Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head?


with one comment

Recent conversations have led me to think about various philosophies of evangelism.  So much about evangelism seems centered around numbers, growing attendance, that kind of thing.  Methods are tricky.  For years I grew up in Christian fundamentalism, and for me, the idea of evangelism meant leading a friend to the point of conversion, painting another mark on my proverbial fuselage, and moving on to the next victim lost soul. 

The practices of evangelism I grew up with involved inviting a friend to church or to youth group, living a Christian life in front of him or her, and talking about Jesus.  I quit wanting to invite people to church by the time I turned fifteen.  I felt embarrassed, really; very aware that my church environment would look very strange to most of my peers.  Being desperate for acceptance at that age, I wanted people to take me seriously, and I didn’t feel like I could be taken seriously at church. 

As a community, we quibble over things as petty as cigarettes and ashtrays, choruses and hymns, and methods of baptism.  We form bible study groups around The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings while we shun Harry Potter and ignore His Dark Materials.  One of the biggest vices within the Nazarene church in particular is alcohol.  People have actually lost their jobs for having a glass of wine at dinner.  I find it hard to take Christians seriously myself sometimes.   

We are starting to get hip to the fact that programmed efforts do not yield a lot of fruit, precisely for these and a host of other reasons.  A mentor told me once that God does not need me to save the world.  He needs me to obey.  And if we obey the call of Christ in our very human attempts to follow his example, we see that he was not interested in bringing people to tabernacle service every Sabbath.  Jesus established friendships with the people he met along the way, people like prostitutes, prisoners, collection agents.  I grew up in a place that spent most its time admonishing such people. 

We’re no better. 

And if we cannot take care of our own crap, the world will never expect us to take care of theirs. 


Written by taj

June 19, 2007 at 3:55 pm

Posted in Evangelism

One Response

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  1. Here’s the thing. What Jesus practiced and, therefore, what we are called (or even directed or commanded) to emulate is simply this: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and your neighbor as yourself. Your mentor is correct in saying that God doesn’t expect any of us to save the world. However, I would only agree with the suggestion of obedience if it is obedience to these two life directives.

    Re: Empire: There is only one empire of import and that one is Christ’s alone. Ted Haggard’s empire is only his if, as you so deftly stated, it places him as Emperor. No, Christ is Emporer and the rest of us (Ted, Bill, Rick, Billy, and me) are but servants to him.

    Re: fantasy to read. I realize that you are looking at current fantasy, but could I suggest something from the 1940s please? Robert A. Heinlein’s The Past Through Tomorrow — Future History stories?


    June 27, 2007 at 4:17 pm

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