Wednesday, October 12, 2005

He's back...

"do you know the Lord...?"

I hear the voice and see my 'friend' the 'blanket bombing' American Evangelist (strangely having lost his accent!). Read about him (here).

Good relationships take time, there are several groups that we are getting to know us and there is something authentic about the relationships that are growing. In walks my friend - not knowing anyone, no relationship, no context - sits down and while a local street cleaner eats his breakfast - let's fly.

"No? so what are you going to do if you are run over tonight? What are you going to say to the Lord when you stand naked before him?"

I watch on helpless.

"You don't know... you're not interested.....well my friend I was like you until ..." etc...

The street cleaner, the one he was taking to got up and walked away. I watched on helpless.

Did I mention that we were gradually getting to know this guy? Did I mention we were gradually getting to be trusted by him? Did I mention that we were gradually getting into meaningful conversations with him? Did I mention that I'm not sure we have seen him since? Did I mention the potential collateral damage as our community lounge emptied as people ran for cover, to avoid being his next victim?

A conversation today made me feel guilty for being annoyed at this guy's blanket bombing approach to evangelism. Am I copping out of evangelism? Sarah Dylan at Sarahlaughed helped me.
"I believe that God's love and blessings are so rich that the whole world can't entirely contain them. The great urgency I feel (and believe me, I feel it!) as an evangelist (by which I mean a person called to enflesh Good News in the world such that people experience Good News in the world -- it's a shame that the word 'evangelist' has come in the popular usage to refer to someone who yells at everyone within earshot about Bad News) is to build communities of mercy, love, and justice broad enough to take in the fullest extent possible of God's passion for Creation."
The rest is here.


Kathryn said...

"Communities of mercy, love and justice.."
Sounds very like what we read about goings on in Poplar :=) (and yes, I know you weren't fishing: tis plain truth..)

Evangeline said...

You inspired a blog entry of mine, today :)

Oh, and I feel for you, btw. But on the bright side, love and gentleness DO make an impression... sometimes a week of love as a kid, no matter how horrible the rest of their childhood, can be the difference between an adult giving up on life, and seeking something better for real. We often notice only the negative... but I think we treasure the positive when everything looks bad. So don't give up hope... even if he never comes back, you sowed a seed.

Phil (Col 1:27-28) said...

Good post and yes I know how you feel, I think :). I remember when I much much younger, how we were sent out to go door to door witnessing. We would take a survey that would in the end leave no one room to evade the choice of Christ or of No to Christ Jesus. I so vividly remember questioning all of this as unreal, not genuine, phoney and plain and pure entrappment. It was manipulative and deceitful. I was embarrassed by it all. One day I refused to do it ever again.

Evangelism is truly rooted in living the life of Christ Jesus authentically and giving others a genuine reason to question us as to why we live as we do, walk as we do, talk as we do, reflecting Christ Jesus as we do? It isn't about statistics, Bible thumping nor guilt and fear instilling. It is the Holy Spirit's role to conviction, not ours.

Sorry got off on bit of rambling. Good post and thankyou for it.

Blessings in Christ Jesus!

Sister said...

I had moments like this again and again in internet evangelism. There always seemed to be one who turned up in the room at the worst possible moment, going on about hell and confronting those who were no way ready. But I also saw God use the chaos of internet chat rooms to bring many people to Christ. And they at least came in knowing the whole picture of the church! Beyond all the disruptions and interruptions, looking back, I can see the bigger picture of God working in the rooms as a whole, and it was an incredible thing to see people come to Christ. They DID come back. Once the questioning has begun they do come back, and there are opportunities to talk then about other perspectives, and the gift of listening to one another. Take heart!
Pax et bonum

Martin said...

What I really struggle with is that when you attempt to dialogue with people like this you feel like you're a heretic...they're right, they've got God on their side, you just don't have enough faith etc...but it just isn't that simple. Black and white it cetainly ain't! I am perfectly happy to be a wishy washy liberal if it means I don't need all the answers and prefer to love people for who they are, not their value for improving our statistics!

Bill said...

Great thoughts.
I think we need to change the definition of heracy. "One who pushes people away from a relationship with God" sounds good to me.

I probably would have to the American to leave or shut up.