One recent example of how frequently we get to interact with the diverse people groups of New York City is our new friend Shamanunda. He is a Hare Krishna from India who is here in the city to study under a very famous guru. He stopped by the park one week because he was struck by the words of Jesus displayed on the side of our van - "Go out into the streets and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." When Ryan went over to greet him for the first time, Shamanunda said, "These words of Jesus and the work you guys are doing... this is compassion." This sparked a very deep discussion about our religious beliefs and the identity of Jesus. Shamanunda believes that Jesus is one of many ways to God, and that each person should practice the religion that works best for them. Of course, this is not what Jesus taught, and in each of our encounters with Shamanunda, we have been able to challenge him on the exclusive claims that Jesus made about himself, such as, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the father except through me" (John 14:6).
|Ryan talking to Shamanunda about Christ|