Friday, 7 June 2013

One of Those Difficult Questions

At a recent Alpha conference in Calgary, during an on-stage panel discussion, someone from the audience asked the question, "What is the most difficult question you've ever been asked, as an Alpha small-group leader, and how did you answer it?"

I was not on the panel, but wish I had been, because I thought of this example.

It was during one of my prison Alpha courses. A Native Canadian - would have been in his late'40's or early 50's I suppose - tall, distinguished, in a warrior sort of way that the prison system had not been able to beat out of him; long salt and pepper hair pulled back behind his ears and over the collar of his orange jumpsuit, said this:
When my father was a boy he was taken from his home, his village and his people, and sent to a white man's school. They tried to take away his language and his culture and turn him into a little white man. He never recovered from it, nor did my family. The people who did this represented your Jesus. What do you say about that?
I must admit I didn't give the standard Alpha small group leader answer, "That's interesting. What does anyone else think?"

Instead, I remembered a story told by, I believe, Ravi Zaccharias:
There was a small village. In that village was a well respected man, loved by all. This man had a very distinctive coat and a very recognizable hat. In fact, you could tell even from a distance when he was coming, because you could see his hat and coat. They would say, "Here comes Mr So-and-so; we can see his hat and coat."

One day a thief stole that coat and hat, put it on and robbed a corner store. Police were called in and all the witnesses said, "It was Mr So-and-so - we recognized his hat and coat." But, of course, it wasn't Mr So-and-so. It was just someone wearing his hat and coat.
Many things have been done in Jesus' name - some of them even well-intentioned. but don't blame Jesus for some of the pain. Sometimes it's just been someone wearing his hat and coat. 

I left it at that.

Take Care


1 comment:

Drastic Plastic said...

You're a better man than I. I'd have told him he could go live in a mud hut any time, so what was he whining about?

Difficult not to feel contempt for someone who whines about being lucky enough to live in a western country, merely in order to try and make others feel guilty in order to manipulate them. What a hypocrite.

It reminds me of when some US blacks went back to West Africa and whined about how badly the white man had treated their ancestors. Unfortunately they went to Ashanti to do it; and the Ashantis laughed at them. "We sold you to the white man," they jeered, "and you made us rich."

Not much question which of the two we respect.