I had been struggling with questions from friends and family, who asked why I had to work on Easter/Resurrection Sunday. Considering the significance of the day, it was puzzling, to say the least, that a Christian would have to go and put in a full shift. Admittedly, I was unable to find a sufficient answer beyond the reality that it is expected of me and, until the Lord blesses me with a formal opportunity to write and teach, I must make ends meet this way.
My answer is better now.
I speak with customers all night and, last night, when one probed into my life outside of work, I explained that I was a writer on Christian theology and general philosophy to a lesser extent. Considering the rapport I had with him during the business portion of the conversation, he was comfortable with sharing his personal beliefs on religion and Jesus. He went further, sharing that many were shocked to hear that he was not a Christian and that his view extended to a “gnostic spiritualism” of sorts, where he believed, among other things, that Jesus definitely was a good teacher, but was a good teacher among many good teachers; this, he stated was the product of his own belief which had been formed since he was fifteen.
Knowing the limitations I had at work, I advised that my current situation would not afford me the freedom to devote as much time as I would have liked, but, because it is my heart’s passion, I was obligated to discuss Jesus with him. Now, instead of delving into my two-fold challenge to him in this, I decided to present it a bit more formally, here.
After listening intently, he agreed to consider the two points I presented to him and offered two for me:
1. None of the scriptures that make up the four-fold Gospel are first-hand, in that they are not from the mouth or hands of Jesus Himself. No, instead, we have second-hand accounts, written from the men who “supposedly” knew and saw Jesus, which means that, for us, they are third-hand accounts. More to the point, if he were to write about his mother, he would essentially write from how he perceives her instead of how she truly is, which is why there are so many little differences and variations in the four-fold Gospel itself. The answer can be found here.
2. Each faith possesses similarities at each of their cores. There are so many similarities, in fact, that it points to a unity wherein each equates to the right path, going to the same destination. Because of this, each path is equally good for spiritual enlightenment. Consider a hundred rolls of cotton fabric of varying colors: the colors are not as important as the fabric itself and the colors only serve the purpose of appealing to specific individuals (i.e. one may like blue and another may like red).
Fascinating points, all in all, and I am happy to consider them fully. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be offering my responses to each of these points because they are very common arguments and I gave my word that I would give them as serious of a consideration as he asked me to. With this, we parted ways, but I was left with a better answer than I did at the start of my day. Our Lord saw it fit for me to work and provided me with an opportunity to evangelize with another I may never have spoken with unless I arrived at work on Sunday evening. For this, I am so very thankful that our kind God who, despite my shortcomings, has continued to give me opportunities to speak the truth and a voice with which I may. Sunday evening showed me, once more, how wondrous the way of our Lord truly is, even by turning such a task as working on a significant day into an amazing opportunity to reach out to another with the Gospel. To He who saved me from the pit – us all from condemnation – all honor and praise forever and ever. Amen.