Politics, Strangers, and First Impressions

Sunday night at Keva Juice I met a lady who I misjudged. She looked old enough that she seemed out of place in a juice bar. She had a slow, gentle nature about her. She had a kind smile and tired eyes.

She came in near closing. She said she needed a pick-me-up since she was worn out. She had begun the day at 6:30 AM and had not stopped, she said.

“Mmm. 6:30 on a Sunday morning? She must be a Christian,” I thought to myself. “Who else would be up at 6:30 on a Sunday morning?” So, I casually said something to her about church. I was taught not to talk religion or politics to strangers so I was cautious.

Wow, did I strike a nerve! Instantly I found myself knee deep in a conversation about BOTH religion and politics. . . . Actually, “conversation” is not the right word. I did little more than shake my head and utter an occasional, “Uh uh.”

Turns out this kind, gentle, older woman with tired eyes was anything but. For a solid ten minutes she passionately explained her views of the potential crises that would soon engulf us if we elected the wrong political party.

She had strong opinions about drilling for oil, the environment, the stupidity of politicians from a certain party, and teaching evolution vs. creationism in school. Yes, she was a Christian. Yes, she had been to church that morning. But it was clear from her tone and the gamut of topics she covered that politics was her passion.

A few things have occurred to me since this experience.

  1. I wish all Christians had this much passion when it comes to sharing what we feel strongly about.
  2. BUT I hope we use more wisdom than this lady used. Though she was passionate about her beliefs and was eager to share them with me, she did little to “convert” me. Though I happen to agree with some of what she was saying she doesn’t know that. Never once did she ask my opinion or show any sign of caring for my beliefs. If I had strong differing beliefs from her’s I could have easily been insulted by what she said.
  3. Do we do this with the message of grace? Does our communication style turn it into a battle ground? Do we take the time to get to know those we come in contact with? Do we ask their opinions–and REALLY listen? Do we care more about getting our opinions heard than we do for the people with whom we are communicating? I know the gospel
  4. One opinion of this woman actually startled me. When discussing science vs. creationism in schools, this woman told me, “It’s not the job of schools to teach kids to think through this issue. Rather, it’s the school’s job to tell students what they should think.” Wow! Has it come to that? Have we become so fascist and dictatorial that people are no longer allowed to think for themselves but are instead told what to think?

I know most of us don’t communicate this way when we’re sharing the gospel, but I still can’t help wondering how we come across to the world?

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