Thursday, October 30, 2014

Enjoying the Blessings of Christ while Denying His Being: An Evangelistic Strategy

Zenaida is charming, gifted, creative, and accomplished. However, she had a tumor that had threatened all of this, even her life. However, through this horrible ordeal, she found faith “within herself,” showering upon her peace and love.

I asked her where it came from. A judo expert had claimed that the secret of his craft was to make use of the energy and directionality of the opponent. This is what I was trying to do. When Zenaida mentioned “peace and love,” I saw an opening that I could possibly exploit evangelistically.

  • Tell me more about your new found faith!
She readily complied:

  • It was something that exposed the ego and all of its strivings. It also revealed my self-serving ideals and the shallowness of all the things that had been important to me. It showed me that there was something greater.
Before probing deeper, I tried to affirm those areas of agreement:

  • We are so addicted to promoting our ego that we deny all of those things about ourselves that don’t promote us… But what do you think is the source of this love and peace that you encountered in the hospital?
We agreed about the need to suffer in order to hear the things of the Spirit. Although she agreed that the Spirit is intelligent and not of this world, Zenaida still insisted that it is part of who we are. It also was obvious that she wanted to limit its influence by denying this Spirit personhood and intention. Therefore, she claimed:

  • I don’t have to define it. That would be to put it into a box. There are certain areas in our lives where we shouldn’t impose our categories.
It seemed that she was enjoying the light while denying its possible influence. The Light represents a threat to our autonomy. We intuitively know that if there is a God, He can make claims upon our lives.

This reminded me of my cousin’s story. Years before, she had locked her keys in her car with the engine running. Desperately, she ran in circles around the parking lot until she saw a key lying on the ground. Against all evidence, she knew that this key would unlock her car, and it did! At that moment, she knew that God loved her, but then, inexplicably, she was overcome by fear.

After many years, she still couldn’t understand this fear. I gave her my theory:

  • You now knew that you are obligated to follow God, and this scared you to death.
She agreed! I thought that Zenaida was experiencing something similar. She wanted the blessings of God without the obligations. She protected herself against these moral obligations by refusing to probe more deeply into this strange Intelligence. So I asked her an invasive question:

  • If you were receiving a check for $10,000 each month from a secret benefactor, would you not feel any obligation to try to discover his identity, at least in order to express your gratefulness?
Zenaida protested against my analogy, once again insisting that there are areas where we shouldn’t use our mind. It had become clear that the idea of Jesus was distasteful to her.

I felt we had reached an impasse, and so graciously excused myself. The seed had been planted. God would have to provide the growth.

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