Religious Conversations in Taco Bell

  A few weeks after the mosque adventure Hannah and I take K and A to church. We pray on the way to pick them up that their hearts will be open to what they will hear. I’m mainly just hoping they won’t be too weirded out. But I’m glad they trust us enough to try it out. We stepped into their world when we went to the mosque, now they are experiencing more of ours. 

During the service I am distinctly aware of everything. Is it weird how we sing and recite scripture? Are they lost by the big, christiany words in the sermon? A seems to be listening acutely the whole time. I think I catch K dozing off a few times. But after the sermon, he turns to me and says “what means redeemer?” I find myself having a hard time explaining, but not wanting to pass up this opportunity to share the gospel, I tell them I will explain the big words over lunch. 

At Taco Bell we talk about how they both went to Malaysia. K says, “I was there as a student, but A was there as a, how you say it… terrorist?” A cracks up while protesting “No no no!” I correct K in between laughter, “tourist.” 

Then we talk about the sermon. I ask them if they know what the pastor meant by “the gospel” and they shake their heads. I draw out a quick diagram for them on a napkin: a stick figure standing on one cliff, the word “God” on the other, with an uncrossable gap in between. Maybe trite and childish, but an effective visual nonetheless. I explain that mankind is so bad that we are infinitely separated from God, and nothing we can ever do will bridge the gap. 

“Then how do you get there?” says K, pointing from the human’s side of the gorge to God’s side. “Well,” I reply “that’s where Jesus comes in.” I draw a cross bridging the gap with “jesus” written on the cross beam. I tell them how we believe that Jesus was not just a prophet, but the son of God, and he came down and lived a perfect life for us so that we can get to God. If we trust in Jesus and surrender our life to him, when God looks at us, he sees the perfect life Jesus lived for us instead of seeing our sin. There’s nothing we can do to deserve this, it’s completely given by grace.

They nod , but I’m not sure if I explained it very well. I think they somewhat get the idea, but they still don’t seem to see how Islam and Christianity are that different. They want to know what we think about judgement day and heaven, and we spend some time on the topic before going back to lighter things like what their parent’s do and how many siblings they have.