I've been interacting a lot lately with Mike, my neighbor next door who is not a follower of Jesus. Mike is between his sophomore and junior years in college and doing an internship for the summer. When he's home visiting his parents we connect and talk.
Many of our recent conversations have drifted into the realm of faith, Christianity and God. I think we've been able to develop enough of a mutual trust with one another to ask pointed questions and listen to one another, resulting in healthy conversations about faith. I'm learning quite a bit from Mike's perspective - and others his age - and he told me recently that our conversations have really made him think about Jesus in new ways. I absolutely love having these conversations.
Mike and I sat on our back patio for about two hours a couple Saturday afternoons ago and he asked some great questions:
Do you think that Jesus ever regretted anything he did?
Do you think that Judas is in heaven or hell?
If alien life was ever proven to exist how might that impact your understanding of the Christian faith?
Another person I love talking with regarding faith is Cassie, a non-Christian who cuts my hair about every three weeks or so. I always request Cassie, even if the wait is longer. It's not because of how she cuts my hair (although she does a fine job) but because we've developed a relationship where trust exists and she opens up a lot regarding faith, religion and God.
In fact, of all the people I know, I learn more from her regarding faith from a non-Christian's perspective and what the culture thinks about the Church than anyone else. She's helped me think through topics we need to address or areas in which we need to be more intentional.
She asks me questions.
It started when I asked her a few questions:
If you could ask God one question what would it be?
What comes to your mind when you think of Jesus?
What comes to your mind when you think of Christians?
What confuses you the most about Jesus?
I find these conversations with Mike and Cassie and others to be so refreshing. Though I haven't asked them outright, I think they come to appreciate the fact that I attempt to listen to them and their views, even if they differ from mine. I am so glad I've been intentional in building relationships with them and I pray that one day they come to faith in the Risen Christ. But I also realize I need to be even more intentional with other people all around me.
Which has made me wonder: How can we be even more intentional in cultivating conversations (not lectures or monologues) about faith with those far from God?