As we enter the festive season, we may be faced with opportunities to talk about Jesus and the Christian story. Mark Roques looks at how we can approach these conversations

Consider two conversations about motorbikes on the streets of Leeds.

Less fruitful conversation:

“My name is George. I love my Honda Goldwing motorbike. What would Jesus say about that?”

“Talking about motorbikes is worldly. Can I tell you about Jesus?”

“No thanks. I’m going for a ride on my Honda.”

More fruitful conversation:

“My name is George. I love my Honda Goldwing motorbike. What would Jesus say about that?”

“My name is Rocky and I love motorbikes. I used to ride a yellow Puch moped, wearing a cheap, tacky, yellow helmet. All my friends laughed at me. When I was about 40 I bought a Honda CB 250. It was great fun.”

“Are motorbikes mentioned in the Bible?”

“Sadly they are not mentioned in scripture but we can gain wisdom about motorbikes if we understand the message of the Bible.”

“That sounds a bit daft. Tell me more.”

“Well, Om Banna is a shrine located near Jodhpur in India where the locals pray to a 350 cc Royal Enfield Bullet motorbike.”

“You are joking aren’t you Rocky?”

“No I’m not. Hundreds of people turn up every day to pray to the sacred bike to help them on their travels.”

“That is very strange.”

 

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“My cousin Sam is a committed atheist and he would say that praying to a motorbike is irrational and superstitious. Sam believes that only physical stuff is real. There is no God, soul, spirit, angels.”

“I can see where Sam is coming from. You’ve explained it nicely.”

“Nowadays Sam’s views are increasingly unfashionable. My friend Jill would say that praying to a motorbike is cool. Be true to yourself. Whatever works for you is best. Individual choice is sacred.

“To be frank I would probably agree with Jill.”

“Now the locals in Jodhpur would say that praying to the sacred motorbike is the right thing to do because the spirit in the motorbike can help you as you drive your motorbike on the dangerous roads of India.”

“Is that it? Are they the only options then, Rocky?”

“No, of course not. The New Testament doesn’t mention motorbikes or even helicopters, but it tells us very clearly that it is very foolish to pray to motorbikes. Jesus Christ is the creator and saviour of the world. He can answer your prayers if you seek him.

“To be honest that sounds intolerant, Rocky.”

“Many would say that, but do think about all the strange things and people that humans worship. It’s not just motorbikes. Some worship rats, snakes and crocodiles. Others worship the Duke of Edinburgh, Maradona and even the ace cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. Think about this carefully and you will see that worshipping all these false gods can only do you harm. Jesus Christ is Lord and he alone can answer our prayers.”

“I must say, Rocky, I don’t agree with you but I have really enjoyed this conversation.”

“George, would you take me out for a spin on your fab bike?”s

“Yes, that sounds like a great idea. I have a spare helmet but it isn’t yellow. Does that work for you?”

This article was originally published on the Thinking Faith Network website.

 

Mark Roques taught Philosophy and Religious Education at Prior Park College, Bath, for many years. As Director of RealityBites he has developed a rich range of resources for youth workers and teachers. He has spoken at conferences in the UK, Holland, South Korea, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. Mark is a lively storyteller and the author of four books, including The Spy, the Rat and the Bed of Nails: Creative Ways of Talking about Christian Faith. His work is focused on storytelling and how this can help us to communicate the Christian faith. He has written many articles for the Baptist Times, RE Today, Youthscape, Direction magazine and the Christian Teachers Journal.