Great new comments on this blog

April 19, 2010

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My short post 14 Reasons to Stop Evangelizing Your Friends is the post that will not die! Despite (or because of) its brevity โ€” I just put things out without much explanation โ€” 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.

Thanks, Andrew


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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

(Dear reader, if you find value in blog one another, would you pass it on? Tim shared more than a link โ€” he shared his personal observations and recommendation. As you can see, if it gets to the right people, we all benefit.)

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

4 responses to Great new comments on this blog

  1. I always have felt that I never learned to share my faith, to evangelize, to lead them to Christ. I even feel guilty about it. Do you want me to change? Do you want me to learn how to do it so I can go forward and not do it the way you are saying not to do it.
    I’ve always felt that I’m inadequate to share. That I’m broken and failed, but long ago mixed with recently I’ve come to accept how great is the Love of the Lord for me. How he takes this broken vessel and helps it hold water. And so I drink and I’m filled more and more to hope overflowing. So shouldn’t I want to share what He has done for me and for my friend?

  2. Jon, these are great. I especially love the story about Brother Joachim. I was recently on a hike with a friend who used to be a Christian. Back in my “evangelizing” days, I would have strategized about how I could win her over, gone through my 5 point speech. Instead, we had a great conversation about being content in all situations, about the Apostle Paul, and about the Bhagavad Gita (sp?), and all sorts of other things. Anyway, we had a great time, and we both learned a lot. I think we both grew spiritually from our conversation. Not having an agenda let me relax and listen to her, and me not being pushy made it so that she might actually want to talk to me again ๐Ÿ™‚ Relaxing also leaves room for me to listen to God, and let Him speak through me. MUCH better than trying to “make a sale”.

  3. CRK, I have to thank Robert Crabbe (who was then a home group leader, now a pastor). He told me about challenging his group: “How has your evangelism worked out? No so good? Then whatever you’re doing, cut it out.” In other words, it’s not happening that way anyway. But there is a way.
    I totally relate to the pressure and the guilt. I once took Kay out to “do evangelism” the way I had been taught: walking up to total strangers and trying to initiate conversation about “spiritual things.” It was a disaster. Kay still won’t let me forget that one!
    I used to think of myself as an evangelistic failure. But once I let go of doing it the way I was taught to do it, and shifted from talking to listening (to people and to the Holy Spirit), then I could say, “Maybe I can do this after all.”
    I hope you can find a way that is truly you, and not somebody else.

  4. Samia,
    You’re รขโ‚ฌโ€ gasp รขโ‚ฌโ€ listening to God as you spend time with others? What an idea! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Yes, it’s more relaxing, more fun.
    And when I grow up, I want to be like Brother Joachim.