Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Encounter at TGIFridays

So there we were. My friends and I, in a TGIFriday's in Austin Texas. This particular TGIF's was located at the Radisson Hotel we stayed at. We had been watching the Cardinals clench the NLDS against the Padres, a joyous moment.

Upon celebrating the Redbirds victory, we moved the party to the shuffleboard playing area. Oh, an un-related sidenote: the fried macaroni is a delight. Anways, we're playin some shuffleboard and there's this dude at the bar watching us. Let me quality "us": Me, my friend Jessica, my youth worker buddies Steve and Phil.

He starts asking us how to play and such, so we start talking and everyone is enjoying themselves. Then he (we'll refer to him as Bernard in the interest of protecting his identidy) asks us why we're there in Austin. His first clue was Phil's nametag, which we had already repeatedly ridiculed him for wearing.

We respond by saying that we work with youth and that we were there for the national youth workers convention. He introduces himself as Bernard and then the conversation took an exciting turn.

Bernard starts asking us what we believe about the Bible and other holy books. He explains that he practices Buddhism, Judaism, and Islam. I thought this was kind of funny but moved on. I bought Bernard a Miller Lite. We continue to talk, and this guy was asking some really great questions, and we were really having a good time playing shuffleboard and talking about life and theology.

Then, it hit me. I had a copy of Velvet Elvis up in my room! I could give this dude my copy and then he could see some of what Christianity is all about. I also grabbed one of the Nooma videos I had, so he could check that out. Also, I had called my special lady friend Sarah to visit for a while, but I cut the conversation short so that I could go hang out with Bernard. He had remarked it was cool to see Christians who drank a beer (I had one...*gasp*) and didn't judge him.

So I get back down to Bernard and friends, and present him with the book. I hope I don't look dorky, in retrospect maybe I came on a little strong, but I LOVE this book and Bell's movies so I thought maybe he might like them too.

Then we get around to why Bernard was at TGIFridays..."Are you from Austin Bernard?"...."No...."...."Oh, do you live around here then?"...."No...."...."So, why ARE you in Austin at a TGIFridays in the middle of a Radisson?"...."See, there's this convention in town...."



So, it was a "Smile you're on hidden camera moment" and over about 20 seconds the gravity of the situation hit me. I sort of laughed/grunted in anger, and refered to Bernard as the Christian Ashton Kutcher.

After about 10 minutes, I guess I was cool with it. Bernard was bold! He said he just saw it as an opportunity to test our faith. I definately passed! Which was kinda cool...But people aren't lab rats ya know? I guess Bernard figured we could take it.

I also demanded my stuff back.

So we ended up talking with Bernard the rest of the night and hanging out with him the last day for a workshop and worship. He was a cool guy. I decided he could have my copy of Velvet Elvis anyway. But I told him that every time he sees it he should feel guilty!

So what do ya'll think? Impersonating as a "non-believer"...good move? Or bonehead move?


Adam Caldwell said...

hhmm...not sure on this one...would you consider that being true authenticity?

mitchs02 said...

Hello Bernard...

Well he said he believed some of the principles and follows some of the ideals of those three religions. He did not claim to not be Christian at any time so he was only hiding it. Jesus himself after the resurection appeared without being known until the breaking of the bread or in this case the giving of the Nooma. It was a good time and Bernard was pretty cool. It would have been cooler if someone was now a new brother in Christ though.

And who was it that bought the drinks?

Lin Ai Jie said...

I had a similar thing happen at church this last sunday. I was speaking about my time in China in front of the entire congregation. Afterwards, I was helping my friend, Nonie, at the welcome table. This guy came up and was like I'm just visiting. Anyway, he started talking about how our church's idea of missions was overly imperialistic because we talked about how all nations would bow before God and how do we know that our way is the best. Long story, but my opinion was he was some liberal guy from New York. Turns out he was just testing me and Nonie and he is a really strong Christian, has a doctoral degree, and was visiting our pastor for the weekend.

My opinion- I would not do that to someone myself because its not really honest and kind of mean, but I think God wants us to be prepared for giving an answer.
1 Peter 3:15-16:

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Matt said...

Interesting study if he's working undercover for "Christian Living" or something. However, I think that Bernard should spend more time talking to folks he suspects don't know Jesus than "testing" those who do. Is it his job to test anyone?

Anonymous said...

Bernard sounds like a doofus in my opinion... I mean come on...Judaism, Budhism and Islam? Can you be anymore "new world", "pull from what you like" religious? Sounds like you stood strong in your faith and really passed this "test" he was giving you. Once again...what a doofus!!

Adam said...

I dunno if i'd say he was a "doofus" however I would question his methods. I guess they worked, cause we hung out and he was pretty cool!