Before moving to New Zealand last year, my days would consist of going to school, hanging out with friends outside of school, and other small things here and there. This group of friends I had were gathered over my middle school and beginning of high school days.
When I was about 14 or 15, around the time I started high school, I grew an interest in philosophy and theology. I remember having conversation after conversation with my dad about random philosophical ideas that I researched or thought about (as we still do today).
Although these conversations were great and taught me much of what I know today, I always wanted more people to have these conversations with. My friends were unlike me in regards to my interest in philosophy; they would fall asleep the second I would try to bring up a philosophical concept to try to debate or discuss it.
I was always frustrated and thought they were too dumb to hold deeper conversations, but looking back now I can see how most 16-year-old kids don’t like those kinds of things, and I was actually the outlier the whole time.
Reconnecting with them
After moving to New Zealand, I stopped talking to my friends regularly. For the first time in months, I started talking to them over Skype.
At first our conversations were just about our lives or random things that were no different from what they used to be. Surprisingly, over time, our conversations changed to be more serious.
Topics about morality, religion, and other philosophical ideas, which normally would be brought up by myself, were brought up by my friends. Because I had been waiting for years for this moment, I was excited and ready to launch in conversation.
My role in the conversation
Although I wanted to butt in constantly, I decided to hold my tongue for a while; I wanted to do this to see where they would take the conversation. They were probably talking about morality for a couple of hours.
I did not say much but did realize fairly quickly that their arguments against each other were just going in circles. I knew my friends and that ultimately meant that I knew none of them were going to admit they were wrong.
The happy ending
Although my friends basically just ended up bickering at each other about their thoughts on morality for hours, there is a happy ending for me in this story.
After talking to them (more listening), I became discouraged because I took their stubbornness as them not caring about the conversation. After thinking about it more though, I was completely wrong about that.
My friends from home are simply stubborn around each other and that will never change. What did change was them caring about these deep topics that matter. In high school, they were not concern about these things.
Although none of them are Christians, none of them took these ideas as seriously as they probably should be taken. Now however, they are at least thinking about them and willing to talk about them.
Hopefully, with time, more conversations that are similar to the one I described will hatch out of us talking. I can only pray that these small conversations my friends are having about philosophical ideas in general will turn into bigger conversations about philosophy and more specifically Christianity and Jesus.
It was unbelievably encouraging to just sit back and listen to my friends talk about these concepts and ideas that I have been interested in for years now. Although I could have constantly interrupted and argued their points to death, I realized that letting my friends talk was the best thing to do.
Jackson Laninga is a student at Auckland University of Technology. He grew up in Arizona, but moved to New Zealand to study communications.