Athens, a port city, 1st century
Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.
So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.
Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.
And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.”
Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.
Cape Town, a port city, 2015.
I was in a Long street restaurant with colleagues, feeling a bit awkward because everyone was talking about their passions ... but it was mostly fun. Everyone had something; dealing with drink hangovers, getting to the beach, mountain hiking, sports, too much work, making money, being an advocate for trans-sexual rights, etc. I tried to offer a few of my passions too.
But then I was trapped when it awkwardly came out that I was a Christian. There was someone from another faith there who quickly condemned Christianity as stupid, and all the others agreed. I was really uncomfortable but fortunately politics came into the conversation and changed the topic ... thank goodness for Zuma!
Before that I was really struggling. Like with that one university professor, when he argued that there's no archaeological evidence for King David and so my bible is simply a collection of myths. And that Indian guy who said he also liked Jesus, but that Jesus was just a good man. He made a compelling case that all religions are simply an umbrella for something much more deeply spiritual. As for the guy who just married another guy, I had no answer for him.
I guess I can claim one "success". At least that yoga girl invited me to come and talk to her yoga club about my view on spirituality. She seemed genuinely interested. Thankfully our schedules conflicted so I managed to miss having to deal with that one.
But I'm feeling really intimidated now. These people must spend so much of their time reading the news or be deep thinkers ... I felt I never had anything new to contribute.
There has been a contribution for an alternate story line, please feel free to submit your own ideas
- I was at work in the centre of Cape Town in an open office when there was general agreement that all religions lead to the same God. “My truth may not be your truth” was the underlying philosophy. I was disturbed because I knew that Jesus said was the only way so I invited them to an Alpha Dinner which was to be addressed by a prominent sportsman. Some of them agreed to come to first night of the Alpha course. There was a lively discussion where they were allowed to express their ides without censure so they came to the next Alpha evening …