Friday, May 28, 2010

Making Friends is a Dilemma

Three weeks ago, I met a math grad student, probably in his early thirties, at the bus stop. He looked eager to chat--though I wasn't overwhelmingly social, I commented about the bus being late, and the conversation launched.

Kessau is a very cool, perpetually grinning guy from Nepal. After taking Perspectives on the World Christian Movement at Trinity Baptist Church, I am acutely aware of the variety of different "nations," if you will, all over the community, so meeting Kessau was encouraging. Plus, I want to get to know more families in our apartment complex.

Kessau called me awhile back, just to talk, because "he was bored" sitting in his office on campus. I invited him to a party--for Perspectives, no less!--so he could meet more people. He still calls me at least once a week, which I find amusing, because such calls are not generally appropriate between two acquaintances of the opposite sex, both married. Of course, the intention is entirely platonic--he said he'd like to have both Chris and I over "for tea and to talk" some time.

He called again today and wanted to hang out. I've been immersed in the hustle and bustle of wedding prep for my friend Aneissa, so I politely declined. He understood, and mentioned that maybe we could go out for a drink one day (the Library being his bar of choice). Again, cultural no-no.

The situation isn't disturbing to me by any means--I simply don't know how to react! Here's my thing. I want to cultivate relationships with people I can share the gospel with. Therefore, I don't want to keep turning down Kessau's invitations, especially since the Krycho schedule's not going to get much more open (mine will be, I think, but not my hubby's). Meanwhile, Chris and I spend time with Christians, for the most part. This may sound awful, but given a choice, how do I know whether I should help a Christian or a non-Christian to do maximum kingdom work? Ack! Horrible question! I wish it never passed through my mind!

I'm afraid of becoming lazy and squandering opportunities to serve God, even though I'm not even given to laziness. I'm afraid that the Holy Spirit won't step in and convict me if I grow to be a sluggard, and I'll just keep riding the downward spiral of sin.

The downward spiral of sin. Sounds like a ride at Six Flags.

Anyway, all that to say, I don't want to turn down invitations I'm "supposed to take." Actually I feel like I'm "not supposed to" ever turn down such invitations, no matter how little time I have or how strange the invitation is (read: going out by myself for a drink with a man not my husband), lest I be a "bad Christian." I know, it's awful theology, huh?

I'm sitting here feeling guilty for saying no, while realizing that I'm making a person into a project again. This is my cue, dear reader, to do something else for awhile--namely, pray, eat and read book six of Wheel of Time.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my! This is a dilemma! Is his wife easy to befriend as well? Maybe that would make it less awkward.
    I completely understand your frustration with "invitation etiquette." I think there is a crucial time in relationships when invitations signal how far relationships can go. I have a friend that just started a new job. Consequently, his new work buddies invite him to places during the lunch break or after work. I told him to accept as many invitations as he can during this initial stage because it will be a gauge that his fellow workers use to determine how much they will include him in future. Even if he has to turn down invitations later, there will be a good base for further community. If he turns down too many in this initial stage, however, they will stop inviting him, and not view him as a friend. There is, of course, the eternal question of whether or not to join the guys from work at the bar. Personally, the invitation to this environment is extended infrequently. I am, however, willing to be the designated driver in such cases. Watching my friends drink isn't exactly my idea of a fun night out, but I am willing to invest in community in this way. Also, people tend to drink less when I am with them - also a good thing.
    Truth is best shared within community. So if we're seeking to be "Insiders" as Kingdom representatives, we must be in these communities. On the same hand we will never truly belong. We belong in heaven, where our citizenship is. We're in the world but not of it. There will always be a healthy tension. Thanks for your post. I pray God gives you wisdom in this area.


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