I told Emily this story, and she said that I ought to post it. So here it is.
I stopped to talk to a coworker today as I was leaving work. We have talked in the past about spiritual things, and I had been thinking a lot about our last conversation. I wanted to tell him what I thought his identity was, and what I thought was the false identity that wanted to grab hold of him was.
We spent more time talking about his view of God, and he told me that while he believed in God, and that he had a sort of vague understanding of some sort of interaction between God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, but he was uncomfortable with the Bible, particularly the OT sacrificial practices, which seemed rather barbaric. How can one know that the Bible was the right way to go and not some other book?
I told him that I had been coming to think of late that the Bible was a book written for those "inside." It's written so that we can know how we know we are Christians, why we should be Christians, what we should do as a Christian, etc. While there are statements about those outside, they are sort of fuzzy, out-of-focus statements. I told him that I thought it was a stretch to take Jesus' statement "no man comes unto the Father but by me" and view it as definitely cutting certain groups out, because Jesus didn't define what he meant by "by me." But it was also a stretch to then say that everybody was in, because it's clear that some people are headed toward God and others are headed someplace else. So there are people who are out, but we're not totally clear on who they were.
I told him that therefore it's not my place to know whether people who follow Islam, or Buddhism, or whatever are in or out. I know that they have good things, but are they following Christ? It's not for me to say. But, I told him, I do know that this way works. So I encourage everyone around me to follow this way. I'm not saying that if you don't follow this way, you're definitely out; I'm just saying that I don't know about those ways, but I know for certain that this way works.