Wow, Nick and I had the weirdest evening ever this past Friday. And I was super excited, thinking it was going to be a very chill evening with not much on the agenda except visiting with my grandfather. Not exactly how things turned out :)
Let me just give a little background info that is important to this story. Poppi is an athiest, and Nick is definitely a fan of Jesus. Nick is always wanting to bring up the topic and have debates with Poppi, which basically makes my mom and I almost have heart attacks at the thought. Poppi- and Nick also- are both very passionate about their beliefs and also very stubborn- which I worried could make for an ugly ending. Poppi isn't just the type who's never given religion a chance- he definitely attended church for a long time with his wife and kids, and saw some really awful things happen that left him incredibly disappointed in the church. He also LOVES to read and is super smart- loves studying Science and evolution and history. And he's come to the conclusion that religion is just a way to instill fear in kids at a young age so they'll "behave" and not want to go to hell, and he believes that religion is the cause of all war. Poppi feels like most religious people, especially Christians, are hypocrites and give no thought to science and that they hide behind their beliefs to "protect" them from what they don't understand. And sadly, I'd say that's a pretty good evaluation of how many Christians are.
Now- in walks my husband- to totally crush all my Poppi's incorrect assumptions :) I don't want to be the cheesy wife who brags on my hubby- but I'm going to do that just a little :) Nick LOVES to study evolution versus intelligent design. He knows evolution forward and backwards as well as anyone else. He feels that to be intellectually credible in his own arguments and beliefs, that he needs to also study the other side. And he's so ridiculously smart and retains anything he ever reads. So I see that Poppi is reading a book called "God is not great" by Hitchens, and I'm thinking "Oh no, oh no, oh no- I hope Nick doesn't see that" because I knew he'd use it as a conversation starter. And he definitely did see it- and did use it as a conversation starter. I was so nervous the whole time- plus that fact that I didn't have much to add to the debate between these 2 geniuses- that I just prayed the same thing over and over. After we left almost 3 hours later (only about 1 1/2 hours of religious debate though), I felt so encouraged and relieved about their talk. Neither side budged on their stance of course, but it also was the most civil and friendly conversation, and they both really enjoyed it! Nick is amazing when it comes to debating. He's so good at not only presenting his side and remembering facts so well, but he's so respectful and humble and just knows how to handle people. I feel like he completely broke the mold of what Poppi's idea of the "typical Christian" is. Nick isn't a Creationist- he doesn't believe the world is only 10,000 years old, but agrees with Poppi that it's millions of years old. There were a few other scientific points that Nick agreed with Poppi on, which probably really confused Poppi, and also won him some points toward Poppi actually listening to his side. Every argument that Poppi brought up for evolution, none of it surprised Nick at all. He already knew about each point and had his own answer b/c he's studied it so much. We also had a chance to address his frustration with the church, and we both agreed with him that the church CAN be incredibly disappointing and Christians do awful things sometimes in the name of Jesus. But that doesn't mean that's a true representation of Christ. This was about the only subject I was able to chime in on, since most of the science stuff is over my head :) But Nick and I both had examples of when people who were Christians really shocked us and let us down, but that their actions are thankfully not a representation of Christ's character. I told him that when a Christian sister really hurt me and I was devastated by her actions, the Bible was just a reminder that that's what I SHOULD expect from people. And it's only in Jesus that we can fully place our faith- not His followers. Because I sure know I've had my times of being a horrible representation of my Savior, and I would hate to think I've caused people to stumble by my actions. So I hope that's something he'll take away from the conversation and really consider. I hate that Christians are so often the reason that other people run away from following Jesus. I remember hearing a quote from Ghandi- "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." Ouch. Anyway, I'll stop rambling. It was a great talk- way better than I could ever have hoped for. I'm so thankful that God equipped Nick and led the conversation and I know He was there among us.
SO, after that I was an emotional wreck and fell apart. Not because the evening went badly- it was just an emotionally exhausting conversation for me to process since I pray so often for my Poppi to see the Truth about Christ. So we went to Jimmy John's and I sat outside talking and crying with my mom on the phone while Nick went in to get his food. Some advice: never eat outside Jimmy John's on a Friday night past 9pm. Our first strange encounter was a couple- both young and nicely dressed- who made up a big long story about her purse was robbed at a party, they were from Wayne and needed a bus ticket, they just wanted $4- etc, etc, etc. Well, I believed them at first and so I gave them some money- because I was too worn out to try to think of another solution or to feel like assessing if I believed their story or not. But then as they walked away, the girl turned around for the first time (she'd been sitting at the table with her back to us) and I realized she was high as a kite. Nick told me after they left that he didn't believe their story for one second- but they probably saw my puffy eyes from crying and pegged me as a sucker who they'd get some money from. Oh well.
So THEN Nick says that he'd rather people just be honest and say why they really want to bum money, and he'd be more likely to give it to them. Right on cue, not even 10 minutes later, a man walks up and tells us how he doesn't need any food or a ride, but he just wants some money to buy a drink for him and his lady at the club. Seriously?!? After Nick gave him money, he wanted to know if we're Christians and then grabs each of our hands and has us hold hands and says he hasn't done this in a while, but he wants to pray with us. We thought that part was great! He then proceeds to talk AT us (yes, we never had a chance to ever respond- he always interrupted) about who knows what for 30 minutes.
Finally, I'm ready to go, and Shawn asks Nick to give him a ride to a shady part of town. So while I'm following them, to make sure Nick doesn't get shot with this probable drug dealer, I end up getting pulled over b/c I'm driving my dad's car and the registration is 7 months expired. Again- seriously?! Wow, it was a long evening.