Well, yesterday Tammy and I stopped in the Kingsport Starbucks to get a cup of coffee, and we talked with one of Drew's close friends and co-workers. The friend, by the way, is an atheist. I know Drew has had good/deep talks with him, and I've tried to make a point of contact with him, talking about books and such. Yesterday it stuck me: we usually don't have many friends that are atheists, in our circles. Now before you go down the path that asks how can we win souls if don't befriend atheists, hear me out.
I have been blessed to baptize dozens of people. I have studied with even more. But, it's hard to even think of a time when the people I've studied with, weren't at least a little bit faith-friendly. It's like, they know there's a God out there somewhere but need some help finding Him. OR, they had a grandparent that took them to Church a long time ago. Or, even if they didn't grow up in a home where congregational life was valued, they at least could entertain the idea that God existed.
I guess what I'm trying to say is I've spent plenty of time around non-believers, or un-believers... but how often have I befriended an atheist; one who doesn't entertain there might be a God out there... My eyes were opened to the difference between non-believer and an atheist, and I'm concluding that they are not the same thing. You think I might be confusing agnosticism and skepticism with a lack of faith? No, it's not that either. You can be a person who is not a believer out of plan laziness, or cynicism, or you just want to hold on doing life your way.... Again, I see a new distinction in the atheist and those who are open to build a faith.
As I thought about the friendship Drew has with his co-worker, and the fledgling friendship I'm working on with him, I felt a weird rewarding sensation. I don't know where it will go with Drew's friend (I hope Drew can water some seeds over Christmas break), but it was refreshing to think through the implications...