Which is why I was delighted yesterday to answer a knock at the door and find a well-dressed man carrying a Bible. Polite and pleasant, he introduced himself, shared a verse from his Bible and asked me a question about it.
Engaging vs. arguing
Right away, we hit upon key differences in our spiritual views. His choice of passages implied the need for divine forgiveness in order to be free of sickness. I explained that in my view, I am a piece of God (and so is he and so is his companion and so is every other living thing). There’s no need to look outside for absolution or commandments or anything else.
His thoughtful responses showed he had been studying and reflecting on his faith a long time. He was not giving me memorized sound bites. We talked for some minutes about the nature of God, each of us listening with respectful interest.
Why it worked
For this conversation to work, we each needed to:
- Realize this is not a competition and no winners will be declared (except, perhaps, after death)
- Allow for the possibility that there is more than one path to enlightenment/God/the truth
- Allow for the possibility that what seem like big differences could be mostly vocabulary
- Carry no expectation that the other person will come around to your views. Instead, use it as a chance to poke at your own views and see whether there’s room for some of his
You don’t see conversations like this on TV because there was no shouting, no accusations, no drama. We were just two Seekers, recognizing one another’s genuine interest in bringing light to the world.
Of course, he offered me a copy of the small volume he carried, its title something like, “What is really in the Bible?” I politely declined. But I shook his hand, thanked him quite sincerely for the conversation and wished him well.
My worldview is richer for having met him. I hope he feels the same.
Photo credit: Wootang01