Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The E-Word Again

Ordinary Time


So I was just thinking, we don't talking about evangelism enough on this here blog. No, that's a lie, I would never think something like that. I couldn't even finish my own half-written, amazingly brilliant series on the subject. If I'd finished it, however, I'd have asked Mike to write the introduction.

The Primate of Idaho tells a story:
I think that evangelism is odd. DO NOT get me wrong. If any of you know me in person, you know how I approach this whole subject. But, most of the time I want to punch the little aspiring-Finney in the teeth. Just yesterday I was asked by these two little charismatic evangelicals if I wanted to stick my finger on this "special spiritual card" that would change colors if I was a good person. It didn't change colors. I am obviosuly bound to hell. Until I master the fine practice of alchemy, it looks like I am damned with the rest of the cardholders whose color never did anything. It's ok, I guess. They asked me if I knew who Jesus was. I said yes, he is a guy and God. They smiled. I was then given 140 dollars in concert tickets to a bunch of CCM artisits who will play here in August. I sold them for a hundred. Everybody wins. Anywho, back to evagelism, I think we need to rethink it. Maybe even stop and try to do this whole "incarnational living" thing that the Gospels like to talk about. Taking on Christ and such... Maybe they weren't too far off with that issue... I mean, do you see St. Paul with a color-changy card?
Sometimes people have to ask the important questions and start ditching some (little t) traditions in the name of faithfulness to Christ and his Church. This is one of them. And I promise you, there are no babies in that bathwater. None. Not a baby to be found. There rarely is.

Amen.

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16 comments:

Manchester Chris said...

I got into trouble for writing about evangelism, mainly because I don't much like it.

Post The First
Post The Second

and then there was that time that I got tricked into evangelism. I'm still upset about that.

Stephen (aka Q) said...

One of the strengths of the Emergent Movement (at least in theory), is this shift away from "the four spiritual laws" approach to evangelism.

Evangelism as a dialogue instead of a monologue. The Gospel as a compellingly attractive message that people don't have to be hoodwinked into embracing. Discipleship as something more than merely raising your hand while everyone around you carefully averts their eyes.

These are revolutionary concepts, apparently.

fernando said...

evangelism is something I frequently think about, but standing on a street corner trying to coerce strangers into saying some magic words is not part of it. not part of it at all.

in fact the only meaningful evangelistic experiences I have had arose with people who already knew me for some time. the conversation arose at their prompting and was framed by their curiosity.

Jared Cramer said...

i think brent bates had some good thoughts on evangelism and conversion over at his blog:

http://pilgrimagetocanterbury.blogspot.com/2006/07/evangelism-conversion.html

Chris said...

Kyle! You would have loved this!

Brad and I and his friends were waiting for our bus back to London from Paris yesterday and we were hanging outside a supermarket near the bus station, getting food for the bus when this Austrian guy came up to us and asked if he could talk to us about 'things.' He then asked if we ever thought about God, and brad was like "Actually, I'm studying theology at Oxford...all i do all day long is think about God." Eventually we realized he was 'evangelizing' but it took some time because he was super awkward, not comfortable with english, and would just stand there and stare! Literally...for like, 2 minutes at a time! We tried to make small talk and ask him about his travel plans and group and stuff, but he wouldn't talk about it at all.

Any how, we told him we were Christians, but that wasn't good enough for him, he wanted to know HOW we were Christians...the WAY in which we lived. I told him we read the bible, lived in community, attended church, etc. He asked which church and I told him an Anglican one, since, y'know, we live in England and all. He asked me if I thought it was really the 'right' form of Christianity at which point I nearly went postal on him. I told him that I could talk about this subject for hours, but that trapping me outside a supermarket in Paris when I needed to catch a bus back to London in 10 minutes was not the appropriate time or place to do it. He asked for my e-mail and got out a mechanical pencil. The only problem was, the lead wouldn't work and eventually fell out. I didn't say anything but thought that it might be a sign from the Lord :P Eventually, I gave him a fake hotmail address for him to remember and booted it out of there!

On the one hand, I feel sorry for the guy, as he must live a really difficult life trying to convince everyone of THE TRUTH. But on the other hand, he really pissed me off because his attitude was that of condemnation rather than love...

Manchester Chris said...

I go to the 'wrong' kind of church, I'm pretty sure of that. I used to go to the 'right' kind of church but they pissed me right off and I left.

Manchester Chris said...

Um, I'm clearly not the same Chris as the other one above. This could get confusing.

Chris said...

No, we are the same Chris, that half of me just doesn't want you to know the truth! Muahahahhaha!

Rob said...

What in the world....

Kyle said...

Manchester Chris, I got your back. "Evangelism" needs some careful redefinition by people who actually have the interest and ability to teach what it means to begin and continue life in Christ within the fellowship of his Church, and the "gospel presentations" of modernist evangelicalism just don't cut it. There is a good way to be Christian, as Alan would say, and we need to be teaching that in a holistic way.

Canadian Chris, you complete me. Freak. You know, I'm surprised Brad didn't karate chop that dude. I don't know what happens to fundamentalists to make them think, in addition to everything else, that they are the one person who has an adequete apprenticeship to Jesus (even among other Christians who can affirm the same evangelical statements!) and has to go check up on the rest of us. Go figure. Thanks for telling the story. "I'm an Anglican, and you're a bastard. Have a nice day."

Q-Man, I think that's so right. What's more, folks like McLaren are doing a good job getting it across that bringing Good News to people requires ongoing personal contexualization: we ask, what does it mean for Jesus to move in and bless a particular person? How might I cooperate with God in introducing the work and reality of Christ's salvation into the specific lives of the specific people around me? That's so freaking important...

... as Fernando points out. Welcome back, man!

I enjoyed Brent's post, Jared. It's hard for Episcopalians to talk about evangelism. I blame the Baptists. :0D

Bless your heart, Rob. :0)

Anonymous said...

Gentlemen, I share your beliefs. Never really liked the holier-than-thou, preachy, fire-and-brimstone types. However, I am also shocked at your lack of tolerance for non-C of E'ers, the language you use when referring to them (e.g., calling them "bastards" is going a bit overboard, don't you think?), and YOUR OWN holier-than-thou attitude. From your group's blogs, exchanges and comments, I see emerging bad habits. No pun intended. Let's not forget that in the end, it's one God we serve and share faith in.

-mike- said...

I'm not even Anglican...

Kyle said...

Hahaha

Dumbass.

-mike- said...

:)

Manchester Chris said...

I'm not Anglican, but I would be if my Presby girlfriend would let be abandon Evangelicalism.

Kyle said...

Canadian Chris, next time you must do the right thing and call him back to the True Religion of the Church of England by beating the ruffian about the head and neck with the BCP - the earlier the edition, the better.