Harvard Ichthus Answers 200 Questions About God At Texts-4-Toasties
Texts-4-Toasties is an event where students text in a question about God or Christianity, and a volunteer answers their questions while delivering them a free sandwich. The Brown & RISD Cornerstone has hosted such an event at Brown University, while members of Swarthmore Peripateo have participated in one organized by the Christian fellowships at Swarthmore College.
Most recently, The Harvard Ichthus helda Texts-4-Toasties at Harvard University. Here’s an update from Peter Hickman, Editor-in-Chief:
Hi, friends of the Augustine Collective,
I wanted to update you on how Texts-4-Toasties went at Harvard. We initially planned one two-hour event on 5/5, but since we had great success with the first one and had extra supplies, we did a second round on 5/11.
We responded to 115 questions in Round 1 and 85 questions in Round 2, for a total of 200 questions answered! Forty students volunteered to deliver toasties, answer questions, cook, and man the computers in our three stations in Thayer Basement, a Pfoho kitchen, and the Leverett Rabbit Hole. The Ichthus staff made up the core group of organizers and helpers, but we got Christians from a variety of Catholic and Protestant groups to help out, too – some of them wanted to join the Ichthus by the end of it!
Through this event, we were able to share the Gospel of our Lord Jesus with many people, demonstate the presence and love of Christians on campus, think critically about the questions people have about Christianity, grow in our own boldness and understanding of the faith, and have fun! Personally, almost everyone I delivered to was grateful to have received the cheese or Nutella sandwich we deliver, and they were very cheerful. A few times I talked about the essence of Christianity and about what God has done in my own life. It was cool.
Here are some highlights that students shared:
The very first door I went to, I was going to answer “What does God think/feel about people who don’t believe in him?” I picked it because I was thinking “OK. This is gonna be an easy one–parable of lost coin/prodigal son… basically, God loves them so so so much and really really wants them to turn to him.” So I got to the door and gave that answer and the person was like “Great. Thanks! That was my roommate’s question. Here’s mine: Why should I believe in God? Do Christians think I’m going to hell because I don’t believe?” (or something like that) and in my head, I thought “Oh snap! Here we go!” and then the gospel hopped out of my mouth for 5ish minutes and she smiled and thanked me for the time and re-introduced herself and was apparently actually grateful. And I left thinking “WOW. That was amazing. We need to do stuff like this way more because that was the holy spirit in there. Wow.”
I delivered a sandwich to a freshman in Thayer. His question was a general question about the letters of the New Testament. After answering his initial question, he asked a few more general questions about the Bible, its format, etc. I think one of the reasons that the conversation stood out to me so much was because, unlike the other conversations I had, this one lasted beyond the initial Q&A. He told me that he is Catholic and that he sometimes attends mass at St. Paul’s, but he prefers to go to Spanish mass in Boston (his family is Spanish-speaking and he grew up going to Spanish mass). He mentioned that it might be worthwhile for St. Paul’s to consider having a Spanish mass, given that there is a significant enough number of Spanish-speaking Catholics at Harvard. … I told him that I would bring up this issue to the CSA. He seemed to be genuinely curious about the Bible, so I asked him if he might be interested in joining a Bible study through the CSA. He said he would definitely be interested in joining next semester!
One student texted in asking if she could meet someone to talk about what evidence there was that Christianity was true. I brought a toastie and made an appointment. Three days later, we sat for over an hour and discussed the rationale of my faith through a philosophical and scientific lens. It was perhaps the best conversation I’ve ever had with a non-Christian about Christianity. By the end of the conversation, we were friends, she understood Christianity in a new way, and I had given her my copy of The Reason For God by Timothy Keller. I watched God use my words to do his work and it was amazing.
As much as I (hope) I talked to them about God, I think God was taking the moment to remind me why it is necessary to stay in Christian community and make a practice of exploring His word. … I’ve been worried about the discipline it will take to maintain conversation with God “in the real world”–so this reminder was really timely in motivating me to keep seeking tools and truths to turn to when questions I don’t expect bubble up.
My fellow deliverer and I walked into a room with all three roommates at home. The one asking the question had changed her mind since she had sent the text and instead asked a much more difficult question: “How can a Christian say what they believe is true when so many people are also convinced that Judaism or Islam is true? Someone who is not convinced any of these religions are true (like me) has no way of really being able to choose one above the other”. This question has a lot of intellectual thought behind it, but I got the sense that she didn’t care so much about these intellectual answers so much as something that affected her personally. So I answered by first pointing out the uniqueness of Christianity among other religions in the gospel narrative. But as soon as I said the phrase “relationship with Jesus” she immediately had 10 other questions about this “relationship”. Thus a 15 minute conversation began about how somebody could accept the idea of this relationship amidst heaven, hell, and what we know of reality.
Please pray to God that he’d bless these conversations with fruit — people coming to churches, reading the Bible, and coming to know Jesus as Lord. Who knows what the results of these events could be? We’ll be doing this again next semester. Feel free to pass this email on to anyone who might be interested!
apologetics, Brown University, faith, Harvard University, reason, RISD, Swarthmore College