One, check out this article at The Rabbit Room. Great article about loss of imagination, the affect of video games, and the fun of playing outside.
Two, story time! Last week, Sara and I paired up to take on Roma Tre for a day (everyone else was there too, but I was talking to people with Sara). We were trying to strike up conversations with groups of people, instead of just individuals, which is my usual modus operandi, and I was a little nervous. Usually I talk to the people that are chillin Han-style (Solo... and yes I stole that joke from "How I Met Your Mother"), but we want to talk to groups of people too because that way we can influence a network and hopefully get the news about this Jesus guy to as many as possible. So after getting shot down by one group (ok, not shot down, but they didnt have much time... ok it was shot down), we spotted the next group.
When I say we spotted, I mean Sara said, "Hey, lets go talk to those guys." 'Those guys' were a group of 5 or so dudes laughing and having a good time and I didn't want to be the nerd Jesus-freak who walks up and breaks up the party. Yet, I felt the tug to and swallowed my pride and said a silent prayer and headed in their direction. I used my usual pick-up line, "Parlate inglese?," and to my chagrin found that I was breaking up a party, apparently of one guy telling... inappropriate stories. However, to my surprise and relief, they welcomed us into the conversation. Well, I guess not into the current conversation but said, "Yea, whats up?"
Diving into spiritual conversation is not always the most comfortable thing in the world but it is amazing how God can use us if we are willing to back out of the way and let him work. After the usual get to know you banter and discovering that one of the guys, Matteo, was a basketball player, I popped the question. No, not to marry me, but I asked him, "So our group, Agape Italia, likes to get to know what students think about spiritual things. Can I ask you guys what you think about those sort of things?" I know, I know, I am real eloquent with my transition, but God works in hearts, not me. Me, Matteo, Sara, and Pietro began to speak, diving in depth about what they think about the church, religion, Jesus, and what it means to be a Christian. It was real encouraging to talk with them, especially Matteo, who plays basketball at a church so he goes to Mass out of respect for the priests that run the games.
Though our conversation did not yield any hit-the-knees-and-repent moments, we did have some good discussion about what it meant to give up control of our lives to Christ and follow him. The question, "Can we follow God and not give up control of our life," is a very real question that I think many people ask and I think many people think the answer is yes. I am not so sure; Jesus doesnt seem to leave many options when he tells people to leave everything and follow Him. So the conversation was terrific and ended with an exchange of numbers. Even cooler though, was that the next day, at a different university, I ran into Matteo and Stefano (another guy in the group of 5). They usually don't visit that university but wanted "a change of scenery" so they headed there for the day to hang out. They recognized me and when we began to talk, it was Stefano who brought up spiritual things. I am so glad that I serve a God who brings about "random" meetings like that and uses it in our lives. I hope to be hanging out with those guys tomorrow, so keep me and them in your prayers. Thanks for reading, much love to you all.