Monday, September 8, 2008

It’s Like An Efen Oasis Man

This is an actual quote from a young man I had a conversation with the other day. I am on the phone with a friend and we’re talking about how amazing the book of Romans is and how brilliant God made Paul. So I get off the phone and notice a familiar face. I call these faces “block buddies.” These are just guys I see on the block all the time because we are always in the same place. Well, I get off the phone and he asks what I was talking about. I presume he is a Christian. He hangs out with a friend of mine who is a Christian and rocks a cross chain and religious looking tattoos. He is a pretty cool cat, he has a fixed gear bike that I would probably give my left pinky for and has more tattoos than I do, so he gets some cool points out of my camp. Well, my assumption that he was a Christian was quickly challenged while speaking to him after this phone call. He begins to use terms like greater being, transcendent energies, and angel wars and I begin to realize he is very religious but does not know God. He gets into this story about how he views life as if we are all cats and we either rest, chase little toys, or just sit back and try to figure things out and I have to interrupt him and simply ask, “What do you think about all this?” He answers my question several times wrapped in different odd stories, metaphors, and similes with I don’t know. He tells me he reads all these books about this greater being and has a ton of credence in these odd philosophies and principles. What I see in all this is a lost guy running around like crazy trying to find the truth. I asked him if he reads the bible and he kind of grins and says that he basically sticks with the 10 commandments. So he just basically mixes in the 10 commandments with all the other religious views he has adopted which makes for a very intelligent and spiritually driven guy.

For some reason God has wired me in a way where I can start and keep conversations going with total strangers that transcend trivial exchanges. So I have learned to really speak their language,. Really adapted to this downtown culture and oddly enough God uses me to speak into people’s lives who practically would run from anything implying Christianity as an organized religion. So I tell him to start reading Romans because it seems like a great book for him to read because Paul is very logical and explains the Gospel very clearly and in such a way that is understandable to people who think this way. At the end of our conversation I reach my hand out and get a huge embrace instead. This embrace was not some weird guy on guy in the middle of a predominantly homosexual area of town though, this embrace exuded thankfulness and understanding. It’s like I connected with him in a way all these other religious people haven’t been able to.

As I have conversations with younger people like him I realize that we are a very religious society. We love to philosophize and spiritualize things. Especially the area of town I live in, everyone is an artist or musician of some sort. Artistic thought is something I have become more and more interested in as of late. We hear things like, he is a musician, an artist, a poet, a sculptor, a photographer, etc and what you won’t actually hear is how similar all of their minds work. Their minds (mine as well, because I am an artistic thinker) work in vague ideas, emotional connections, and a thirst for new intelligence. Towards the end of our conversation another guy comes up and begins listening in and starts telling his stories about listening to dark hardcore cult like German music and how it speaks to him and such. He then tells the story of a dream he has and says that he sees Jesus and it’s like an efen oasis. My head tilts and face grimaces when I think of these stories because it has become so cool in my generation to be like that and speak of things in ambiguous terms and be sure of nothing. It’s funny how cyclical everything is, the same kind of minds Paul dealt with in Acts 17:16-34 are the same kind I am dealing with downtown at a local coffee shop. I pray God can use me in a way like He did Paul to reach people who did not know Christ. I pray you will be aware of the philosophers and great thinkers in your society and not be scared to have conversations in terms they can understand.

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