Saturday, March 18, 2006

Evangelism

I am reading A.K.A. Lost right now. Its a book about a bad word. Evangelism. Evangelism is a bad word for me. Most of my experience with evangelism has been programmatic war-like evangelical crap. You know ask the person "if you died tomorrow where would you go?" Lead them down the Roman road. Ask them to say a prayer and go on your way. Crap like I said. Or worse it was "friendship evangelism." Make a friend so you can bring them to church. If you did not you were guilt tripped. But what if you friend refused? Move on to another friend. This was the height of Crap. So I stopped. I was in positions where people would ask me about God and such but for the most part I stopped all forms of evangelism. I would only talk about God if they brought it up. I am still there. I teach but I never, never, steer a conversation to talk about God. Does that make me a bad chaplain? Maybe. But many who have seen Crap Evangelism are attracted to God because of it.

Jim Henderson in AKA Lost talks about many things. I think the most refreshing is that evangelism starts with, and ends with, being real. If the real you is a jerk then I guess continue to use crap evangelism. But if we are called to love then the fist thing is to really love others. And so what, (see I'm doing good at not swearing) if their relationship with God or their doctrine does not match yours. Good. Steve Taylor wrote these words some 20 years ago now:

I want to be a clone:
I'd gone through so much other stuff
that walking down the aisle was tough
but now I know it's not enough
I want to be a clone

I asked the Lord into my heart
they said that was the way to start
but now you've got to play the part
I want to be a clone

chorus:
Be a clone and kiss conviction goodnight
cloneliness is next to Godliness, right?
I'm grateful that they show the way
'cause I could never know the way
to serve him on my own
I want to be a clone

They told me that I'd fall away
unless I followed what they say
who needs the Bible anyway?
I want to be a clone

Their language it was new to me
but Christianese got through to me
now I can speak it fluently
I want to be a clone

(chorus)

Send in the clones
Ah, I kind of wanted to tell my friends and people about it, you know
What?
You're still a babe
you have to grow
give it twenty years or so
'cause if you want to be one of his
got to act like one of us

(chorus)

So now I see the whole design
my church is an assembly line
the parts are there
I'm feeling fine
I want to be a clone

I've learned enough to stay afloat
but not so much I rock the boat
I'm glad they shoved it down my throat
I want to be a clone

Everybody must get cloned

I guess much of the church is in the business of making clones. Crap evangelism also has too many strings attached. We hook them (in fact youth ministers are taught about hooks, anything to get them to come) we then either at the same time or a different time scare the crap out of them with hell (I won't say much about that) and try to make clones. I guess that is why I say this kind of evangelism is crap. It is not biblical I do not believe.

Scripture evangelism as I read it is about giving account for you actions. Why do you do this or that? Scripture evangelism takes amongst others. Scripture evangelism loves people and is genuine. I guess that all I'm saying is let us love others. Instead of making others clones of ourselves, why don't we all admit that we are all screwed up, and need God's mercy and love. In doing so we will be real. Anything less then real and the those who Jesus misses the most will have nothing to do with us.

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