Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Be prepared

When I worked in sales, I used to prepare a few standard answers, so I didn't look like a dope when I got an obvious question:

What does it do? Why is it better than Zippo? What's your company about? Why would I buy it?

A Christian, I think, needs to be able to answer a few questions and be able to do it in different contexts, at different lengths, and smoothly.

Here's a grab bag of the questions:

Why do you:
  • go to church
  • read the Bible
  • always seem busy in Sundays
  • pray
  • read those sort of books...
and so it goes.

You might prepare 'cultural', 'religious', 'personal', 'casual', 'serious' answers.
But in none of these, in most cases, do you need a 'theological' answer. What we are after is an answer that is truthful, but only gives as much information as to answer the question...we want to open the door for other questions, we want to be known to be accessible about religion (as they would call it), but not inappropriately over-bearing.

Let's give it a go.

Hey, mate! Why do you go to church so much?

  • What do you think happens at church?
  • I like to be with my friends who go
  • It grounds me; I like to be able to get out of the busy-ness of life each week. Helps refresh the inner man.
  • I went to church as a kid, and it always brings back great memories of family. I even run into old friends there from time to time
  • Nowhere else do people really talk seriously about life; it helps you take a look at things objectively
  • Its the only place I know where ancient history comes to life

and so on

Do you/why do you...read the Bible?
  • What do you think the Bible is/know about the Bible?
  • It makes you think realistically about life/love...
  • Its part of my recharge routine to put life into perspective
  • A lot of people talk about the Bible, so I like to read what it really says
  • The part of history I like is what in the past still affects us today. The Bible is about that
  • It interests me
  • Theres's always something in it to get you thinking
  • The most printed book ever...got to be something there. Curiosity started me, now I just keep going.
  • It really draws me in...you know...you read stuff written thousands of years ago; man, that's really amazing!

Do you believe in God?

Here, I would follow what Koukl calls 'the Colombo method', for example:
  • Depends what you mean by 'God'. What do you mean? [said nicely, of course]
They define God, you possibly disagree, but then you say, no, that's not who I believe in. I believe in...then you define God, following the scriptures. Or, you perhaps:
  • When I say I believe in God, I believe....[and you set out God's nature]
Why/do you pray?
  • What do you think prayer is?
  • Its a conversation with the only one who truly is.
  • It connects me with the one who created us [this can launch into questions of origins/basic philosohy: what is basically real, etc.]
  • It helps to ground my day and keep me realistic about life
  • Surprisingly, I learn a lot about myself and my motives when I pray
  • Prayer is the most intense conversation with the Spirit behind all life: I hope it deepens me/makes me more senstive to...aware of others
Then you might encounter questions about Christians/the church/the Bible being 'against' things that in its half-baked way the world is for.

They might start "why is [Bible/God/Christianity] against..."

The general response is: why do you think it is against...?

And, the last one is "Why are you a Christian?"

Your answer is for you, but my range of answers includes:
  • It explains the fit of human experience with life realistically, cogently and thoroughly.
  • It brings me into relationship with the Creator despite my natural inclination to think that I could do it my way. OR
  • It gets rid of what blocks my relationship with the Creator/what is basic to all reality.
  • Its the best experience of living there is.
  • It doesn't shirk the down-side of life, while bringing depth and enjoyment to the experience of life in a context that extends beyond just me and those I love.
  • Lots of world-views explain evil. Christianity explains it best, and it also explains joy, beauty, peace and fun!
  • It brings me inner peace and contentment.
Then, there are other tricky questions...tricky for some, maybe. I'll have a crack at them later.

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