Sunday, February 12, 2006

Why is it?

That we have let evangelism become a dirty word. How did we let a certain brand of Christianity seize that word and make their definition the only way it is conceived?

Next Sunday's Gospel reading tells of a group of friends who are so convinced that their friend must see Jesus that they are willing to embark on home dis-repair. They tear/dig a hole in the roof to lower him down. (I always wonder what the homeowner thought of their solution.) What interests me is that Mark does not tell us what the man on the bed thought about the whole process. Whose choice was this (whatever the results might have been)?

But such passion strikes me. IT strikes me because I don't feel it, I don't see it. When have I been that convinced that someone I know needs to see/meet Christ? When has my faith led me to push that hard? Can't think of a time.

And yet, isn't that part of who we are? Aren't we called to be those people who, somehow, draw people to God? Admittedly there are a number of ways to do it. Not all of us are going to stand at Speaker's Corner haranguing passers by. Not all of us will go door-to-door asking people if they have God in their life. But if we have experienced God's healing, God's power, and God's love in our lives what makes us reticent to tell others about it, to say "this might be what you are looking for"?

Unless we in the church can learn to share our faith and invite others in we risk becoming a meaningless sub-culture. WE have to reclaim evangelism as something that we do in our own way--not just something that they do. The only challenge (especially for those Introverts among us) is "how?".


  1. Gord, it seems to me there are two reasons for evangelizing. One is a belief that you have knowledge that is absolutely necessary and soul-saving for the targets in the next life. The other is a joy in something that is absolutely necessary and soul-saving for this life. What would it take for us to be joyously shouting the Good News the way the leper in Mark 1:40-45 did?
    I've read some blog discussions recently in which women ten or fifteen years younger than I complain bitterly about church and their parents. I can't get a sense about what they find wrong with church, other than the association to their parents. Their youthful experience can't have been a joyful one, can it? They warn new mothers against the possibility of "stealth baptisms" engineered by grandparents and state emphatically that they will not take their children to Sunday School. You'd think they were protecting their kids from something life-threatening.
    Did they find church life-threatening? Was it soul-crushing for them?
    I wish I understood better. When thirtysomethings come to my church, they seem to like it, but how to get them there?

  2. In Canada, it is simply a matter of never having been to church, for the most part. We don't have that culture/religion confusion that the US has. I can well understand how people south of the border would want to be careful to avoid church (if that is their aim), because Christianity in one form or another is so much part of the culture there.

    But that said, and here is the part that baffles me: Canadian church-avoiders are just as hostile to their idea of "church" as though they actually had bad memories of it. In fact, as though they had any memories of it at all.