Fifth rule for dialogue: Courtesy
Before I continue, I just want to apologise that I have been so quiet for a few days. My 84 year old mother-in-law became very weak towards the end of last week and last night (Sunday) she died. She was a remarkable person and had an unshakable faith in the Lord right up to the end. My eldest son also has a blog and he put his own feelings about her life in his latest post. This touched me deeply when I read it. You can read it here.
Back to today’s topic. Max Warren said that nothing prevents dialogue from taking place more than an attitude of arrogance. Christ was willing to sacrifice his own honour and glory for our behalf. Nothing less is expected of us. He writes: “The cross was not a symbol of imperial domination, but of the imperium of sacrifice. The Christian faith has nothing to lose by suffering. In and through suffering it can perhaps speak home to the hearts and minds of suffering mankind better than in any other way”
Another theologian with the name of Margull said that the Christian church will have to make itself vulnerable when meeting other religions. David Bosch wrote that the apostles believed because of the marks of the nails in the hands of Jesus. The world will believe because of the cross.
A friend of mine sent me a note today. It’s not personal, therefore I believe that I can share something from this letter. She works for a mission organisation and amongst other things she also coaches a basketball team at an all-girls school in South Africa. The team consists of people from a variety of cultures. They recently travelled together by train to take part in a tournament and that evening she felt that the Lord wanted her to speak to these girls. She started by asking some tough questions. I quote from her letter:
“They shared with me that about 85% of the girls who attend their school are lesbians or bisexuals as well as many of the staff. They talked about the lack of role models and adults in the lives of the girls and how boredom and loneliness in the boarding houses leads to experimenting with other girls. One girl shared about her experiences (past and present) with other females. As they spoke, they watched me intently to see my reaction. We didn’t touch on Jesus or God or church, etc. The night was purely the reality of their lives and in reality Jesus has no part in their lives right now.
I believe that Jesus wants to be in their lives and he has put me in this position for a purpose that is bigger than what I can see. Honestly, I am scared. It is an uncomfortable situation and it is dark. This weekend was a time where God began to dig up roots and I really want to be able to join him in the dig, but I don’t know how…”
How do you go into dialogue with people like this, for whom faith in Jesus Christ means zero, knowing that this is the only way in which they will ever experience real peace and freedom?