And now, I’ll answer questions that
Ah, but this meme is more than simply an excuse to ask questions. Involvement is like giving people an invitation to really dig, like getting involved in Truth or Dare. In turn, I think of this as a personal challenge to think of difficult questions I might not otherwise ask.
Well, I would have thought that our friendships were open and honest enough to always allow these sorts of questions at any time. I never really understood the point of games like Truth or Dare. But, if you use it as a tool to think about others and things you want to know more about, I suppose it could be useful.
1) You seem a good Christian. You’ve always been open and honest, never guarded or mincing with words and yet somehow never really tactless, even in your discussion of homosexuality. But I’ve never seen you witness. Do you ever confront people on their religious beliefs, or does your witnessing style lean more towards hoping people are moved by your character and bring the subject to you?
Well, “confronting” has a poor connotation. I try to make sure that people know what I believe. If I were to just go into the office and proclaim “You’re all going to hell, and Jesus is the only one who can save you”, I’m not likely to actually convince anybody of anything. I tend to try to build open, honest relationships with people and let them ask me questions when they want to know what’s different about me.
For instance, take you. It’s my understanding that you received a Christian upbringing, and then sadly chose to leave your parents’ faith. Telling you that I think some of what you’re doing is wrong and the story of Jesus isn’t likely to help, as I’m sure you’re already aware of my perspective. So, I try to demonstrate Christ’s love through my words and actions, and hope and pray that you eventually come back to see the Light. (And yes, I do pray for you, as well as many of my other friends.)
2) When was the last time you had a real spiritual impact on another person’s life?
The most noticeable personal one was helping to bring Jessi to believe and trust in Jesus as her Savior. Yet, it’s hard to know exactly what impact I had in other places. For instance, our trip to Costa Rica this summer certainly had spiritual impact on people down there.
3) How many people have you helped bring to Christ?
That’s also a tricky thing to measure. I haven’t often personally seen people I know accept Christ, but I have, and I do know that I’ve made an impact in people’s lives.
I think that one of the cool things about being in Heaven is being able to see whose lives I’ve touched, and who they’ve touched, and so on. I don’t know if we’ll exactly be able to see it like that, but I like to hope that we will.
4) Do you believe that the basics of Christianity can really be inferred from the world as it is, or is the motivation and inspiration of the Holy Spirit necessary for even that much?
I’m not quite sure where the separation between your cases is. I certainly think that anybody should be able to look at the world around them, and think that there must be some sort of Creator, as well at look at their conscience and realize that they do things wrong and need a Savior. The Holy Spirit is always there, setting up divine appointments (or as a friend of mine calls them, Godinidences) to work in people’s lives.
5) God doesn’t need justification, but there’s a key premise that he is consistent. What do you consider to be God’s motivations for the old testament genocides perpetrated by early Jews, and how, in turn, do these motivations apply (or how do avoid having them apply) to current thinking about foreign policy?
God is a merciful God, but He is also a just God. He requires people to listen to Him. The genocides were against people who weren’t following him, and would likely have committed even worse crimes themselves. Also, since they were in the desert, keeping people as prisoners wouldn’t have been practical, since there was generally a limited supply of food. Also, the Israelites would likely have been corrupted by the foreigners’ idol-worship (and in fact, they often were). I don’t think I can explain it much better than that, but I trust that God knows what He is doing. I found an article that might help explain it better. If you’d like, I could look into it a bit more and get back to you. I certainly don’t have all the answers all the time, but I’d be happy to work through these issues with you if you’d like.