My short post 14 Reasons to Stop Evangelizing Your Friends is the post that will not die! Despite (or because of) its brevity — I just put things out without much explanation — it has drawn over more comments than anything else I’ve written. Today I want to highlight two recent ones that I find particularly insightful.
Andrew Ovenden writes:
A friend, Tim, recommended your blog, and I thought I’d check it out. I think you hit the nail on the head with the 14-point list above. However, I have to admit that I’m actually a little taken aback by some of the comments that you’ve received.
Way back in my college years, I would have been proud to say I was an agnostic. We had a constant stream of “fire and brimstone” evangelists yelling at us in the commons while we ate our lunches. To me, it was a cacophonous recitation of biblical verses, out of context, cut-and-pasted together to fit their chosen message of the day. One summer, I had an opportunity to work on an archaeological dig at a California mission that was still an active monastery. For our keep, we had to contribute some labour to the monastery. I was sent to work in the garden with Brother Joachim, a young 70+ with the energy of a teenager. I never heard him talk scripture or recite verses, but we would talk about nature and how fascinated he was by the way God designed grape vines, and soil, and all the little pieces that came together to provide food. It seems that he brought me closer to God almost without ever mentioning His name.
Anyway, I really do appreciate your 14-point list above. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. I’m surprised by some of the reactions from your fellow Christians. As a health care worker, I see people dying of, or suffering from, all kinds of illnesses, especially heart disease, respiratory illness, diabetes, all too often completely preventable. I could “evangelize” to them, as in “You should NOT SMOKE!” You should eat properly” “Eat a SALAD!!!” Now, granted, it is my job to (to the best of my skills) “save” my patients. But, unless I choose my words wisely, if I don’t listen to them FIRST, but instead start preaching at them, then I will lose their attention and respect completely. I would have been better off saying nothing at all.
Here’s another, but I won’t quote the whole thing. Dana Baldwin writes:
We treat Christianity as a product, the church as a business, and ourselves as salespeople who have just returned from training on how to be “hard closers for Christ.”
Think about it. Pray about it.
As it turns out, Dana is also a friend of Tim’s, who recently wrote about this blog on his Facebook wall. Thanks again, Tim! The benefit is not in “getting more readers,” but in hearing from thoughtful people who, regardless of their faith background, help me grow in my own faith. And I pass it on in the hope that, for someone out there, it will be the right word at the right time. Let us consider how we may blog one another on toward love and good deeds, eh?
There is another thing I want to point out. Tim is not a Christian. Neither is Andrew. Things are sure going to pot around here! 😉
(Dear reader, if you find value in blog one another, would you pass it on? Tim shared more than a link — he shared his personal observations and recommendation. As you can see, if it gets to the right people, we all benefit.)