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Tony Campolo tells of a conversation he had on an airplane:


It was one o'clock in the morning when I boarded the red-eye flight going from California to Philadelphia. I was looking forward to getting some rest, but the guy next to me wanted to talk.

He asked, "What do you do?"


Now when I want to talk, I say I'm a sociologist, and they say, "That's interesting." But if I really want someone to shut up, I say I'm a Baptist evangelist. Generally that does it.



"I'm a Baptist evangelist," I said.


"Do you know what I believe?" he asked. I could hardly wait. "I believe that going to heaven is like going to Philadelphia."


"There are many ways to get to Philadelphia," he continued. "Some go by airplane. Some go by train. Some go by bus. Some drive by automobile. It doesn't make any difference how we go there. We all end up at the same place."


"Profound," I said and went to sleep.


As we started descending to Philadelphia, the place was fogged in. The wind was blowing, the rain was beating on the plane, and everyone looked nervous and tight. As we were circling in the fog, I turned to the theological expert on my right." "I'm certainly glad the pilot doesn't agree with your theology," I said.


"What do you mean?" he asked.


"The people in the control tower are giving instructions to the pilot: "Coming north by northwest, three degrees, you're on beam, you're on beam, don't deviate from the beam." I'm glad the pilot's not saying, "There are many ways into the airport. There are many approaches we can take." I'm glad he's saying, "There's only one way we can land this plane, and I'm going to stay with it."

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