I stepped out into the pouring rain on Penn State University’s campus, expecting to unnerve any challengers of what I believe as a conservative Christian. Two hours later, I left the gorgeous campus with a new friend, a new attitude, sharper perspective, and a softer approach.
STATE COLLEGE, Penn. — My first impression of the young woman seated in the sea of computers in Penn State’s Pattee-Paterno Library was the intensity in her eyes as she studied.
My second impression was her warm smile, as I approached her cubicle to ask if she had a few minutes to talk politics.
“Well I could use a break,” she said, “so let’s go over to the fountain.”
Noora Albraiki looked exhausted. Two days earlier the petite Muslim woman was strolling across campus when a young man passing out literature starting shouting in her direction. Albraiki said the fellow was a Christian missionary who began to bully her about her religion being “wrong.”
“It really made me sad,” she said, “but I wasn’t going to let his bullying make me feel intimidated. It upset me how he was totally making fun of what I believe [while] showing me how Jesus — how Christianity — is the only way. He wanted to show me his religion is right, but he kept teasing me and teasing me and wouldn’t let me speak.”
I understood what she was saying. I am an evangelical Christian, and I often struggle with how best to share what I believe. But my biggest frustration is usually with those who do believe as I do; not with those who don’t.More