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too great to not blog about...

So I wasn't going to blog about this tonight, but I'm up so I think I will.

For me, I find refuge among stacks of books. Around 7:30 or so tonight, I decided I needed to get out of the apartment and headed to Barnes and Noble. Now when I'm at home, I head there in order to meet up with friends, but when I go here, I certainly don't expect to run into people like at home and certainly don't expect to strike up conversations with strangers.

I usually start out in the magazines then head upstairs to the religion and philosophy books spending a little time at each. The religion books I like are on one side of the aisle and the philosophy is on the other side. So I'm standing there, having made one selection, and I pick up a book from the philosophy section. I've already looked at some random philosophers, but the book I had in had was one where you can do little tricks to sort of freak yourself out. One I can remember was sitting alone in a room and calling out your name repeatedly. Even though you're the one who is saying it, eventually you get the feeling that someone really is calling you and the only way to stop it is to say "I'm coming!"

So I'm standing there minding my own business when this guy walks up and says hi. He gets progressively closer to me and I'm like... woah. Too close to me to not be talking to him. So he strikes up a conversation that goes something like this...

Him: Hi, how are you doing?
Me: (looks up) Fine. (looks back down at book kind of irked that someone is disturbing me)
Minute of silence.
Him: Do you know where I could find the book the Buddha and Jesus?
Me: (Standing in front of Buddhism books) Probably around here somewhere but I haven't heard of it. (still trying to ignore him)
Him: What do you think about philosophy? Like do you think these books have any validity? (Points to books on the Hare Krishna and Dalai Lama)
Me: I think that God has interesting ways of manifesting our relationship with him. (Crap, I've opened the God door)
Him: Well I was a philosophy major at UNM and found that they really opened the doors to things that aren't good. Like studying philosophy is a gateway into things like this. You know, like marijuana is a gateway drug into other drugs. (I'm sure my background in Nietzsche would have freaked him out entirely)
Me: Well actually my degree is in religious studies so I know all about philosophy and religion and I think there are definitely some valid points to religions outside of Christianity.
Him: So you're Christian?
Me: Yeah, and actually I'm a missionary with the United Methodist Church.
Him: So you're saved and here I am trying to witness to you. I was down getting coffee and thought I should come up here and witness to someone reading new age books.
Me: Well that's nice of you.

We made a little more small talk before Tara showed up, but for the most part I was laughing inside during most of that conversation. I do have to give the kid some mad props for being willing to start a conversation like that, but honestly if I weren't Christian I think he might have freaked me out a bit. So thanks random guy named Chris for talking to me tonight. I know it was probably difficult for you, and you didn't get to add a checkmark to "people I saved today" (you get the true cynic in this one), but you certainly opened my eyes to interesting things with this one.
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LMAO! I am a Christian and even just the story freaks me out, if it had happened to me I would be even more disturbed. What an arrogant nut. No doubt that he really meant well but dude, you've got to learn how to love people before you start trying to preach them into salvation.

Him calling philosophy a "gateway" (and comparing it to marijuana- wtf?) into other things to me means he thinks we shouldn't think. Blind faith is ok to a point (like maybe 10?) but if we don't wrestle with philosophy questions we'll never really know what we believe and why we believe it.

I loved how you ended up telling him that you're a missionary and he was disappointed! That's too funny.

By Blogger Jessica, at 8:26 AM  

tehe, Great story...

Sadly, the first thing I thought was "actually, recent studies have shown the marijuana isn't actually a gateway drug to harder drugs"

Man though, next time I feel the need to witness to someone I'll talk to someone in the Fantasy section ;-)

By Blogger CSDL, at 10:19 AM  

Awesome, hilarious story! When I was in a hard core religious college I let myself be dragged along on these street evangelism journeys where we would indeed hit coffee shops and bookstores and strike up conversations with strangers. Of course now I understand the absolute prerequisite of building relationships, but I do know some people actually connected with God for the first time through those fumbling endeavors. Even though I am rethinking the whole concept of "getting folks saved" there is tremendous value in nudging folks toward a path that leads to Truth. This guy had chutzpah even though his technique was weak. Thanks for the great story---miss you!

By Blogger Kel aka Daddyo, at 7:28 AM  

Bummer about ruining his Saturday night. He may want to come up with a more tactful approach.

By Blogger Joanna, at 3:41 PM  

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