Explaining what we believe and why seems to be increasingly difficult as culture moves further away from a biblical framework. Tim Muehlhoff shares a personal example of how we can find opportunities to discuss our faith in everyday conversations. He reflects on a recent conversation with his friends during his weekly Shaolin Kung Fu classes.
“I’m trying to get my black belt in Shaolin Kung Fu so I’m at a school that’s a great school but it’s Buddhist in orientation. My instructor has kind of said, ‘Hey we don’t talk about religion here and politics,’ even though Buddhism is of course talked about a ton.”
Tim explains how he used the popular television show The Walking Dead to bring up a conversation about the difference between right and wrong.
“I’m sitting around a bunch of my friends and we start to talk about The Walking Dead and we’re all jumping in. I said, so if it is the end of the world and all that’s left are communities and zombies, then does anything go? Can you just do whatever you want?”
“Then I said, do you remember that episode where the guy wandered in from one camp into another camp. The one camp had to decide, ‘Do we kill this guy? Because we don’t want him going back to his camp and telling them we’re all staying.’”
“Here I am with a bunch of black belts from Shaolin Kung Fu and we’re all dissecting whether it’s okay or not to kill this guy. Some people are saying, ‘No! It’s not OK to kill him!’ Other people are saying, ‘Of course it is! You can’t let this guy go back to the other camp and put your loved ones in danger.’”
Tim was able to include his faith into this conversation and discuss the difference between right and wrong from a biblical perspective.
“I said, let’s go back to that conversation we had, I actually think there is a right and wrong in the zombie apocalypse. I actually think that even though there’s not a government, a church, or a court room, I do believe each one of us knows deep down inside that there’s things that are right and wrong. I believe that God planted that in each one of us.”
“One of my Kung Fu friends said, ‘Well I’m a Buddhist, so I believe that that’s the Dharma, that’s the rule of life; we all have an awareness about that.’ I said, I think the Bible would agree with that in some ways.”
“It’s not that you stop everything and say, ‘let’s talk about morality!’ I don’t think that’d ever really come up. But to use The Walking Dead, or different news items, I think we can have these natural ways of talking about right and wrong and other different types of issues.”
As Christians, we can find natural ways to bring up the gospel message to our friends, neighbors and co-workers by listening to the nudge of the Holy Spirit in everyday conversations.
Tim Muehlhoff (PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is a professor of communication at Biola University in La Mirada, California where he teaches classes in family communication, interpersonal communication and gender. Tim is the coauthor of The God Conversation: Using Stories and Illustrations to Explain Your Faith.