Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Life Creeps In

I follow a Twitter feed with the name "Funny School Answers." Some of the answers kids gave to questions in their homework and quizzes are very informative:

Q: There were four ghosts. Then one ghost flew away. How many ghosts are left?
A: "Zero, because ghosts are not real."

Q: Why are there rings on Saturn?
A: "Because God liked it, so He put a ring on it."
Teacher: "Saturn was not a single lady."

Q: Give a reason why people would want to live near power lines.
A: "You get your electricity faster."

Q: Who eats the most at a picnic: mosquitos or the dog?
A: "My Dad. He is chuby. He has a problum."

Apart from Saturn's rings and the electricity question, these answers show the students weren't considering these questions in a vacuum; they were weighing them against real life. It's like the old math question, "Twelve crows are on a wire and a farmer shoots three of them. How many are left on the wire?"

The mathematician says, "Nine."

But the farm kid who's seen it happen says, "Zero. Once you shoot the first one, the rest fly off."

When we share our faith with someone who has never heard of Jesus, or only vaguely knows about Him, we're not sitting in a theoretical classroom or in a vacuum. We're talking to people who already have a worldview, with their own ideas of how the system works, where it came from, and what life is all about.

Yesterday, I was driving home from work and the local talk radio station was having fun with the idea of humans and dinosaurs living together on earth. I happen to believe this did happen on account of the way Genesis 1 reads. Yet to one of these guys, in particular, that belief was of the utmost ignorance. But one after another, Christians kept calling to argue the point, and the guy got more and more convinced we were all fools.

The question that occurred to me was is this the right discussion to have with an unbeliever? I don't mind telling a Bible study group or youth confirmation class I believe in a young earth with God as its Creator. On the other hand, I'm not sure it's the most effective discussion to have with someone who takes for granted we are only here by chance, the earth is billions of years old, and there is no God.

I could well be wrong -- and please leave your comment below if you think I am -- but I find people are more open to our spiritual discussions when they touch on personal experience: i.e. the struggles they are having with life, rather than on great philosophical questions.

What type of discussions have you found particularly effective when you share your faith? What discussions have you learned to avoid?

You can let us know by clicking here and giving us your two cents.


Marvelous Mark said...

Another good and intriguing article, Man Guys! Rather than avoiding certain conversations in most situations, I found it helpful to not argue an opposing point, at least not in an initial conversation. Rather, I have it found it helpful to ask further questions that invite the other person to substantiate their argument with facts. Often times, by listening, you can find some gaps or misunderstandings. This allows an opportunity for the person to accept these gaps, graciously. If I can show respect to the person in the conversation, there is a better possibility of them hearing my point, later. What do you think?

Henderson said...

I think you're right on the money on this one, MM. Asking questions shows a common courtesy and that you're not trying to commandeer the conversation. It opens doors to many more angles of thought, which can expand the dialogue. It also buys a guy some time if he's unsure on the wisest answer to give. :) It's easy to flip the switch into sermonizing when difficult topics are brought up. We don't want to skirt these, but we don't want to bulldoze the seeker either.

Kevin Begnaud said...

My wife and I both loved this commentary, especially since we're used to hearing input from kids, at home and other school-age children from church. Their points of view are straight-forward and usually haven't been shaped entirely by the confines the world tries to place on them, not yet anyway. I was trying to look up the Twitter feed you referenced, "Funny School Answers", but there are numerous feeds with that title. Would it be possible for you to respond with the @...whatever for the specific feed? Thank you, and God bless you in your excellent work!