She is not senile. She is just evil.

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While Ubering I went to an address in the Oak Cliff part of Dallas.  I pulled up to the house and a man in his 30s got into the car.  Immediately I could tell the guy was three sheets to the wind.  The smell of cheap whisky and Coors filled the car.  “Are we waiting for anyone else?” I asked.  “Granny!  You’re gauwnna love her mate!”  We waited.  And waited.  After a few minutes I asked if she was coming.  “Oh, yes.  She just moves a little slow.”

After a few more minutes, Granny made her appearance with her daughter (mid to late 30s).  She opened the door for her mother and immediately Granny yelled at the daughter “I’m not riding in some damned Jap job.  I want a real car.”  The daughter replied “Get in the car Momma.”  I asked if there was a problem and the daughter informed me that she hated Japanese cars.  I smiled and replied that the car was made in California and was more American than the Fords that are assembled in Mexico.  I thought a little humor and information might defuse the bomb.  Granny got in the car.

With the press of a button, off we went.  Immediately Granny informed me that we were going the wrong direction.  Looking at the GPS I asked where we were heading.  “Greenville Ave” said the daughter.  At that point, Granny began to speak in a very belligerent manner to the daughter informing her that Arlington was closer.  I replied that Arlington was about 30 minutes away, but Greenville Ave. was only about 15.  “What the hell do you know?”  “Not much, but that is what the GPS says.” was my reply.

We traveled on.  From the back of the car the son-in-law asked “Why is gas so cheap here?”  I perked up and said “It is because of the free market.  Supply is up, demand is down, and prices are low.”  Granny went ballistic!  “Oh no!  You sound just like one of those G-D, M-F, S-O-B, Faggot Trump supporters.”  (she did not use the initials.)  Shocked at the foul language that same out from between Granny’s dentures, I replied “Whether I am or not, that is the reason gas prices are down.  The free market help everyone!”  “That is a G-D lie and your are just a (I can’t type the word, but it refers to, well, you know.)  At that point the daughter spoke up and told her mom to “shut up before the nice man puts us out on the road.”  I laughed as best as I could and said “She’s just a bundle of sunshine isn’t she!”  The son-in-law laughed from the back seat and said “I told ya!”

“You Trumpers are the most pathetic a-holes I have ever met.  You make me want to puke.  I should do just that.  I should stick my fingers down my throat and puke all over your Jap-job of a car.”  I replied that is she did, I could then charger her $250 clean up.  Again, the free market at work.  Then she called me that combination of words that I can’t type.

We drove on.  The daughter tried to engage in polite conversation.  Granny interrupted “When we go out to eat, you better not disrespect your father!  I won’t have it.”  The daughter just begged Granny to behave and not make a scene.  Knowing that her husband is out of the picture, probably dead, I began to picture him hanging himself.  Being married to Granny, who could blame him.  I asked if they were planning a big Thanksgiving.  The son-in-law said they were going to eat and watch football.  I replied that the Cowboys were on a winning streak (2 in a row).  Granny chimed in:  “The Cowboys are the best team ever and that Jason Garrett is the best coach there ever was.”  I laughed and said, “Well, not everyone agrees.”  Granny then said “Why don’t you just go…” at which point she invited me to perform a sex act on myself that I am quite certain is anatomically impossible if not illegal in the state of Texas.  I laughed harder, shocked at the implication.  The daughter grabbed Granny’s seat belt from behind and ordered her mom to shut up before they are all were tossed to the street.  I replied that I always get my passengers to their destination, no matter what.

At some point as we were nearing the exit Granny pitched a fit and told me that I did not know how to drive and that I was going the wrong way.  I replied that I know where everyone is going (sooner or later) and I know the way to get there.  Granny then called me the “N” word!  “Your just a (again, I can’t type the words) “N……..”  Even more shocked I replied “Lady, I don’t appreciate that type of language in my car, and if you have not noticed, I am white.  It may be white trash, but I am white!”  At which point Granny called me a “faggot n……. who would not know a map from a hole in the ground.”  The daughter grabbed the seat belt again and tugged on it to restrain Granny.  The son-in-law said “I need another drink.”  At this point, I felt really sorry for the daughter and her husband.  Not only were they going to have to dine with this battle-ax but they were then going to have to go home with her.  I smiled at what might happen if the waiter was black.  The daughter yelled at her mom.  Granny yelled back at her daughter, filled with foul language.  The son-in-law looked like he was going to freak out.

