Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why Do So Many Spiritual Conversations Take Place on Airplanes?

I often hear stories about God conversations on airplanes.  I read about them in books, I write about my experiences in articles and tell about God conversations at seminars I teach.  Just a couple of weeks ago my friend Bill was telling about a recent trip he took and lo and behold he shared a spiritual conversation on the plane with the guy next to him.
I was at a conference and the speaker was talking about evangelism. He opened up his talk with a story about a Jesus conversation on an airplane.  My mentor in Evangelism, Juan Isais, often told stories of conversations he had on airplanes.
On my way home from Florida recently, Debbie and I were sitting in a plane with three seats on each side.  A man was sitting on the window side, Debbie and I had the middle and aisle seats.  I 'graciously' gave her the middle seat and settled into the aisle seat and began to read a book.  I was not very loving to place my wife in the middle seat next to a man so I deserved what came next.  Debbie leaned over to me and told me that she was going to the restroom that I should consider moving to the middle seat when she returned.  She was right and I made the switch.
About an hour later, refreshments were served and I introduced myself to my neighbor by the window.  His name was John.  I learned that John was returning from Central America where he was free diving and filming whale sharks.  He even got his camera down and showed me his pictures.  They were amazing.  
Once we finished talking about scuba diving and whale sharks, John asked what I do for a living.  The conversation quickly turned spiritual and I found out that John had some rough spiritual experiences and was in need of healing from those wounds.  I was able so share Jesus with John and I hope to connect with him more in the future.
So why do so many spiritual conversations take place on airplanes?  I think we simply slow down and are forced to sit next to strangers for long periods of time.  In that situation you either say little to nothing to your stranger neighbor or you enter into conversation.  When the conversation takes place and you are spiritually sensitive it just flows naturally.  The key seems to be we are slowed down and in a way forced to interact for long periods of time with people.  
My theory is that if we took the time to slow down and have extended conversations with our neighbors, co-workers or strangers at a coffee house or bar, we would be finding ourselves having spiritual conversations a whole bunch more often.  Why not give it a try?  Slow down, take a stroll when your neighbor is playing catch with his child and just begin to talk.  Watch what Jesus does and follow His lead.  Use you PhD in Missional Living :-)