1. What do you believe in?
2. How is your relationship with Jesus?
3. What do you believe about satan? (for you SCL fans, you'll recognize the middle finger of grammar there)
Tonight I went to Starbucks to read the previously mentioned book o' boring and while sipping a London Fog Latte, a young man began making conversation with me. He asked me about my book (which I was brutally honest about) and I politely asked about his (he was reading about Chinese calligraphy). The conversation continued in a small-talk fashion until he asked once more about my reading selection. He wanted to know why I was reading about ministry management. Now, normally, I'm a pretty closed off individual - I don't like to share personal things (please sense the completely ridiculosity of that statement), but I began sharing with him that I'm a seminary student at Multnomah, that I live in the Seattle area and that I'm going to school to get more training to do ministry.
OUT OF THE BLUE, he asks question #1: What do you believe in? When I looked at him a little blankly, he followed up with What religion are you? Finally, I overcame my shock and told him I was Evangelical Protestant (I didn't really want to get into the whole Southern Baptist thing) and that I believed in Jesus. That conversation led to a few more questions on his part and I turned the questions back on him. He grew up Catholic, but had tried many other religions and has landed on Jehovah's Witness. He believes in everything and nothing (his words). We chatted for a few minutes about his religious upbringing and Jehovah's Witness in particular when again...
OUT OF THE BLUE, he asks question #2: How is your relationship with Jesus? Having really never been asked that question outside religious institutions, I had to be completely honest and say that, like any relationship, it ebbs and flows, but He always leads me back to deep connectedness with Himself eventually. This train of conversation continued again for a few minutes and included some other topics.
THEN RANDOMLY, during a lull in conversation, he asked me question #3: What do I believe about satan? At this point, I had to be really honest and tell him what I knew from the Bible, but that I hadn't ever really thought through my personal thoughts on satan and evil spirits, etc.
All in all... it was a little awkward. But it was life. And it was real. We don't believe in the same things; he doesn't believe in the things that his church does. But it was absolutely apparent from our brief conversation that he loves people and wants to know people. Which made me realize that the Bible is right (which, I guess, really shouldn't be a shocker to me) when God says "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect..." (1 Peter 3.15). Someone asked me to articulate what I believed about Jesus, His church and His enemy. And I have to admit, I was not as prepared as I could have been.
So the question today is: how would you answer those questions? No matter what religious or non-religious background you have, how do you articulate what beliefs you hold? What make you who you are? What do you value? In what or in whom is your hope placed?
Hopefully, the next time I'm at Starbucks presented with questions like that, I'll be prepared to answer. Cause apparently you never know what can happen at Starbucks. =)