This summer I’m teaching the I AM statements of Jesus in a ‘Spiritual Life Tent.’ It’s part of a conference center in the Adirondacks near where we live in the summer. And while there are some Christians in the organization, it is not explicitly a Christian center. In fact, it’s intentionally interfaith and ecumenical. So each week when I walk into my tent, (truly it’s a tent, like the sort you’d set up for a large family picnic with four screened walls to keep out the bugs… but do they ever really keep the bugs out?) I never know who might show up, or what they might believe or not believe, or even harbor anger that they were once associated with the church.
The classes are small, perhaps 3-4 people on any given week, which means I can’t hide behind lecture style teaching. If people have different views, I know it. Immediately. The classes are more like conversations where I’ve chosen the topic.
And yet, one of the I AM statements is, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” At first, I worried about teaching that specific week. How could I actually tell whoever walked into the tent that Jesus was the only way in an interfaith setting? What if they were Buddhist? What if they’d left the church and were angry at God? What if they thought Christians in America were obnoxious know-it-alls?
Thankfully, I’ve seen again and again that Jesus not only is the answer, but he shows us how to explain the answer…