When I was a kid, I absolutely loved mix-ups. The highlight of my school day was walking past the corner shop on my way home and spending the 10p sweetie money my parents would give me each day. The choices were endless and I thoroughly enjoyed the daily debate over what I fancied trying. Never was there 10p more happily spent!
25 years later, we live in an increasingly ambiguous world that encourages us to approach life in a similar way. We can pick, mix and match lifestyles, values, belief systems and morals however we want. The choices for each are endless and we can enjoy whatever takes our fancy that day. However, unlike my 10p mix-up, the aftertaste of such choice is often bittersweet. It has created what sociologists call an “Age of Uncertainty” and with such uncertainty comes an apparent hopelessness. If people have nothing concrete to “hang their hat upon” then they end up spending a lot of money at the philosophical department store trying to replace the hats that keep falling on the floor.
As Christians, trying to engage in debate in this pick n’ mix world seems impossible. At best, we might come across as gullible but well-meaning “do-gooders”. People may listen to us like they would to a child, but certainly don’t take our assertions seriously. At worst, we can appear to be delusional, arrogant fundamentalists whose unwillingness to consider the views of others makes any notion of people willing to listen to us obsolete.
The proverbial rock and hard place between which we are stuck appears to be unmovable. How on earth are we to share the gospel in this kind of cultural landscape?
Perhaps the answer can be found in the model of the Master. Jesus didn’t seem to be that bothered about arguing people into faith. When challenged with questions that demanded a concrete answer, He often turned the question on its head and threw it back to those who had asked it. This Sunday, we will explore how Jesus conducted Himself in these scenarios and why He always appeared to be far more interested in changing the lives of individuals than engaging in arguments with his sceptics.