At this point, I had enough of Granny.  I pulled over to the nearest parking lot and explained that I had only evicted one other person from my car, but I was going to now.  The daughter said “I understand!”  The son-in-law said that we got farther than he thought we would.”  Granny just called me a fag and wanted my name so she could report me to the Uber police.  They all got out.  I circled back around as I pulled out to the street.  The daughter was nervously putting a cigarette into her mouth and trying desperately to light it.  Granny was walking away waving her arms in a menacing way.

Observations:

  1.  Granny is not senile.  She is just evil.  While the DSM may label her as antisocial, or having a borderline personality disorder (learned behaviors), she is all that plus she is evil.
  2. You can only tolerate evil for so long before you do something.  I never got mad. I was more surprised than offended that the old bat would act in such a manner.  I could have delivered her to the destination, but I chose to put them out of the car before I got angry.  The rest of the family were just collateral damage.  Justice needed to come before wrath.
  3. Was she demonic?  Perhaps there was some demonic influence, but no, her behavior was a personal and deliberate choice.  It is a work of the flesh, not a mental illness or disorder.
  4. Is she beyond redemption?  No.  God’s love extends to us all, even Granny.  She may be in mortal peril, but even she can be redeemed.
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Trapped in Addiction

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Her name was Patera.  I got the Uber call for a pick up about 9 AM the other day.  It was a gated community and I had to provide an address for the pick up to the security guard.  I drove around the labyrinth of streets until I found the correct address.  Patera was waiting outside for me on a cool, crisp morning.

Patera was 20 years old.  She was attractive and wearing a very short night club style mini skirt.  She wore boots and a light jacket.  Her long brown hair looked like it needed a good combing.  She was eating breakfast which consisted of a bag of potato chips.  As she walked toward my car I could tell that this was going to be another “Walk of Shame” pickup.  While she was very young and attractive, her present condition conveyed the looks of a girl who had aged beyond her years.  Her left leg was almost completely filled with tattoos as were her wrist and arms, and chest.  She had a nose ring and a layer of make up that did not befit her natural good looks.

She got into the car crunching on the chips.  We exchanged greetings and the immediately asked if I wanted a chip.  I politely declined as I told her I did not want it to destroy my girlish figure.  She laughed.  As we waited for the GPS to tell us where we were going I asked if she had lived in the area very long.  “No, I don’t live here.  I was just visiting a friend and he had to go to work early this morning.”  Then she called him an expletive.   “Sounds like it did not go well.” was my reply.  At that I called out the address to confirm our destination.  She replied it was and off we went.  I recognized the street and knew that we were going to one of the worst neighborhoods in Dallas.

As we drove along, Patera was quite talkative.  She grew up in Arkansas and moved to Dallas for high school.  She told me that the address that we were going to was her aunt’s house.  He mom had kicked her out of the house and she was staying with the aunt.  I could tell by her looks that life had been hard for her.  I inquired about her tattoos, some of which looked like they were done in prison.  I found out that they were not from prison; just a very cheap tattoo artist.

People will tell an Uber driver things that they would only tell a priest or a counselor.  During our 40 minute drive she began to open up about her life.  She endured years of physical and sexual abuse beginning at an early age.  He step-father spent time in jail for molesting her, and mom always blamed her for the break up of their marriage.  She had been in an out of drug rehab three times.  She said that until recently, she had been clean and sober.

“What is your trigger?” I asked.  She immediately looked up and in recognition that I knew what she was talking about she replied “Going to clubs.  Every time I go into a club I know what is going to happen.  Last night was no different.  She met some guy at a club and ended up going home with him with the promise of a night of sex and drugs.  “What is your drug of choice?”  “Heroin.” was her reply.  I love the way it does not make me feel.  Some people use drugs to feel good.  I use them so I do not feel anything.  “Max” had promised her heroin last night but failed to deliver.  Pot was the only drug that he had.  He used her and cast her off in the morning.

