I was eating alone in a middle-eastern restaurant in Albuquerque when a classic imam with a black beard and all-black costume asked if he could join me. Without any further pleasantries, he said,
“Could God ever change his mind?”
“Of course,” I replied.
He was clearly taken aback. “What do you mean?”
I said, “To say ‘no’ would be placing limitations upon God.”
He paused a few seconds, smiled, and continued, “O.K., O.K.—would God ever change his mind?”
I raised my eyebrows, shook my head, and shrugged.
He then sat back in his chair, self-satisfied, and made a gesture with his hands that clearly meant “Alright then, are you going to convert to Islam?”
Without another word he politely got up and left the table.
It was fascinating—practically guerilla dada theatre—but as conversations with explicitly religious people in public places go, I will always treasure the one with the nun.