We have all received an e-mail from either family or friends soliciting a response to a questionnaire. You know the one. It asks about our favorite color or cuisine or your pet’s name. One question is invariably asked in each survey. “Which historical person would you most enjoy to have dinner with?” The answer most given is “Jesus Christ.” David Gregory’s book “Dinner with a Perfect Stranger” (WaterBrook Press) gives the reader the opportunity to sit down and dine with Jesus.
Nick Cominsky receives a dinner invitation in his mail at his place of employment. Not just any invitation, but one to dine with Jesus of Nazareth. Skeptical, to say the least, he calculates that the invitation was sent either by a church group or he must be the object of a practical joke designed by friends at work. Opting for the latter, he decides to attend even though a night out will put him in the doghouse at home.
Arriving at the restaurant, one well known to him, he is immediately ushered in by the maitre d’ to meet his host for the evening. The friends he suspected to have concocted the charade are no where to be found, but rather a nondescript man sitting at the table introduces himself as Jesus.
Incredulous at the initial greeting and handshake, Nick’s demeanor is sarcastic and discourteous. He makes a few attempts to leave, but for one reason or another he decides to stay and begins to measure this “Jesus” character much as a prize fighter would his opponent in the opening rounds.
Gregory paces the conversation through a four course meal-appetizer, salad, main course and desert. With each course the topics of discussion varied and grew in intensity. They discussed the shortcomings of world religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. They discussed the historical aspects of the Bible. Also, the shortfalls of the teachings of Christianity.
As the evening progressed and the twosome moved through their remaining courses of the meal, self-examination was discussed along with God’s forgiveness of transgressions. But it was unlike anything that Nick had ever heard before in any religion class. For God and Jesus are one and God, our Creator, died for our sins to redeem us..
By the end of dinner and as the two had coffee, Nick was no longer in a defensive mode and queried his host on a variety of topics. He came a long way that evening and by the time they departed each others company, Nick felt a change inside.
David Gregory’s “Dinner with a Perfect Stranger” is a must read not only for those seeking answers to questions on religion, but for those seeking to rebuild themselves spiritually. The book packs a wallop in its mere 100 pages and written for the layman in an easy to understand format. The reader may be tempted to conjure up a question or two he/she may have.