Moving slowly from total disinterest in the Bible
There is an older gentleman who has been coming along to our church in Japan for about a year.
He often talks about tangential topics with no apparent link to the sermon that we have been instructed to talk about. He has especially wanted foreigners who attend the church to understand that the Christian God is very different to the gods that “we Japanese” believe in.
About 3 months ago, we decided to try story-telling some passages from Luke’s Gospel every 2-3 weeks instead of the sermon, and discuss the stories using the 6 questions Christine has taught on this page. The first week we told people to get into pairs to help each other re-tell the story. I was partnered with him, and he said he didn’t listen at all, and proceeded to talk about something else so I didn’t get a chance to try to retell the story.
The next two times we did stories, he sat with his eyes closed, and I thought he had fallen asleep, but during the discussion time he did say some things that showed he had heard. More recently, he seems to have grown familiar with the order of questions and seems to especially appreciate that there is a place for raising interesting questions.
Two weeks ago, we looked at the Lord’s Prayer, and he said he understands Christians think of God as Father, and he honestly wants to understand what it is like to believe in just one God, then he listened as people shared from their own experience.
Last week we told the story of the Lost Sheep. He was excited when it came to discussion time because he said he remembers hearing this story even as a child, it’s a very famous story, but he never understood before why it was so famous because it struck him as a strange story. He said this was the first time he understood that Jesus is the shepherd, and we humans are like sheep, and that Jesus loves us humans so much that he comes looking for us. He hasn’t become a Christian, but it is amazing to see how much he’s grown in his interest and understanding as he’s been engaging with the bible stories.