The other night I went off to the coffee shop to continue my reading, seems like that is almost all I do these days. So in comes a young couple, Kenny and Sarah. They began to chat with the barrista who sent them in my direction, figuring a theologian was better able to deal with their questions of heaven. So over they come and Kenny begins asking me if I'm born again. Like many evangelicals he was looking for certain phrases that would indicate I was actually what he considers a "real" Christian. I was happy to brush aside much of the probing and ask them some questions about themselves and what they were up to that night. Fortunately Kenny had heard about the Vineyard so they found me relatively safe.
So here is what is interesting, Kenny and Sarah are on their first date. I ended up praying for them and hopefully encouraging them. In fact what they were doing was pretty cool, going out trying to follow God's leading to share "the gospel" with folks. Unfortunately, Sarah didn't do much of the talking and Kenny had pretty simple notions of what this "gospel" was supposed to be. I think challenging them would have messed up something more interesting that was happening - they were living out their convictions and trying to bless people.
Now there probably was another side of this, see Kenny is courting Sarah so in evangelical culture sharing the gospel with strangers can be akin to slaying a dragon or bringing home the bacon. But it seemed like Sarah was the instigator. Earlier that evening she had made some brownies and they went to a random door with them and "the gospel". Turns out they were led to another Christian who they blessed with a bible and snackage. Nice. I imagine Sarah's brownies were pretty good as she was out to impress the new "man". But in the midst of this interesting courting ritual Sarah and Kenny were doing something pretty cool.
So here I am sitting with these really nice young people. I'm dodging the occasional probe to see if I'm really an evangelical Christian, the barristas' are cringing (they apologized to me later, unnecessary but also pretty nice) and I find out this is their first date. Nice. So I decide to encourage them and ask to pray. I think they will continue to have some really interesting encounters. I hope that they do it long enough to let their ideas of "the gospel" mature. I also hope they end up encouraging many people with their witnessing. Bless you Kenny and Sarah, thanks for witnessing to me.