Friday, September 14, 2007

A Great Conversation With an Extreme Liberal

“The Americans and the Jews are the terrorists! And look at this map. This shows all the Palestinian land that the Jews have stolen from them. It’s their land and the Jews are killing them with America’s help to take what is not rightfully theirs!”

This is a statement made to me by one of my customers this morning. Sharon (fictitious name) is a local activist that is about to marry an Iranian Muslim she has known for five months. As she threw around terms like Zionist rag (referring to The Jerusalem Post) and spoke of despising Zionist Jews and fundamentalist Christians I had to wonder if Sharon was going to remain my customer (though I distance myself from being lumped into the “fundamentalist Christian” camp).

I wanted to address the deception she was buying into, but wasn’t sure how to begin the conversation without enraging her passion any more that it already was. I was certain that if I didn’t pick my words wisely and wasn’t led by the Spirit that this customer relationship would end in a negative way, so I responded to most of her statements with an, “Oh really?” or an, “Are you sure about that?”

But then she said that she was a Quaker, and I knew what to do. I knew it was time to participate with gentleness, but without a fear of how this relationship might end.

“You’re a Quaker?” I responded. “I thought Quakers had a core belief in Jesus?”

“Oh yes, we do.”

I replied, “Well now I’m confused (not really, though). The things you’re claiming don’t line up with what the Bible teaches, and it seems to me that if you want to be on God’s side as a woman who believes in Jesus you should want what He wants. What if God gave the Jews the land of Israel, and what if it is actually the Arabs that are wrong in claiming that the land is theirs?”

“How is that possible. Look at this map,” she said.

“Have you heard of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael? Have you heard that Isaac became the Jewish nation while Ishmael became the Arab nations?”

“Yes.”

“What if that is where this all began? What if your map only shows the recent history of the land, and what if God originally told Abraham that his son Isaac, and not his son Ishmael was the genuine inheritor of the land of Israel?”

Stunned, she said, “Well, I don’t think God would have said such a thing. Maybe Abraham said it though.”

As she pointed to a poster board covered with liberal news articles she continued, “This is my life’s work, and what you’re saying goes against it.”

My reply? “Well, what you’re saying goes against my life’s work which is, in part, the understanding and study of what is in the Bible. There’s nothing wrong with us disagreeing, and I don’t want to lose all the money you would give me as a future customer,” I lightheartedly proclaimed, “But I have to point out the contradiction when you say you believe in the Jesus of the Bible but have devoted your life according to the opposite of His plan. I would be glad to show you the verses in the Bible that show what I am saying so that you can judge for yourself.”

“I’d love to see that. Can I have your e-mail?”

There was more to this conversation, but that was the meat of it. So I went back to work, and about a half hour later she came out onto her back porch to give me a brochure for an interfaith peace gathering and to conclude our conversation. Very seriously, she said, “I only have one question. According to the Bible are the Jews going to continually kill the Arabs and are the Arabs destined to be wanderers without their own land?”

I could see the shock in her face as I explained that it will actually be Islamic nations that are possibly aligned with other nations that will kill most of the Jews before it’s all over, and that in the end God will still give the land to the Jews.

“Wow,” I thought to myself as I could see the sadness in her eyes. Yet, I felt hope as it seemed as though she had a genuine desire to know what the Bibles said. It seemed like she believed that what the Bible said was true, and I had to wonder, and hope, that this would cause her to search the Scriptures for answers rather than to simply believe liberal agenda (and probably her Arabic fiancés’ agenda). Throughout this conversation I could also tell that she was very shocked by what was coming out of her Podunk window cleaner’s mouth!

Stay tuned for my reply to her concerning the history of the covenant made with Abraham, the land’s rightful owners, the rejection of Christ by the Jews, their dispersion and the final outcome of the land of Israel. This could get interesting.

6 comments:

H. L. Nigro said...

"My word will not return unto Me void, but will accomplish what I choose." Bless you for your boldness. I wonder if, in the end, it might stop her from a hasty marriage, too? Wouldn't that be ironic? It's amazing what God can do with the smallest of our efforts. Keep us posted!

Recovering said...

Wow. Killer story and great tact on your part. Imagine if evangelicals were willing to keep their mouths closed for just a second to discern the right way to approach a person like this the way you did? The world would be a different place.

Shane Vander Hart said...

Very good approach to point out the contradiction in a winsome manner. 1 Peter 3:15-16 says that we are to be ready to give an answer to the hope that we have with gentleness and respect. You seemed to do that. Hopefully this is just the beginning to many conversations you have with this woman.

Barbara (aka Layla) said...

Excellent response. I've never met someone like "Sharon" but if I ever do I am going to steal your words :)

Ditto what Recovering said (that's how I found you)

Anonymous said...

That's powerful, Dave.

-The Orange Mailman

Gone Fishin' said...

I hope we can have more conversations too, Shane. But I wonder how hard that might be if her Iranian/Muslim/professor husband is around!

And I've never met someone like her either Barbara! It was fairly surreal for a bit.

Dave