I could tell from the way that she was acting that she needed a fix.  I asked her if she wanted me to help her find a meeting to go to, but she declined.  “Just take me home.”

During the course of our conversation, I found out that she did know Christ as her Savior, a decision that she made in rehab.  She admitted that while she knew that God loved her and Jesus had forgiven her, it did not take away the cravings for drugs.  I listened as she poured out her heart and story of her struggle with heroin.  I drove; she talked.

As we pulled into the neighborhood of her aunt, the address did not match.  She told me to drive down the street to find the house.  I drove, but the house was not there.  I asked if there was another place that I could take her.  “No, just let me out in front of that house on the corner.”  I did.  It was more of a shack than a house.  She got out and I began to drive away.  Out of the mirror I saw her leave the property and walk to the vacant field a few hundred feet away.  It was a field that had several “Walking Dead” types roaming around the property.  It looked like a place to score just about any kind of drug on the market.  I drove away with a prayer of protection for Patera and for me as I left the neighborhood.

Observations and Reflections:

  1.  Addiction is a powerful foe.  Whether the “drug” of choice is pot, heroin, alcohol, pornography, or abusive relationships, the end result is one of misery and unhappiness.
  2. Being a Christian does not automatically deliver you from temptation.  The Bible tells us to be careful to not become ensnared in our former life once Christ has set us free.  It is, for most, a daily battle.
  3. Know your trigger.  When you know what will cause you to stumble, stay clear!  Psalm 1 tells us to not walk in the council of the ungodly!
  4. Even though people have been set free, the urge of return to a previous life or habit,  is a natural choice.  Even when we know better, we are move comfortable with that which we are familiar rather than that which is beneficial.  Proverbs tells us about the dog returning to its own vomit.  While that is a revolting image, it is quite accurate when it comes to how easily we can fall back into sin once we are delivered.
  5. Jesus delivers us from the penalty of sin.  The Holy Spirit stands ready to deliver us from the overwhelming power of sin.  God the Father will one day deliver us from the very presence of sin.  Until then, we do battle with the sins of the flesh.
  6. Paul asked the questions:  Who can deliver such a wrecked man?  Thanks be to God who has given us victory through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Dignity, Self-Worth, and Sin

Dignity, Self-worth, and Sin

Her name was Lilith. She was tall, blonde, and quite stunning in her appearance. She had a winning smile and an effervescent personality. She looked and acted like a fun person to hang out with. She got into my Uber, smiled, and quickly engaged me in polite conversation. It was about a 40 minute ride to our destination and she was a very easy person to get to know. She was highly educated (MA in Medical Technology); just moved to the Dallas area in the past couple of months; single and looking; and it happened to be her 34th birthday! “Well happy birthday!” was my reply. She said that her original plan was to stay home, drink a beer, watch Netflix, and sulk, but that her friend (Kyle) insisted that they go out and celebrate. “So this Kyle guy sounds special.” was my reply. She let me know that he was a good friend, but also “a flaming queen” who felt very comfortable around women. We drove on.

I asked if there was anyone special in her life, a boy friend, “Mr. Right,” or even “Mr. He-Might-Do.” “No!” was her reply. She told me that she had some great “hook ups” with some dating sites, but nothing significant or that really mattered. I assured her that she would find someone. “I think I am going to celebrate my birthday tonight; drink until I am wasted, and wake up with a total stranger tomorrow morning. I just hope that he is not a total creep.” I replied that sounded like a lofty ambition, but I really thought that she could do so much better. This led us into a protracted conversation about how our plans seldom turn out the way we expect them. She nodded her head in hearty agreement. She asked about how I met my wife and my family. She told me the story and she said she was envious. Those words sounded funny to me. She was envious of me, an overweight, middled-aged (I am middle-aged as long as I live to be 118), underemployed Uber driver.

