Last week I was in Subway attempting to read Your Jesus is too Safe. I am never able to eat and read at the same time. Plus I hate getting honey mustard and smudges on a new book. So, I settled for perusing at best. Stetzer writes a great introduction and I was surprised by the data he collected on what young professing Christians feel unable to affirm strongly--including the resurrection of Jesus.
I noticed two guys sitting next to me that appeared Indian. With little thought (and in reflection almost zero prayer contributing to the progress of the conversation) I decided to ask them if the resurrection of Jesus would matter to them.
"Sorry to interrupt. Just reading a book about the resurrection of Jesus and was curious if you believed in the resurrection of Jesus and if it matters to you."
Both guys were cordial--one guy talked for them. "It doesn't matter. It wouldn't matter."
"So if you knew with certainty Jesus rose from the dead proving himself to be God--basically that Christianity was true--it wouldn't matter?"
He said confidently it would not. He and his friends are Hindus. We talked a little bit about how he believed in many gods and sins are forgiven simply by appealing to the god(s) of your family and saying you're sorry. When I asked him if the many hundreds of gods would compete for your alliance he said, "it doesn't work that way" and said the gods of your family pretty much stay with you. Up until now it was cordial but very cold--with no seeming interest I just felt totally at loss to keep the conversation going. In retrospect I was foolish to go into that flying solo without really pausing to call on God's power and help.
The "this is awkward" part came when I said thanks and was picking up my things to leave. I felt like I couldn't at least invite them to church. When I said I was a pastor and would love to have them come to the church sometime I received an immediate shaking of the head like I was selling a new and exciting business opportunity.
"no. no. uh uh" while heads wagged to say, "never in a million years." I said thanks but turned around licking my wounded pride at the tiny rejection and wondering if anyone in Subway saw the evangelical shoot the air ball.
These moments are good for me. It teaches me about my total need for God's help and dependence on Him. It reminds me that I've got no power on my own and only God's power can deliver. It reminds me that I'm often more concerned about my reputation and the way I look than about people.