Thursday, March 05, 2009

Softly and Tenderly....

Last week as I was sitting in the airport, delayed for several reasons, I could not conjure up irritation. No one was picking us up from the airport. No children were in my care. We were already scheduled to get in in the middle of the night...what's an extra hour? And I was reading a fascinating book.

Dinner With a Perfect Stranger

You are Invited to a Dinner with Jesus of Nazareth

The mysterious envelope arrives on Nick Cominsky’s desk amid a stack of credit card applications and business-related junk mail. Although his seventy-hour workweek has already eaten into his limited family time, Nick can’t pass up the opportunity to see what kind of plot his colleagues have hatched.

The normally confident, cynical Nick soon finds himself thrown off-balance, drawn into an intriguing conversation with a baffling man who appears to be more than comfortable discussing everything from world religions to the existence of heaven and hell. And this man who calls himself Jesus also seems to know a disturbing amount about Nick’s personal life.


"You’re bored, Nick. You were made for more than this. You’re worried about God stealing your fun, but you’ve got it backwards.… There’s no adventure like being joined to the Creator of the universe." He leaned back off the table. "And your first mission would be to let him guide you out of the mess you’re in at work."

As the evening progresses, their conversation touches on life, God, meaning, pain, faith, and doubt–and it seems that having Dinner with a Perfect Stranger may change Nick’s life forever.

A couple hours later, I finished that one and started in on the sequel, A Day With a Perfect Stranger. How interesting, I thought, to read this book, that takes place in airplanes, while in an airplane. I don't think it was the circumstances alone that made the read so meaningful.

What if a fascinating stranger knew you better than you know yourself?

When her husband comes home with a farfetched story about eating dinner with someone he believes to be Jesus, Mattie Cominsky thinks this may signal the end of her shaky marriage. Convinced that Nick is, at best, turning into a religious nut, the self-described agnostic hopes that a quick business trip will give her time to think things through.

On board the plane, Mattie strikes up a conversation with a fellow passenger. When she discovers their shared scorn for religion, she confides her frustration over her husband’s recent conversion. The stranger suggests that perhaps her husband isn’t seeking religion but true spiritual connection, an idea that prompts her to reflect on her own search for fulfillment.

As their conversation turns to issues of spiritual longing and deeper questions about the nature of God, Mattie finds herself increasingly drawn to this insightful stranger. But when the discussion unexpectedly turns personal, touching on things she’s never told anyone, Mattie is startled and disturbed. Who is this man who seems to peer straight into her soul?

David Gregory is the author of the best-selling books Dinner with a Perfect Stranger and A Day with a Perfect Stranger, and coauthor of two nonfiction books. After a ten-year business career, he returned to school to study religion and communications, earning graduate degrees from The University of North Texas and Dallas Theological Seminary. A native Texan, David now devotes himself to writing full time.

Though both of these books are written from the perspective of agnostics, at best, they really cleared my vision for the first time in a long time. We've made faith so hard. Being a Christian is so HARD sometimes, isn't it? Do this. Don't do that. Talk a certain way. Dress a certain way. Have fun, but not too much fun. This life isn't the one we're after, you know. In all circumstances, smile.

We're so busy doing, we forget the one person this is all about: Jesus.

I strongly urge you to go out and have dinner, or a day with this perfect stranger. You might be surprised how unburdened you feel once you are finished.

1 comment:

Boy Mom said...

This post brought me to tears, thanks for the invitation. The burden of religious dogma is difficult to get through at times.