Driving, we talked further about her relationships. I informed her about “men” in general and I also talked to her about which pond to fish in if your are going to catch the best fish. After all, you don’t catch fish in a mud puddle and you will probably not catch a man who will honor you and guard your heart in the place you are headed tonight. As we talked, I informed her (maybe for the first time) that she was a person of infinite dignity and worth and that each man she sleeps with steals a little bit of dignity and self-esteem. I asked her “When you wake up with some guy you hardly know, does your self-esteem rise or fall?” “You know, I should feel better about myself, but I end up feeling lousy.” “I know.” was my reply. “That’s because you are living beneath your dignity.” The words just hung in the air. “So where did you meet your wife?” she asked. “Church.” was my reply. “Now that is one fishing hole that I have never been.” she said.
As our drive continued, she listened as I explained to her about someone who loved her more than she could ever imagine. I told her about the necessity of having not only shared values with your mate, but also the essential nature of being with someone who would seek to make you a better person. I also told her of my faith in Jesus and how that ultimately, His plan for me was what mattered most. As we pulled up to the bar I could see that she was gently crying. Lilith said that she had never thought of these things before. She asked if she could give me a hug (an Uber first), so she did. She hugged me, kissed me on the cheek, and asked me to remember her in my prayers. I told her that worth, dignity, and esteem are all that Christ is about in our lives, but the devil seeks to rob us of even that.

Driving away, I thought of my own teenage daughter. She will soon face many of the challenges that Lilith is facing today. I pray that I have been the father figure in life necessary to give her the tools necessary to survive in the sea of lost humanity.Di

Tolerance on Display

Ubering today I picked up a woman from Boston. We exchanged chit chat and pleasantries. I told her how much I enjoyed my time in Boston and asked if she liked Dallas.

She: I do but we have just about everything there as you do here.

Me: I know something that we have you do not.

She: What?

Me: I could tell you but it will make you angry.

She: I won’t get mad. What do you have here that we don’t have?

Me: we have Trump voters here.

She: oh god. I hate you people!

Me: I know right?

She: I mean I hate you lousy Mxxxxxx fxxxx and I hate every last one of you! With every breath I have!

Me: I told you that it would make you mad. And you are supposed to be tolerant!

She: not of you awful people. How about you just pull over and let me out now!

Me: but we still have several blocks to go.

She: I don’t care! Let me out!

So I pulled over and let this most tolerant and enlightened, sophisticate liberal from Boston. There was no tip.Toler

The Tipping Point

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Tipping has become a lost art. There!  I said it.  After spending about a year Ubering, I can tell you that the vast majority of people do NOT tip, even though the app allows for it. Many will say “I will add the tip to the bill.” but they seldom (almost never) do.  I am unsure why this is.  I try my best to give a smooth and accurate ride and at times, solid entertainment.  Still, no tip!

I always tip. It is the right thing to do for those in the service industry.  I tip at restaurants valet parking, and various places where it is expected. I usually give 20% and double tip on Sundays. This is not to say that I am overly generous; it is just what I do.  I do not mean to brag.

Speaking of valet parking, I once parked in a hospital with “complimentary” valet parking. I had recently lost 10 pounds. He never mentioned it. No compliment there, but I digress.

I Ubered all day today. No tips! Zero! Zip!  Nada!  I ferried people all over the metroplex and the only person who even offered was a little old lady. I dropped off “Granny” at the doctor’s office and she offered me a butterscotch candy. Normally I love those, but it was not wrapped and it came from the bottom of her purse. It also had cat hair on it. Long and short of it, Granny don’t tip!

By far the worst tippers are preachers; specifically Baptist preachers. I Ubered the week of the Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas this summer.  I Ubered and Lyfted these prophets (profits??) for the better part of a week, in and out of traffic, but the most that I got from them was a gospel tract.  I never told them that I was also of the tribe, but that is for another time.   Best tippers: Strippers and always with cash, usually with $1 bills.  I am unsure why this is so, but it is.

So here is a tip for you: Tip! Even if it is nothing but change (shrapnel). It may not be required, but it is a nice thing to do.  There are times that I use tip money (when I have it) to purchase that much needed soft drink and snack when I am driving.  McDonalds has a deal for a soft drink and a cheeseburger.  The total cost is $2.15.  Where I come from, that is both a meal and a deal.

You’re Fired!

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Trump you're firedIt happened again this week.  This time, to a friend who had served faithfully at his church for 17 years.  He was “let go” from his place of ministry.  His crime?  Heresy?  No. Immorality?  No.  Open rebelliousness and sin?  No.  His crime was that he just did not fit in.  The senior pastor probably did his best to let him down easy, but the end result was that the place where he had served God and His people faithfully for 17 years dismissed him.  Seventeen years of prayers, worship, giving, ministering to the hurting and the grieving.  Seventeen years of leadership and stewardship.  Seventeen years of rearing a family and watching them grow up and serve the Lord.  He had to go.  You see, he just did not fit in!

