Conversations from Campus: Ruth in 9a, part 3

Rick Mattson Apologetics Leave a Comment

See my prior post for how the conversation landed here.

“I have a diagram for you,” I said to Ruth in 9a.

The light was dim in the cabin as the pilot announced our initial descent into St. Louis.

“Okay,” Ruth nodded.

“Here’s Judaism.” I drew a vertical line in the air, top to bottom. “And here’s an off-shoot.” Now the line had become an h.

I continued: “This is how we normally think about Judaism and Christianity. Judaism is the straight line, Christianity the off-shoot.”


“But what if it’s the other way around?” I continued to mime. “What if Christianity is the true Judaism and the off-shoot is simply a hold-over from the past?” *

Ruth regarded me for a moment without speaking. For the first time in an hour I was aware of the low rumble of jet propulsion. Finally I offered gently, “Am I pushing you too hard?”

“Not at all. I want to think about these matters. Maybe you should come and talk to students at Wash U sometime.”

“Just invite me. I come cheap.”

She grinned and we talked more about her campus.

The big Delta plane was barreling down through banks of dense clouds. Sensing the Spirit, I asked Ruth if I could put one final idea on the table. One I rarely use. She agreed without hesitation.

I said carefully, “Perhaps God placed me here to talk with you on this flight.”

“You’re actually the second InterVarsity person I talked with today,” she responded.

I laughed. “Maybe the Lord is trying to get your attention. Anyway, I don’t want to get a messiah complex here. I don’t normally tell people that God placed me in their life.”

“It’s okay. I know what you’re saying.”

We deplaned and walked up the jet bridge together. In the terminal there was a brief handshake as I gave her my card but didn’t ask for her info. “Email me if you wish,” I said lightly.

“Enjoy St. Louis.”

It was over. I kept my distance as we wound through the terminal.

Lord, would you touch the heart of Ruth in 9a.

* See Rabbi Michael Hilton and Father Gordian Marshall,  The Gospels and Rabbinic Judaism: A Study Guide (SCM Press, London, 1988), pp. 115-17.

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