9/29/16 Rob about 25
“Should I reach out to the guy out walking his pit-bull, or will his dog be too much of a distraction for a gospel conversation?” I thought to myself. I couldn’t know until I tried, so I asked if he had time for an interesting question. When he – Rob - found out I was asking about his beliefs in life after death, he said “Cool, I’m all about that!” while his dog jumped up on me, licking my hands.
Rob started to answer the question by sharing his enthusiasm for using hallucinogenic mushrooms and shamans to discover spiritual truth. He described how the mushrooms heightened his senses, so he saw details and thought things about God in ways he never had before. Of course as a Christian I was concerned that he was opening himself up to all kinds of demonic influences and the lies of the enemy of our souls. But it was too early in the conversation to give any sort of push-back or challenge to his beliefs. I needed to show I was willing to listen and find some common ground, but how? What was something positive I could say in response?
We actually did have a few things in common. I told him “So you believe there is another, spiritual realm of existence, and you believe in God or a higher power of some sort, and that there is truth to discover about life after death.” “Oh definitely” Rob said. He put his dog in his car and we settled into a much longer conversation.
So what was the sort of truth he had “discovered” from his psychedelic experiences? Rob said he was more aware of the needs of people around him and what he can to help them. As a result he sees himself as a sensitive, caring individual. No new revelations, just the same lie that claims the good deeds we ought to do can outweigh the bad things we ought not do. We went on to talk about God’s awesome magnificence as Creator, and I related back to the detailed descriptions of the intricacies of creation from his drug experiences. I also talked about how God reveals Himself through the Bible and not just our imagined perception of Him, even if it is “enhanced” by psychedelic drugs.
Eventually, Rob wanted a full explanation of the Gospel. He had some questions about the trustworthiness of the Bible and in the end was excited when I gave him a copy of “More Than a Carpenter” and invited him to further conversation. This would not have happened if I had shut him down with criticism at the first mention of “magic mushrooms”. If we want to share our faith, we need to be tolerant enough to at least listen to what others believe.