I wish that the evangelical church would hear me on this matter.  I have been dismissed from a church and I once had to leave a church due to the failings of a senior pastor under whom I served.  I know what it is like.  It hurts.  It causes you to doubt your faith.  It brings up a well spring of negative emotions each and every time you think about it.  It makes you doubt God’s provision for you as you face the prospect of unemployment.  It is a grieving process as real as any death; except this type of death is more akin to manslaughter without a visit to the undertaker.

If I could speak one word to the evangelical church on this matter it would be “Repent!”  Repent of replacing the will of the Lord with another man’s desire for you to “fit in!”  Repent of the harm you do to the cause of Christ when you commit an offense that in the secular world would get you sued!  Repent of the evil of judging another man’s gifts and callings over your ambition to see your will imposed on the body of Christ!

The modern day ethic of the evangelical church should rise to at least the level of the local secular employment.  I have had churches cut short an interview when they discovered that I am 58 years old.  Age discrimination in the workplace will get you sued!  Yet, such things are routinely done in the church.  I am not talking about someone hanging on past retirement age but rather men and women who can be in the most productive years of their lives who are let go because the church wants someone younger and less experienced.  Repent!

My friend got a six month severance from the church which will provide for a while.  However the emotional, psychological, and spiritual agony will far outlast the money.  He will pick up and move on; battered, bruised, and with a hurting heart and family.  He will try to make the best of a bad situation, but the end result is that a productive and gifted man was sacrificed on the ego of another person’s vision of God’s will.  Repent!

I have known many people dismissed from ministry.  I have known some fighting addiction and surrounding to its temptations.  I have known some who departed from essential elements of the Christian faith.  I have known some who committed crimes and were incarcerated.  Yes, these are all valid reasons for dismissal.  Not fitting in?  Not even close! Repent church of the Living God!

Jehovah’s Great Kingdom

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The notice came to pick up my next Uber rider at the local Hilton.  I pulled into the circular drive and two young guys got in the car.  The destination was about an hour away in Ft. Worth.  I pressed start, and off we went.  Just as we got underway, one of the men said “I am sorry and don’t mean to be rude, but I have to make a call.”  At that he dialed someone and began to speak.  I did not mean to listen in, but I have excellent hearing and it seemed to be an intense conversation.  He and the fella on the other end spoke about how to put together a sermon.  I listened as the guy in the car was helping the person on the other end, obviously a novice, on how to put together a Sunday morning message.  After a few minutes, it was apparent that the guy in my car was a pastor who was away from his church and he had a substitute lined up.  He gave a lot of good advice and I admired the fact that he was mentoring someone else, and doing a good job.

After about 20 minutes on the phone, the conversation ended.  The two in the back seat talked about the conversation and the need for prayer over this whole situation before both of them became fixated on their iPhones.  A few minutes went by in relative silence. I felt that maybe one of them would at least inquire about my faith, but both were content to gaze at their phones.   I was about to reach for the radio before I had another idea.  Now I have a wicked sense of humor and I can be somewhat sadistic.  Putting the two together often means a practical joke is on the way.  Looking at both of them in the rear view mirror I said “I see you guys are pretty religious.”  They looked up from their phones, and one of them said “Yes, we are both pastors.” and then went back to their phones.  I replied “Yes, I think it is good to be religious.”  Then there were long minutes of still more silence.  Neither of the pastors would engage.

After a few more minutes waiting for them to ask me about Christ (they were both Southern Baptist pastors), I finally asked them “Have either of you fellas ever considered joining Jehovah’s great and mighty kingdom?”  They both looked puzzled.  I then said “I have some material here from my church called The Watchtower that I could give you.  It would show you a more excellent way.  There was a moment of silence when one of them said “We are Baptists.  I think we are OK.  My reply was “Well that is nice, but if you really want to know about the “one and only true church, I would be happy to share.”  Then I told them how their Bible was corrupted and that Jesus was not really God, but was instead the very first thing that Jehovah created.

