what happened” he responded. Paul turned out to have a lot of very strong opinions such as this, and I eventually asked if he has ever read the Bible himself. “No, I haven’t, but I’ve heard a lot of people’s opinions about it.” I tried to encourage him to read the Bible on his own, and not base his ideas about it on other’s opinions. “Oh, I don’t – I hear all the opinions, and decide for myself what I will believe” he said. “Well, then, here is my opinion about what it says, I hope you’ll consider it too.” I responded. He seemed open to that idea, and I hope he begins to believe in a Jesus who is so much more than just a “great speaker”.