So Wednesday is one of the days that I have class. Two classes, in fact; however, the first class ends at 11:30 and the second doesn't begin until 2:30, giving me three hours to eat, visit the headache-inducing library, and generally just sit around passing time. Usually I end up in Vari Hall sooner or later, on one of the two upper floors, where I sit on the floor along the wall or by the big floor-to-ceiling windows. (The windows, however, are prime sitting-spots and can be difficult to claim. Many battles have been won and lost over these small patches of linoleum.)
Yesterday I'd found myself a good patch of window linoleum and was plowing my way through Arctic Dreams
by Barry Lopez (the first five chapters are little attempting to wade through knee-deep snow, I swear), when two women approached me: one woman in her mid-thirties and a girl who was obviously a fellow undergrad.
"Hi," said the older woman. "We're from one of the clubs on campus. We're not bothering you, are we?"
I assured them that they were not. (I would have welcomed about anything that was not Arctic Dreams
at that point.)
"We're from the Campus Crusade for Christ," she continued, and explained how their club was a non-denominational group of students who had accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal savior. I noticed that she was wearing blue eyeliner that was the exact same colour as her sweater, and that she'd applied it only on her lower lids, in a thin line that ran right beneath her eyelashes. The eyeliner/sweater blue was a few shades brighter than her eyes, which were paler and more gray. Her companion was dark haired and smiled, but did not speak. Both were wearing jackets.
"Do you mind if we talk to you for a little?" she asked.
It's easy, I think, to have a "let's mock the crazy people!" attitude towards people who are attempting to speak to random strangers about God, religion and salvation. Easy to mock, or become offended. And, really, let's face it, some of these people are both crazy and offensive. I know it, and don't pretend otherwise. But most people are good, nice people, who would really just like to take a little bit of your time to sit down and talk about Christ. And while my reaction is usually, "Thanks, but no," yesterday I was curious. Yesterday I wondered what they'd say to me, given the opportunity, and so I welcomed the two to my little corner of floor by the window and listened.
What they did was ask me a lot of very broad questions. "What do you think sin is?" "What do you know of Jesus?" "Do you feel you have a relationship with God?" And the thing about me, with my no set religion, is that it can be difficult to answer these questions in 25 words or less, never mind while sitting by the windows on the second floor of Vari Hall, sipping the watery remains of a Coke bought from Wendy's. But, being me, I did my best, and attempted to be as honest and open as I could, and somehow slipped dark matter into the conversation. Because, really, what's a conversation about Jesus without at least one mention of dark matter?
(No mocking. Bad me.)
All in all, they ended up speaking to me for a bit over half an hour. There was a little confusion on their part, I think, with my explanation of my mildly Quaker upbringing and with the concept of a Quaker Meeting for Worship in general, but it wasn't a big stumbling point. There was at least one point where I wanted to question the implications of one of the things that they said, but instead asked for their opinions, and sat and listened. I realized that I really did want to know what they had to say, and not because I was considering a conversion (or is it a creation? Can you convert when you're not anything to begin with?) but because I simply wanted to know. I wanted to understand.
I now have in my possession a little booklet called "Would You Like to Know God Personally?" and all the contact information for the Campus Crusade for Christ, just in case. It was, in the end, a pretty interesting experience.