World of the Free to Choose: Part Three

One day I pulled my head away from a book long enough to accept a lunch invitation from a friend who wanted me to meet his friend, Dr. Ken Boa, a well-respected speaker, teacher, and writer. “You’ll enjoy the discussions,” he said.” Ken goes deep.” I was not disappointed. He talked deeply all right, while I listened intently to his words about everything from distant stars and big bangs to transcendent meaning and a personal God. I left thinking I may have just met the smartest man I’ll ever meet.

Soon after, I began attending a monthly men’s group with Ken and four or five other bright, warmhearted men. We’d meet for lunch and have a sort of round table discussion in an authentic fellowship I was not accustomed to or comfortable with. I was the agnostic among these thoughtful Christians and so, while Ken led, I tried to take on the role of antagonist to the group. “Yeah but…yeah but…” But for every “yeah but,” it turned out that Ken and company always had answers, intellectually appealing ones at that. For the first time I was included in a group of people who lived life with the full understanding that it had true meaning.

Though I was fighting a losing battle, still I fought. A soul being led to face his Maker strides in manfully with dignity to lay down his pride, or he goes in heels first, digging a rut the whole long way. My pride burrowed, but God kept loving me anyway. He had me surrounded.

With my options for escape dimming, it was about this time that Tony, a friend from my early real estate days, returned from New York University where he’d been for the past year to earn his master’s degree. I’d known Tony a long time and when he came back from school he was a markedly different man. I asked him what had changed and he recounted how his Christian girlfriend had influenced him to return to the faith of his childhood. Turns out, unbeknownst to me, he was raised in a Christian home and had accepted Christ at a young age. And here I thought he was just my beer-drinking friend.

I was intrigued by Tony’s renewed faith, and frequently over the next six months, we had a spirited, ongoing dialogue about such topics as, “Is there a God?” “Is Jesus the Son of God?” and, “Is the Bible accurate?” I knew where he was leading me. That’s where I was hoping to get. But I wasn’t going unless I was fully convinced. I admire people who jump with simple faith, but I needed to know what the parachute was made of, how it was packed, and the laws of aerodynamics before I jumped.

I recall Tony saying something to the effect of, “You go for that apologetic, head stuff. That’s not my thing. But it is my pastor’s thing, and if you’re up for it, he’s already offered to meet with you on a regular basis to work through any questions you have.” Tag-teaming me, were they? Bring it on, fellas.

I met with his pastor who stated the ground rules in our first meeting: keep an open mind and use logic. Logic—my middle name. The meetings with the pastor were going well, but over time, I think I must have worn him down, not because he wasn’t right about Jesus being the Savior of the world (as I learned later he was—and He is), but because my will wasn’t right. I could always come up with another objection, and no amount of talking was moving me over that line. Logic is no match for stubborn will. Our discussions ran their course and after a few meetings more I stopped hearing from the pastor, and then I stopped hearing from Tony as well.