Apologetics in the Air

by Ann Sullivan

Returning from a conference where I’d just spoken and boarding a plane for my three-hour flight home, I was quickly reminded of how delightful it is when you dis­cover that the seat between you and the aisle guy is empty. But, just as the flight attendants were finishing the overhead compartment slam, one last traveler burst onto the plane and took his spot in the only seat left. Nuts.

I tried to concentrate on my reading, but my peripheral vision told me that the bundle of energy sitting next to me had already sized up the other passengers and was now resting his gaze on me.

“So,” he said loudly, breaking the ice. “What do you do?”

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This should be an easy question, but I often find it challenging. It’s not that I’m ashamed of the gospel, but I am ashamed of those who’ve attached themselves to it and misrepresented it, keeping others away in the process. So, I treaded lightly. “I speak at women’s conferences.”

He looked down, noticed the apologetics book that sat open on my lap, and said, “Oh. You’re a Christian, right?”

“Yes,” I answered.

“Cool,” he said, nodding his head as if he thought I could use some approval. “That’s cool.” Then he paused, turned to me again, and said, “I’m Jewish.”

“Cool,” I said, returning the nod. “That’s cool.”

With that settled, we smiled at each other and sat in silence for a few moments waiting to see who would venture out next. He did . . . and big time. He said, “I realize Christians say that Jesus is God, but did Jesus himself actually claim to be God?”

These are the moments when as Christians we can be glad our faith is built on more than conjecture or self-deception…

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