>I spent a good bit of the afternoon on Wednesday talking with a friend of mine at work. He came up to me and asked what I thought about Buddha and Allah. There are a couple of things that need to be understood about this friend of mine.

When I first met him, he was probably about 19. He would probably be considered a veteran, having served in Iraq when everything first started going down over there. He is part of the (I believe) army reserves, maybe National Guard, I can’t remember right now. He’s a great kid, but was a borderline alcoholic by the time he actually reached the legal drinking age. A few months ago, he asked my advice concerning an issue with his girlfriend. She was pregnant and last I heard it was up in the air as to whether or not the child was his in the first place, but we talked about taking responsibility. It was a short conversation, but I get the feeling that it was helpful. He has taken full responsibility for the child, who was born not too long before Thanksgiving, I believe. He is a good guy, but a little lost, so the opportunity to actually talk with him on a “faith-level” was very well received from this end.

After talking a little about Buddhism and Islam for a couple minutes, about the concept of heaven and hell, then the conversation turned towards his personal struggles with the faith. He was raised Catholic, and I don’t believe he would say he understands what it really means to be a Christian. We talked about two ways of viewing God – as the Judge who is pointing His finger at us when we screw up, and as the loving Father who constantly longs for His children to come home. He said that he tries to pray before he goes to sleep, but he thinks it is because he does not want to go to hell. I challenged him to start thinking of God more as a loving Father who forgives us when we mess up. At a couple different times, he told me that he couldn’t see just how God could forgive us from day to day. I asked him if he would ever reject his son, and I saw a look of love and compassion in his eyes that I cannot describe, as he told me that he can’t imagine anything separating him from his son.

I think God was really working in him that morning. I think some doors were opened. We had a couple of points in the conversation when one or the other of us had to help a customer, or take care of something – the hazards of conversing at work – but all in all, I think it was an excellent conversation, and I pray that God continues to work in this young man’s life, and if necessary to use me in any way possible.

I’m not an extremely bold and outgoing person. This confirmed for me that evangelism is not necessarily something that takes place on a vast, Billy-Graham-ish level. Crusade evangelism is definitely not my forte. Relational evangelism is crucial, and as much as I hate my job from time to time, I think I am where God needs me to be for now.

Just some musings from a traveling pilgrim.