Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Zulus, Lawyers, Buddhists and John Travolta
Don't ask me where this article is, I'm just telling you what my husband told me as he was shaving one morning. He's a pretty reliable source of news information, so I trust his word. But it got me thinking, how many times has my life been enriched by talking with someone who was completely different from me?
Those times in college that conservative Jewish students complained about the way Christians proselytize (evangelize for those who only speak Christian), I may not have had the best answer on the tip of my tongue, but the experience helped me better understand the huge gap between our two beliefs that I thought were so similar. When at 20 years old, I lived with the atheist feminist lawyer's family with her college professor husband whose children were only allowed to watch PBS - I was exposed to a very different world I knew nothing about. Their dinner parties with the intellectual crowd were fascinating although I know for a fact that I embarrassed them a few times with my insensitive comments about faith and Christianity. The Jamaican roommate who invited me to her home for Thanksgiving, the young Korean Buddhist monks who had never met an American and asked if I knew John Travolta, the 65-year-old prostitute from Tennessee who wore her white hair in a mohawk, the Zulu witchdoctor who threw away her witchcraft to accept Jesus, the suburban moms, the theology students and the demon-possessed. Every one of them has helped me see the world in a new and deeper way and to see that behind every quirky story, there lies a soul and spirit that needs God whether they know it or not.
My closest friends may come from very different backgrounds, but they all build up my faith and keep me focused on God and His promises. But reaching out to others who are different is what keeps my faith tested and challenged, and even more, teaches me to see the potential that everyone has to be healed of their problems no matter where they came from. As funny and strange and different as we are, we're really a lot more alike than we realize.