I'd just like to say thanks for introducing me to Monsters Calling Home. I'm always happy about finding great music. I also have a question..what is it about tomato juice that draws you to it? Ok ok that's not the real question. One of my closest friends (who is constantly in my prayers) is agnostic and I must say it is a rather weird but strong friendship that we have. So my question is do you (still) have any agnostic\atheist friends and how do you handle these relationships?
Sure thing! I’m really anticipating their first full album release.
I actually had a can of tomato juice this morning, and the main reason I like it is because my dad had it nearly every morning with his breakfast. When I was a kid I adored my dad, and when I tried his tomato juice, I pretended to enjoy it because he really did enjoy it. After a while, the taste grew on me. Now I love it. Strange how that works, huh?
About your question: I’ve written on this plenty so I’ll point you to some posts here —
The most important thing here is to simply be a friend. I know that sounds like a corny cop-out answer, but friendship should never have any agenda to “convert” or constrict someone into our faith or otherwise.
I also know it’s not your intention to coerce, but even without us knowing it, it’s easy to turn our non-Christian buddies into secret projects that we hope will suddenly get this Jesus-thing if we talk about it long enough. Whether you were friends with this person before or after you became a Christian, they will pick up on your evangelism-radar and it will actually turn them off Jesus more than anything.
It’s a sensitive issue for sure. But the best thing is presence, to stick around with patience and persistence, to be the one who won’t judge them when they call drunk or miserable or jobless or lonely, and to be the one who can explain your faith when you win their curiosity. As much as you want to flail your arms and yell something like, “You’ll burn in hell you know!” — your first priority is to be a friend.
With my non-Christian friends and acquaintances, usually they expect me to be the “preacher” guy or the “good Christian” or the guy who only wants to talk about religious things. Over time I’ve broken all these stereotypes, yet at the same time I live just differently enough to confuse them.
Some eventually debate theological points or ask questions, and that’s not a time for me to Super-Theologian Extraordinaire. It’s actually time for me to a better friend: to ask about their life, why they don’t believe, what they think of church, why they believe the things they do. Sooner or later they end up recognizing deeper truths in themselves about who they are and what they’re missing. But again: I don’t do this as a project or a secret missile. It happens as a natural outflow of intimacy, of being real.
Everyone must earn the right to be heard. This is why I’m a strong believer in evangelism happening naturally out of friendships, and not the other way around. Build the trust, and they will pick your brain.