Last night our base groups were supposed to discuss who Jesus is, but because we were running short on time we put the discussion off until today. This meant that I was able to have the conversation with the girl who asked me about how I see Jesus. In short I tried to explain to her how I saw Jesus as the one who has brought us back into a relationship with God, a relationship that is broken by sin. I talked about how the Isrealites made sacrifices in order to restore their "righteousness," and that Jesus was the final sacrifice for all time. She said that this was the first time that the concepts of "saved" and "washed in the blood" had made sense to her. She's still not at a place where she can say that Jesus is God or that he enables her to connect to God better. However, I believe that God is at work in her and she is continuing to seek Him.
In our base groups today we read statements such as "The Bible is very important to me" and "Jesus is the light of the world." Then we spread ourselves out on a line from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree" and explained why we were where we were. Everlyn (a lady from Kenya) and myself were the evangelicals in the group and the others ranged from being brought up in the Christian tradition, but not really sure that other religions aren't valid, to seeing Jesus only as a good teacher, perhaps on a slightly higher level than others such as Gahndi.
At one point I told the group that this has been an interesting week. On the one hand I want to be respectful of others and where they are on their spiritual journies. I know that God leads us in different ways and that not everyone will experience him as I do. However, I want to be honest and say that my view is that Christianity is what I see as having the most truth about who God is and that if people are truly seeking God they are going to come to a place where they see Jesus as much more than just a teacher or a prophet. And even though other religions have some truth, in my mind it may be because the best lies are based on truth. I was really encouraged when two of the people in my group said that a couple of days ago they might have been really threatened by my saying this, but they feel like God has brought them to a place where they can hear this and not be on the defensive.
There have been many other ways that I have felt God challenging me to be open about my beliefs and He has helped me to do it in ways that are loving. Yesterday, at the meeting house near Swarthmore Hall, I felt like he was asking me to share a message that was a bit contradictory with the message shared by an older member of the meeting. At first I was very uncomfortable with this, but now I'm seeing that it's important that we don't avoid the things that we disagree about; we must discuss them in order to allow God's Spirit to work to the fullest during this week.
Well we've just finished an international dance time (there was bellydancing, folk dancing, the hokey pokey, a Zulu dance, and New Zealand dance, and much, much more) and I'm feeling a bit tired so I will sign off in the hopes that I can get some sleep before speaking at the early programmed worship tomorrow at 7:30 A.M.