God Publicity

Last night we enjoyed a delectable Sri Lankan dinner with two friends. These gals like to practice their English so our evenings together are often in “Franglais.” It was so fun. The conversation always starts in English and every once in a while we come across a word someone doesn’t understand so we start scribbling words on the paper place mats so they can learn new vocabulary. Since it’s rammadon for the Muslims topics sometimes come up about religions or at least spirituality.

I got the bryani and I could barely eat any of it because I ordered one of those dishes with several courses. So I had a little appetizer and some cheesy-nans and by the time my main dish arrived I wasn’t very hungry any more. So I’ll eat my bryani for lunch today. But the girls were surprised that they boxed it up and sent it home with me. They don’t usually do that in France.

This time of year we meet a lot of new people. There is something about fall. Perhaps people have more free time, perhaps it’s simply because everyone wants to get in one last outing before winter settles in. I always count on meeting my friends’ friends at this time of year when you’re not quite sure if you’ll be stuck at home during a rain storm next week or catch the flu and not feel like going out for a month. This is the season we must “live it up,” “carpe diem,” “seize the day.”

So, in typical making acquaintances style, we get to do lots of God publicity. We often find ourselves talking about our work, what makes protestants different, what we stand for. And it all adds up to lots of good publicity for God in the lives of new friends who have perhaps never met someone with faith before in their lives. I am amazed and impressed time and time again as we converse with people how it seems they welcome talking about these spiritual subjects. Spiritual/Religious topics are supposed to be taboo in French culture as evidenced by frequent apologies, “Sorry to ask a personal question …” Despite the apologizing for putting you on the spot, they are really curious. And when they find out that we take the time to explain what we believe without getting offended or blushing, we can engage in delightful philosophical conversations about just about anything.

I love the fact that I can model a bright young person confident in her faith. I feel that I’m respected because I respect myself. And I hope that the world can learn that you don’t have to be a freak to be spiritual.

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