Is conversion a dirty word?
“I like country music,” said my friend, before giving me a look I see regularly after someone tells me they like country music. It’s defiance mixed with pride, and a good measure of trepidation. And not too soon after it comes, “It’s not boring, a lot of country music is quite upbeat, like rock!”, “Elvis was a country singer before he did rock”, “You like Johnny Cash? He’s country”. Then, songs are played and I get that sensation – Uh oh! Is my friend trying to convert me?
Conversion has a bad name. It smacks of superiority; that my way is better than your way. And yet, we all do it – eagerly! Someone says they find the fruit and veggies so expensive at Coles, and you tell them about the amazing greengrocer you’ve found who’s both cheap and has an amazing range. Someone says they’re looking for a physio, and you suggest yours who really fixed your issues. Or you’ve had a fantastic dinner at a little out of the way restaurant and leave determined to let everyone know they should check it out. None of these are sinister power games, you genuinely want to help others share in the great discovery you’ve made. You’ve benefited, and you want others to benefit too.
I’ve been converted in the past. Over big things and small. My mother-in-law converted me to Promite, my wife converted me to Peanut Butter and Honey. Another friend failed to convert me to Vegemite and Jam (don’t try it!). My wife also converted me to Harry Potter – who would have thought a kid’s book could be so great?!?
But the clearest conversion for me has been in the Rugby codes – from League only, to loving Union. It wasn’t long ago that I used to decry how boring Union was – so few tries, a big mess of blokes scrambling for a ball. My friends arguing with me about how many League players are criminals versus Union players made no impression. It wasn’t until a friend told me that the reason he loved Union was because it incorporated all types of people – fat kids and skinny kids, tall kids and short kids could all play Union – unlike many sports that had an ideal body shape. That thought stuck in the back of my mind until it was time to pick a sport for our boys, and they – like many boys – wanted a physical game, that we thought to try Union. And they have loved it – and I have grown to love it too! I am a convert!
My job deals in conversion. I’ve noticed that what helps people become interested in shifting in their religious beliefs aren’t clever arguments, or people just quietly getting on with their lives – but seeing someone who is distinctive who can also articulate what makes their life better. When Christians live a distinctive life and can clearly explain why Jesus makes a difference, that’s attractive – people want to know more. They say “yes” to finding out more about Jesus for themselves.
If you would like to learn more about living distinctively as a Christian at work – why not come along to the Life@Work conference – Distinctive?
If you would like to have a look at Jesus for yourself – why not drop us a message?