It was on!  I told them about Jesus from the viewpoint of the Jehovah’s Witness.  They brought up several scriptures, but really could not defend their answers.  Now I am not going to say that I almost converted them to being a JW, but I was really surprised that neither of them had ever heard of “Sharp’s Rule” regarding the anarthrous use of a predicate nominative, such as you have in John 1:1.  They could not counter my argument regarding the life being in the blood and why receiving a blood transplant was bad.  They were mute on the celebration of holidays and saluting the flag.  It was only when we got to talking about Jesus being the first born of all creation that they began to suspect something.

I sprung the trap and told them that I was a seminary instructor and that I had taught Greek and New Testament as well as other courses over the years.  One sort of looked relieved and a little surprised.  The other seemed a little angry over my prank.  “Well if you are such a scholar, what are you doing driving an Uber?”  “Kicking your theological butt!” was my reply.  I do not know if they learned anything from the conversation, but here is what I learned:

  1.  Know your theology!  Don’t get bested by a JW!
  2. Take advantage to share your faith whenever you can.
  3. Never look down on a brother just because he is an Uber driver.  You may be one someday.
  4. Always tip!  It is a good witness.  I did not get a tip from them that day.

Chasing the Truth

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The message came to pick up “Charles” who was about 4 minutes away.  I arrived promptly and instead of Charles, I was picking up a young woman.  She informed me that Charles had called the Uber for her.  The destination came up which was about 45 minutes away.  A good long ride with a good payout.

I did not catch her name.  She looked to be about 20 years old and looked like she had just got out of bed.  She was very attractive.  I had Christian music on the radio and she seemed to recognize the song.  I learned that she had grown up in church and her mother was a preacher but she had walked away from all that “nonsense.”  As we started down the road she told me: “I am a stripper and sometimes I go home with some guys from the club.  That is how I ended up all the way out here.”  My only reply was “I understand.”  Just as we were making the turn to get onto the interstate her phone rang.  It was Charles.  He wanted her back for more.  She politely informed him that it would cost another $1,000 plus the fee for her other clients whom she would miss out on.  He agreed to pay the price and sent an updated destination address to my phone.  I turned around and took her back to the address where Charles was waiting on her.

Later that day I picked up a student at one of the local universities.  She was absolutely stunning and beautiful.  She got in the car and the ride was less than 10 minutes in duration.  Since so many of the university students are foreign, I asked where she was from.  She replied that she was from Bangladesh but grew up here in Texas.  Then she asked me if I recognized her.  I replied that I did not and she told me that she was in the Miss America pageant representing another state.  I replied that I could see how that was possible and asked her how long she had been doing pageants.  “Since high school.” was her reply.  I then asked that since she lived in Texas, how did she represent another state.  She gave me a convoluted answer about scoring procedures and I pretended that I understood.  As we neared the destination, I asked “So if you were born in Bangladesh, I assume your parents were Muslim?”  She replied that yes, she had been raised Muslim, but now she was just religious and seeking truth in all religions.  I told her that Jesus said He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Her reply was that all religions were really true at their very core.

At this point I told her that could not possibly be true.  Jesus said that no one comes to the  Father but through Him.  The Koran said that there is only 1 true god and the Mohammed is his messenger.  They are mutually exclusive.  She looked confused.  Then said that she might become a Hindu or a Buddhist.  I told her that Buddhist do not believe in one true God and that Hindus believed in millions of deities.  Looking even more confused, she said that if there was truth out there, she would not stop until she found it.  We pulled up to her home and I closed our conversation with a prayer that she find that Jesus is the Truth.

These two ladies represent much of our modern culture.  The first had grown up in church and was running from Truth and embracing a lie that happiness is found in sex and material gain.  The second, had grown up with no Truth, but was seeking it; but looking in the wrong place.  Whether you fall off a ten story building or a twenty story building, the end result is the same.  Our modern culture is a mixture of some truth and a whole lot of error.  Sadly, even those in the church fail to recognize either.  The Gospel-lite, Social Justice Warrior and Health and Wealth heresies have replace the “Old Time Religion” with existential narcissism.   The religions of the world embrace error and sometimes display their version of truth.  The only thing that they have in common is a rejection of the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Sowing the Seed

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The sower went out to do his job. Some seed fell on fallow ground and some fell on hard ground. It was not up to the sower to determine what grows and what does not.  It is merely his duty to do his job.  I sort of felt this way this past week Ubering. I did not have the opportunity to share my faith until Friday. I was up in Prosper and got notice to go and pick up Mohammed Ali. The address was close and when I pulled up into the parking lot, it was the local Mosque. It was filled with hundreds and hundreds of people there for Friday prayers.

