Wednesday, 28 June 2006

Time & tide

I would love to not care about time. I've tried to train myself in thinking of time as coming rather than going: lots to do? Time just keeps coming in which to do it. (A more African than Western European approach.) But this morning when I'd travelled 40min into town and then waited 40min outside a computer shop which was 'momentanément fermé', I was annoyed. The very kind and honest owner (and sole worker) of the computer shop may be Tunisian, but I'm not. I had work to do! I gave up and went back.

Belgian things that struck me while waiting (perhaps I'm supposed to learn from these!):

- I called his work mobile several times and by the time I gave up waiting, I'd been told by the voicemail in 3 different languages that he wasn't available to answer. But being multilinguistically unavailable is no better than being unilinguistically unavailable.

- A man stopped by and chatted with me, seems he knows the computer shop guy. Told me that I was lucky to have found this shop, as the guy is good - unlike most computer people who are fraudsters. This affirmed what I already knew of this computer guy, from previously. But an honest worker who isn't there was no better to me than a dishonest worker.

- Turned out (he asked me what my work is) that this guy stopping by is also an evangelical Christian. How wonderful, to meet another evangelical Christian where we are less than 1% of the population! What was his priority in conversation having just discovered that I was also an evangelical Christian? He asked me what church I went to, then, 'Is that Baptist?'. I said that although the churches of the 'Belgian Evangelical Mission' are united in the gospel rather than differences in baptism, as it happens, it is. 'The difference,' he immediately rejoined, 'between us, and you Baptists,'(!) 'is that we are more lively, have more music, and... joy!'

I laughed (joyfully, of course, and possibly even musically) and told him that styles vary from one church to another (& that as it happens in my church we sing a lot and I play the violin). 'The style of our response to the gospel isn't what's important!' I parried. 'It's the response itself!' 'God looks on the heart,' he agreed.

It just occured to me afterwards just how sad a thing it was, what had just happened. Christians are around 1% of the Belgian population, and that figure includes swathes of more liberal Protestants too. Yet he'd come across another one of that small number of not only self-confessing Christians, but Protestant Christians - and not just that, but evangelical Protestant Christians! And the one thing he thought to say on that occasion was to find/make a difference, pigeonhole, and assert how his church was better! How sad.


the pilgrim said...

That kind of answer seems to be prevelant in this day and age- I'm not sure why. It seems we should simply rejoice together in Christ's finished work when we meet fellow believers.
Anyway, I stumbled upon your blog from somewhere and I have enjoyed reading your thoughts. May the Lord continue to bless you.

From California where it's 100F degrees today!

mama said...

Time is to be redeemed. If you only spent the 40 mins fuming you missed an opportunity. Maybe the Lord wanted you to pray for the Tunisian guy. (But maybe you did :-))

But anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY as you enter your double-dozenth year. You are in your prime (again) ho ho. Please amend the 'About me' section!