Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Tea

This week's ponderings were sparked by a conversation I had recently with a woman when I picked up the money she owed my husband for mowing her lawn.  We are both mutual friends of Sheila who had asked Hubby if he'd be willing to help her friend out as she could find no one who would mow her lawn (how do kids earn money these days?.... but I digress).

She told me Sheila had mentioned our family had been friends since the boys (mine and Sheila's twins) were six years old.  She wondered if we had met in one of the political meetings, which is how they became friends.

I told her no... ummmm... we were her Evangelical Christian Conservative Republican friends.

Judging from the look in her eyes, I don't think this woman had ever met one before. She just couldn't believe a conservative Christian Republican could be friends with a liberal Jewish Democrat for over seventeen years.

Thus began a few minutes of a conversation which still brings a chuckle when I think of it for I truly don't think this woman believes there are Republicans (much less Evangelical Christians) who agree on some points such as organic foods, sustainable farming, helping the poor, the right to homeschool our children, and that Monsanto should not control our seed supply.

Since we met at a gas station (I told Hubby it looked like a drug exchange when she handed me cash!) on her way to the farmer's market, we only had a few minutes but I left her with two suggestions: 1) read Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth to see there truly are Christians who care about the environment, and 2) don't believe everything the Media tells you about Evangelical Christians.

While this continues to bring a smile, it also brought back the need for Christians to be "in the world but not of it".  I wonder if the media would still be able to make caricatures of Christians with their words and situation comedies if they were friends with more of them. We need to develop friendships with people different than us.

I have a fond memory of our young Hindu friend coming to visit when he had finished his degree and was leaving for his new job in Texas.  We chatted in our living room about books and faith and ideas and literature and... well, all kind of things.

As he was leaving, he said he'd never met a Christian like me before... one who was willing to talk about the exchange of ideas and who was so well read.  I've gotten that a lot through the years, unfortunately.  Even in a university town.

For you see, just as God places the lonely in families... He places people who are willing to love those different from them in communities where they become friends.  He doesn't say we have to carry Christian tracts with us all the time to tell people how to get saved.  We do not have to whip out the Four Spiritual Laws over dinner.

But we do not hide our Light under a basket, either.

We are never to be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.  We don't have to water it down and compromise our values.  At the same time, I don't know anyone who came to the Lord in an argument.  A good, friendly discussion, yes.  But no stomping of the feet and shouting and turning red in the face as one shares their belief that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

My friends of other faiths and of opposite political sides of the aisle know the most important aspect of my life is my faith and then my family.  I will often ask them if they mind if I pray for them over a specific need and so far everyone has said they would appreciate prayer.  I always pray for their salvation in my own prayer time, asking God to draw them to Himself.

The events occurring in the world today are bringing fear and uncertainty to many people.   By just being yourself in the neighborhood, the office, at your favorite diner, at the Thanksgiving table, at the book club, while volunteering at the library, or the PTA, or shopping at the health food store... people will notice your kindness, your peace, and hopefully your endurance in the trials of life.

Then when they are ready to meet The Prince of Peace, you are in a position to introduce them.  :)


Anonymous said...

Spot on! Thanks again for another insightful post. I love your humor ... a drug exchange. (smiling) Pam (SD)

Anonymous said...

this came at the most opportune time for me. i am getting ready to visit siblings who are very liberal and very secular, and i always struggle with how to witness to them. thank you, brenda, for reminding me to speak with love, and be an example.

Vee said...

"We need to develop friendships with people different than us." Now there's a thought! Not one I'm especially enjoying... Wonder if I may count you as one different enough? =D Now I'm going to be thinking about this post for days, weeks, years, forever. I sometimes don't like that about reading here.

Anonymous said...

You are so right about arguments (in the way you described it)...they are never profitable.

I will say though that I know plenty of people have been saved by Gospel tracts. I know of one situation where 7 people came to Christ from one tract. It can be a very effective, non-confrontational way to share the Gospel.

Maryann said...

There is a lot of wisdom in this post

Anonymous said...

My sister deleted me from facebook last year becuz I posted too much about God and right wing politics. Truthfully I rarely posted about those things but she said I am the only Christian or right-winger she knows. I thought their side was all about tolerance? We can't speak about either topic. Her choice. Sad, isn't it?

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

These are some very good points, Brenda and a good reminder!

This is a good reason to be ready to give an answer to all who ask, a reason for the hope that is in us...

I've seen many Christians who don't seem very joyful or hopeful....


Keri said...

Thank you for this rich food for thought. It really resonates with -- and convicts -- me. It also ties in nicely with the current sermon series at my church, which tells me that perhaps the Lord is trying to emphasize a point....

Heather L. said...

I love how your friend had no idea you were "so different"! It is so interesting to observe who God brings into our lives and you are right that we need to be out there loving those around us.

I've been enjoying this cooler weather and not ready to turn the AC back on but I suppose we need the warmth to get things to grow. My mom and I are having trouble getting zinnias to pop up.

Cheryl (Copperswife) said...

Excellent insight here, Brenda!