I quickly found Mohammed and off we went for about a 12 minute ride. We exchanged greetings and I asked where he was from. He was from northern India and was visiting his family in the US. We talked about the service and I began to think of how I would share the gospel with him. I decided that the best approach was the direct one.

I asked if he had been a Muslim his entire life. He said “Yes.” I replied that I had a profound spiritual awakening when I was 16 when I met Jesus, the Savior of the world and the eternal God. He replied that his religion teaches reverence and respect for ‘Isa.” I told him that Jesus (or Isa) saved me from my sins and that He offers forgiveness to all who would call upon Him. Mohammed told me that the prophet Mohammed was also sinless but you can only get to heaven by being more good than bad.

I shared with him that God requires perfection and the only perfect One was Jesus and that through Him, we can have eternal life and the forgiveness of sins. I could tell that my rider was getting a little uncomfortable. We pulled up to his daughter’s home and I closed the conversation with “I really hope that you come to know the One True God and the forgiveness that is offered through Christ. There was little time for any further engagement or discussion. I hope and pray that He come to know that Jesus is the One True Eternal God.

I would love to say that he converted on the spot, but that would not be true.  It is up to me to sow God’s word.  Only God can soften the hearts of those who hear.

Disney Tunes and God

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I picked up a guy from the airport the other day Ubering. I helped him with his suitcase and we both got in the car, punched in the destination and away we went.  We exchanged pleasantries but I could tell that he was more engrossed in his phone rather than carrying on a conversation, so I drove listening to the radio at a pretty low volume.

We drove along for a few minututes with the radio playing softly in the background. I usually keep it tuned to XM 63 Christian radio. The volume was set at 7 and just barely loud enough for me to hear it as I have excellent hearing.  After a few minutes he spoke up and said “Turn that crap off. I don’t want to listen to that.  I am an atheist. “ I lowered the volume down to zero.

Since he started the conversation, I felt obliged to continue it.  “Wow!  How long have you been an atheist?”  He replied that he had been an atheist since college.  He told me about attending college in a large Baptist university in Texas and how he was constantly bombarded with all that “God s&^%” and after taking a biology class, he came to the conclusion that God does not exist.  He turned to the rational life and now he governs his life purely on science and reason.

As we discussed further what it means to govern yourself by reason, I asked if it was reasonable to believe that everything that is in the universe could have come into being by itself.  He told me that reason explains that the universe itself exists without a cause.  To him, this sounded reasonable.  He said it was easier to explain the universe rather than the unreasonable superstition that Christians believe.  He called our gospel “Fairy Tales that come from a Sky King.”

As we neared the drop off point, I could really sense the anger and the hostility inside him.  Obviously, he had been deeply hurt by “religion” at some point in his life and his best coping mechanism was to deny God.  As we pulled into the airport I realized that my time with him was quickly drawing to a close.  I told him that I understood where he was coming from, but I just could not quite understand how if he governed his life based upon reason, why he was so upset because I was listening to music that he deemed “Fairy Tale.”  I told him that I did not believe in Cinderella, but when my daughter watched the Disney channel, I did not get angry.  As a matter of fact, I rather enjoy some of the Disney toons.  We came to a stop; he got out of the car; retrieved his bags from the trunk; and I drove away.  No tip this ride!

Observations:

  1.  People often lash out indiscriminately.  This does not mean we are to blame, but we can often make a bad situation worse.
  2. Belief is as much of the heart (emotions) as it is of the intellect.  He had been hurt at some point in his life.  The key to reaching him is to help him acknowledge the hurt and deal with the source rather than the symptom.
  3. God is faithful and true.  One day, every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.  I just hope that for him and those like him, it comes sooner rather than later.