My group at work has lunch together on Thursday's. Recently, because of flip-flops in schedules, there were only three of us eating -- Two women and myself.
One of the women likes to dominate the conversation. Mostly, the topic revolves around why she holds the political philosophy she does, why the "other" political philosophy is ruining the country, how past governments failed and how recent governments cannot accomplish anything because politicians are all behaving with partisan fervor. (One gentlemen and I agree where we can, and politely listen where we cannot. To disagree is to invite a harsh response, a refusal for the most part to compromise and an expression of hard feelings. Interestingly, according to her, a refusal to listen and accept people with different opinions is one of the main problems with the current political climate.)
This day, religion moved to the forefront of the discussion. Life existed only in the arena of the physical and the senses. People were chance collisions of atoms. Those who held a religious or spiritual philosophy were weak and needy.
My inclination at this point was to eat my lunch and pretend to listen. I could have created a heated debate if I chose. Each of us staking out our turf. Bad feelings abounding. She would not move one millimeter closer to the kingdom. God would not be honored. "Here is one more, backward, ignorant, judgmental, born-again bigot."
But I find myself asking questions:
- Is the above scenario the only way this situation could work itself out?
- Jesus always seemed to be on top of tense situations. How would he have responded?
- Does every situation that ridicules or denies God have to be challenged?
- Was my choice to sit quietly a failure?