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How do we bring a spiritual dimension to our secular conversations?

Many of us have networks of Christian friends from church and ministry activities, and networks of non-Christian “secular” friends from our employment, sports, and educational activities, etc

And for many of us, these networks have clear demarcations!

In a post-Christian society which is tearing itself apart, in a world where everything seems to be going wrong, where children are taught life has no meaning because we evolved from pond scum, it’s increasingly likely that most of our secular friends have turned their back on God, denied his existence, and never heard of Jesus except as an expletive!

As a result, Christians in many societies spend their time living in two separate worlds.

They are happy to speak openly about Jesus and their faith in their Christian networks, but leave their faith at home when heading to work, sport or college, and choose not to speak of their faith lest they offend somebody.  Often we can be working alongside another Christian and not know it.

But having prayed for a “secular someone”, having prayed for opportunities to move the discussion from the here-and-now to the spiritual, how do we make that transition?  And how do we live our lives in secular society in a way that brings praise and honour and glory to God?

There are many answers to those questions.  Much depends on the relationship, the context, the issues of the day, and what we know of the lives of the other person.  These are all good matters to pray about, seeking God’s guidance.

One technique that I find useful and often quite powerful is to use a current issue, or a word as a pivot, or a bridge between the here-and-now secular and the spiritual.

I offer the following example (albeit, in this situation with another known Christian).

When I registered (very recently) as a new member on this site, I received a couple of auto-generated welcome emails on behalf of the Site Administrator - my new-found friend Phil Miglioratti.

The second email was fine, but the first included 4 links to get me started, but none of them worked!  Not a good start!  Upon inspection, I deduced what was wrong with the links, corrected them and they worked OK.  I then notified the Site Administrator about the problem and what I’d done to correct it.

This allowed Phil to fix the problem for the next new site members and to reply to me:

“You saved the day! Feedback welcome anytime. Mega thanks, Phil.”

Now here’s the opportunity from a Christian perspective:

  1. Good deed done
  2. Relationship developed / initiated
  3. Now to point this back to Jesus / God.

My reply to Phil:

Hi Phil,

“You saved the day”?…

“Thank you heavenly Father for the opportunity to help; thank you that I was able to shine some light on an issue, assisting in the correction of something that had gone wrong. Thank you that I could, in Phil’s words, “save the day”! Thank you that I can walk in the path of your Son, who by His death for our sins and his resurrection to new life saved every eternal day for those who would put their faith in Him!..”

Although I didn’t know Phil personally before that point, I did know from his blog that he was an active, committed Christian.  That allowed me to launch directly into a shared prayer reflecting on the experience, bringing Phil’s work before God, and pivoting on the “Save” theme to give ultimate thanks to God for his Son, including the Gospel.

That brought Phil and I closer as we endeavour together to promote discipleship for the glory of God.

Jesus said:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

(Mt 5:13-16)

But how could I have responded if it were a secular site I was joining for some other purpose, and the administrator unknown but for a name? Well I could have said:

Hi [Name]

Thanks for the feedback.  As a Christian, and an engineer, I am only too pleased to help fix things that have gone wrong. 

“You saved the day”?…

Again as a Christian, those words remind me of the “Good News” that those who put their faith in Jesus are saved, not just for a day, but for every day of eternity!

Again, pleased to help, and pleased to talk further about Jesus if you would like to know more about him, what he has done for me, and what he can do for you.

So, fellow disciples of Christ:

How do you bring a spiritual dimension to your secular conversations?

Do you use pivot techniques?

What other methods do you find effective?

Go, Make, Grow, Disciples of Jesus

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