Sit back and enjoy Story Time.
On the way to Orlando last month, Andrew spots this middle-aged man at the New Orleans terminal (our layover) and instantly judges him in his mind. The flight attendant says the plane is only 2/3 full so we were hoping that meant we would have a row to ourselves, but as the end of the line enters the plane, Andrew spots this man again. This time he looks at me and whispers "I hope he doesnt sit next to us" - just his luck for saying something.
I admitted he looked a bit much - the hat, the scarf, the hair... but before we knew it he was in our row. He was desperate to talk to anybody - the flight attendant, the guy in the row behind him, whoever. He saw us both reading textbooks and asked if we were in school - we answered honestly but went back to reading. So he went back to trying to find others to talk to. A half hour or so goes by and he starts asking us more questions.
He's very intrigued by the fact he's "sitting next to a minister" and has to ask us some questions. He starts in about how the church wouldn't like him and people have condemned him to hell and how that's not right cause he's a nice guy and people are so judgmental. He asks us what we believe about this and that, if we support people like Falwell, etc. He actually talks more than he lets us explain. He asked questions then would talk before giving us a chance to answer.
But we did get to answer quite a few as we talked for like an hour or so. We shared our views about what we hold to be absolute truth but also what we think others have gotten wrong. We share point-blank that we do think he's going to hell (he asked), but not because he's gay and not cause he's Jewish, but because he hasn't accepted Jesus as the one true way (he believes there are many ways). He appreciated our honesty. He really appreciated that we thought certain things were wrong, like the religious right. That love was the true message of God and anybody preaching any different isn't preaching our God. etc.
As the plane descends, we start closing up the convo. He jokingly asked, "I guess now you're going to give me a Bible or something."
So I simply say "only if you want one."
"Really? You have one right here?"
I grab the one in my bag. Andrew bought it for me for my birthday cause he knew I needed a new one. I hadn't written anything in it except "to: Teresa from: Andrew." I thought Andrew had packed it but he didn't, so i grabbed it real quick and threw it in my carry-on. I took my bulletins out and handed it to him. He was shocked and very grateful. He immediately went on to tell us how moved that we would just give him a Bible and that nobody had done that for him. He asks us to sign it, so where it said "to: Teresa" i scratched it out and put "to: Eddie" and added my name to the "from:" Then andrew wrote his email under that and told him to contact us if he ever wants to talk again. Andrew even told him where to start (gospels).
As soon as the seatbelt sign was off, he got up, leaned across Andrew and gave me a big hug. He was so moved. He also gave andrew a hug, which makes me laugh. And I just kept thinking about that scale of -10 and +10 and I doubt that man moved from negative to positive (accepting Christ) but im pretty positive that encounter moved him a few notches towards it.
It was a very interesting start the vacation, to say the least.