Monday, April 8, 2013

conversation shifters

In light of yesterday's sermon where I spoke about being an alien in a strange land (Christians in American culture) and about the need for us to continue to tell the truth even when the culture doesn't (we don't speak the language); I thought it would be appropriate for a few words as to how exactly we can do this (without being jerks in the name of Jesus). The thing I have found to be most effective is to try and shift the conversation to the heart of the matter with gentle yet piercing questions and comments. Satan is good at using every tool available to shift the conversation in such a way that gains consensus with a selfish culture. Remember he is the father of lies according to his deception is his personality. Here are some ways in which he has shifted conversation in our lifetimes. 1) Abortion - shifting the conversation from murdering a baby to women's rights. 2) Homosexuality - shifting the conversation from harmful behavior to a civil rights issue. 3) Prayer in Schools - shifting from a basic belief in God by most Americans to the rights of atheists. 4) Church leadership - shifting from men and women called to serve God to the scandals of SOME within religion. 5) Christianity in general - shifting from the faith of two billion people worldwide that crosses every race to a plot by the rich and powerful to remain that way. 6) Sexuality - shifting the conversation from right and wrong and the harmful results of sex out of context to it is a fun game to be played by all. 7) Life - shifting from being thankful and content with what I have to an insatiable desire to continually need more. I could go on...but I'll stop there. Jesus was the master at getting the conversation back to the heart of the matter. I'll give one example. In Mark 11:27 the Jewish leaders asked him where he got his authority clear the temple. Jesus knew their main concern was to keep their power and that Jesus was a threat to that. So Jesus shifted the conversation towards God and his heavenly asking a question: "John's baptism, was it from heaven or from men?" In one sentence, he pierced their heart, got them thinking and talking, and pretty much kept them quiet. Here are some conversation shifters that spoken in the right tone have been valuable in shifting words and talk to the spiritual heart of things. There are more, just a few examples from conversations I've actually had. 1) "There is no God" - "That is quite the faith statement, when did you come to believe that?" "Why do you believe God doesn't exist?" "What do you think about people who believe other things?" "What if you're wrong?" 2) "I was born gay" - "How do you know?" "At one point you say, you thought you were straight, but not now, what has changed?" "What do you think the limitations are for a gay couple in regards to family?" "Why do you think God calls homosexuality a sin?" 3) "when a woman's life is in jeopardy, an abortion is okay" - "Do you think that unborn baby is alive?" "What if you knew that baby was going to be the next great doctor, world leader, or inventor?" "Do you think humans have the ability to determine which lives are more valuable than others?" The point is that as Christians, we know the truth, but to simply say, "you're wrong" is a conversation ender. Maybe we aliens should see behind the cultures language to it's heart and shift the conversations there. Praying we all will.


NinjaPrincess said...

I love the idea of "shifting" the conversation. It's tempting for many of us to debate those who disagree with us. But in a debate, there's always a loser. Gentle questioning and conversations have a much better chance of success. Well said!

Anonymous said...

Spot on! Thanks for speaking the truth and not avoiding these topics like many churches do!!