How to talk about what I enjoy reading with unbelievers

(Melissa Soo) #1


My general manager takes alot of interest in what I do and think about. For eg, I was reading the RZIM connect forum over lunch today and he wanted to know what I was reading and what it was about. Suddenly, I found myself at a loss for words as I didn’t have the right words to explain what RZIM is all about without coming across as someone who is ‘religious’ I guess. He is a self-professed Catholic who has stopped going to mass but still practises the Catholic events and celebrations. Although he would consider himself religious but he doesn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus.

My question is, I would like to know how can I explain what I’m reading on RZIM connect and what RZIM is? I know this seems so trivial but a part of me is concern that he would open a myriad of questions that I may not feel equipped to answer.

I would also say that I feel shy in talking to people about the Christian faith or beliefs for fear they would raise a topic where I may be ignorant in.

However, I do want to be confident in this area and would appreciate your thoughts! Thank you :grinning:

(SeanO) #2

@Melsoo I personally think it’s so important to remember that our confidence is not in having all the answers, but in the God who goes before us. If you pray for your manager, try to explain what RZIM is the best you can and if he asks a question you don’t know the answer to just say ‘I don’t know, but I can find out’ that is all any of us can do. I remember a story where Ravi was in an airport and asked a lady a question. The lady followed him, tapped him on the shoulder and said, ‘You’re Ravi Zacharias?’ He said, ‘Yes’. She said, ‘I just wanted to say I did not realize that you had questions too’.

No one knows all of the answers. We just do our best to grow in knowledge of God and trust Christ with each of our conversations, graciously saying ‘I don’t know, but I can get back to you’ if we don’t know. And if we still don’t know after studying (or no one knows) that is okay. Being an apologist is not necessarily about having all of the answers, but about pointing people to Christ, who is the answer - the Way, the Truth and the Life.

@CarsonWeitnauer might have some good thoughts on how to describe what Connect is to your manager. I might say something like, “RZIM is a group of Jesus followers who believe that Christianity offers meaningful answers to life’s hardest questions. Connect, the online forum, is a place where we discuss those questions together as a community.”

May Christ grant you courage and wisdom and open your manager’s eyes to the glory of Christ in the Gospel :slight_smile:

(Carson Weitnauer) #3

Hi @Melsoo,

Thank you for this great question. I think you’ve identified one of the reasons we started RZIM Connect! I think many, many Christians “feel shy in talking to people about the Christian faith or beliefs for fear they would raise a topic where I may be ignorant in.”

The great thing about Connect is, whenever someone pushes you beyond your comfort zone, you can pause the conversation as @SeanO recommended, and say, “‘I don’t know, but I can find out” - knowing that you have this community to help you find the answer and an approach to share the answer with that person in your life.

I think that’s a humble, honest, and caring way to share your faith. It may make it safe for the other person to be similarly candid when you ask them a tough question, and to go think and reflect on it more before coming back to continue the conversation.

So, how to explain Connect to your manager… I’m not sure. I don’t know, but I can find out… :slight_smile:

I think the key is to think through the question from your manager’s point of view. Why is he curious about what you are reading at work? What would be likely to increase (rather than decrease) his interest in Jesus?

A few ideas…
“This website is called RZIM Connect. It is an online community with participants from many cultures and perspectives around the globe. People discuss a wide range of issues. I read it because I find it helps me understand my faith more and think about how to treat people with respect.”

Then pause, and see if that leads to a further question or a change of topic on his part. If he changes the topic, no worries. If he has another question, attempt to answer it sincerely.

You could also ask him at some point, “I understand that you’re Catholic. What does that mean to you?” and just listen and understand his self-perception and understanding of God in more detail.

In general, I think taking small steps to gradually open up the conversation are wise. Possibly, the two of you will work together for a couple of years or more. So, build trust and confidence on his part that you enjoy discussing spiritual issues and that it is easy and safe to do so with you. As long as everyone feels respected and valued, I find that many people are willing to really open up and want to have great spiritual conversations. The fear is - I’ll try this, and they’ll jump on me for disagreeing with them or attempt to convert me or judge my lifestyle. But, if they realize, ok, this is safe, and interesting, then they are more likely to consider discussing these parts of their life with you.

At some point, your manager or another employee might ask, “Ok, what does your faith mean to you?” And that’s a great opportunity, in a very conversational way, to explain the gospel and the reason why you decided to follow Jesus.

(Melissa Soo) #4

Hi Carson and @SeanO, I appreciate both your responses! Thank you both! It has helped me with confidence in finding the right thing to say and actually I immediately put it into practice! I ended up with an hour long conversation with my general manager. He actually invited me to sit down with him in his office and he was wide-eyed ready to hear what I’ve got to say. I realised that it wasn’t easy for me to share my beliefs (especially at work) but it’s an area where I want to grow in. He wanted to hear what we discuss at RZIM Connect and he was pinning me down to giving an example. I was still rather lost at where to start! I did ask him what being a Catholic meant to him. His response was that he’s brought up that way and it is his religion but he (unlike me according to him) doesn’t believe in the Church or going to church because He refuses to be associated with evil people who doesn’t fight paedophilia therefore he has lost hope in the church. He believes that the church is a man-made institution. So we did have an interesting discussion and I explained what I believe about the Church where it is not man made but precious to Jesus because He died for her.

We discussed worldviews and talked about the 4 big questions; origin, meaning, morality and destiny. That was an interesting discussion hearing his thoughts in these topics. He was very keen to engage with me in these topics.

Catholic’s perspective and worldview of theology and the bible is quite different to the evangelicals. He seems to think that I’m from a different religion.

It was a great discussion and I think has opened up more spiritual discussions in the future and he said he wanted me to come and engage in these conversations again. I see this as a privilege. Would appreciate your prayers and suggestions how I could better prepare myself.

(SeanO) #5

@Melsoo Praise the Lord for such a wonderful opportunity! May Christ grant you wisdom and grace as you continue to listen to and share truth with your manager. It sounds like he is very open and curious. What a blessing!