As I was reading Randy’s blog today, I noticed some great political debate. I didn’t agree with some of the ideologies and thoughts presented, but it was great to see some civil political debate. Like war, debate usually isn’t very civil. Which is probably why someone coined the phrase that many people like to quote- “There are two things I don’t discuss: politics and religion.”
I can remember one of the few times someone threw that line my way. I was working in the meat department of a Food Lion in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina the summer after my sophomore year of college. Milton, a big (literally he was huge) redneck (not used in a derogatory sense-this guy told me that gold fish are good bass bait, but “just don’t let the game warden catch you…”) used this line on me in between cutting and wrapping meat. He was a butcher, and I was the wrapper.
I said, OK, fine. I mean what could be more private than politics and religion? What could be more public is a better question! But I’m sure he’d experienced plenty of uncivil debate in his time on both issues. I honestly can’t remember the rest of the content of our conversations because I was a sophomore (literally a “wise fool”) in college.
I came back to Myrtle Beach the next summer after my mission trip to Mexico City. Wouldn’t you know it, some friends of mine who had worked with Milton that summer invited me to celebrate his birthday at Ryan’s Steakhouse (obviously someone’s getting a little loose with the language). He had become a Christian. Looking back, I guess it wasn’t a fruitless summer after all. I was just laying the foundation.
It often takes the witness of several people to lead someone to faith in Christ. Obviously, as Milton formed relationships with more than one Christian he could trust, “religion” got taken off the “the things I don’t talk about” list. If people trust you, and you give them time, and involve other Christians they can trust in their lives, religion will drop from this list faster than you would think.
Of course you have to be willing to lay the foundation, realizing that it may be someone else down the road who sees the fruit. If you’re lucky (providentially blessed), you may enjoy a “steak” dinner with them some time down the road like I did.