Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"I Believe in a Higher Power"

The other night we were out with our friends Aaron and Holly and we were in a discussion about current thought of the millennial generation (those born between 1980 and 2000) who make up 78 million Americans--the largest in American history. We were discussing how the college campus seems to confirm speculation that America is indeed post-Christian in thought and a place of great harvest amid their pluralistic ideas and inclusive religiosity. Even in the buckle of the Bible belt (i.e. Dallas) the current brew is anti-authority, anti-exclusion, anti-sin, and anti-trust. Lots of churches and moralistic church experience--but very little hope in the gospel. 

Spontaneously, we approached what looked like a young couple fitting an 18-25 year old profile on a date. We asked them what they thought about God and religion. It turned out they weren't on a date--but were taking a break from a court-ordered AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meeting and were having a conversation about God even as we approached them.

[Guy] "Wow--it's crazy that you approached us...were were really just talking about this very subject.." Yes. Indeed. 

We asked them their thoughts on religion and what their religious background was...

[Guy] "I was raised by scientists here in Dallas. I truly believe there is a higher power of some kind--although I'm not sure we can know who it is."

[Girl] "I was raised Presbyterian here in Dallas..but I don't know what I believe about who God is..."

 We spent several minutes drawing them out.

[Guy] "I believe that God is Love...and I'm really into believing that love is what all religion has to be about...I don't respect groups that think they need to convince you that they are right or force their belief on you." 

[Michelle] "What if you really believe that your right? For instance...what if you believe that it wouldn't be loving not to tell someone the truth? Of the good news of Christ? of Heaven? of Hell?"

[Me] Gulp. Wow. My wife went there...awesome..okay lets go with it.

[Guy] "I think it's just that I've already experienced Hell in my life.  And I know what that is." patience here.

After a while of them sharing their thoughts on religion the guy asked me, "can I ask you a question?"

[Me] "Absolutely..." praying for clarity...

[Guy] What do you believe about this? Why would you approach us?

I shared that we were all Christians and that we believe Jesus to be alive from the dead--that we all turned our back on God but that Jesus came to take our sin to the cross and make a way for us to come home to God. I shared that as Christians we want all people to know this good news and that God truly is love--as he understands that--and that he is the only God that is described as love in 1 John.

The conversation went unusually well. They asked a few more questions and we all shared parts of our testimony with them. We walked with them to their restaurant where they were waiting to be seated and they thanked us for talking with them and sharing our lives.

We drove home reflecting on the conversation and how their thoughts seemed to be very reflective of the current convictions of post-Christian Dallas adults.