9.21.2008

funky messenger

so i'm driving to target the other day ~ because for some reason rather than just sign over my paycheck, i actually like to make multiple trips and drop the money slowly. as i was sitting at a stop light i couldn't help but notice a man in a hot pink sandwich board standing on the corner. the board subtlety said:

Believe on
JESUS
CHRIST
Read the King
James Bible or
BURN

i wonder if i'll ever get to the point where things like this don't tick me off... thank God he's sovereign and in control. because left to our own devices, humans keep trying to muck up his message.

this man's neon sandwich board bothered me for 2 (that i can think of right now...) reasons. first, as a christian, it is so insulting to see this yahoo standing on the corner peddling salvation like it's the blue plate special. let me explain... you know when you're driving down the road and you come across a grown man dressed in a giant sub-sandwich costume dancing around trying to get you to turn into _______ (insert sandwich shop name here) for today's special?? let's all be honest for a moment. what is YOUR reaction? my mouth does not start watering for a meatball sub. no, i laugh at the ridiculousness of his marketing strategy. seeing an adult dancing around like a goof ball does not make me take his message seriously. am i the only one?

secondly, ignoring the medium, let's look at the message. with the limited space that a sandwich board provides (maybe 2ft x 4ft) and with all the amazing, enticing truth packed into Christianity, is it really necessary to include the threat of burning in hell??? simplistically, faith is a gift. some would say it's an invitation to relationship. is the threat of eternal damnation really the right foot on which to start that relationship? think about it. you've just moved into a new house and your neighbor comes by to invite you to a block party. without taking the time to even say, "we'd love to have you join us" she instead says, "come to the block party tonight at 7pm or we're going to break into your house and murder your family in their sleep." sure you might come to the party... but with what kind of attitude? and for how long would you stay??? long term, are you looking to foster that relationship? or are you just going to do the bare minimum to keep your family safe? "scaring people with hell" is an empty invitation that seems NOTHING like biblical Christianity.

in the short period that i've been a Christian, i've become MUCH less judgemental about different evangelistic styles. you know, in the beginning i had tunnel vision. my experience just had to be the best and probably the only real way to evangelize. as i mature, i'm continually learning that God created us all with different strengths and ultimately, He's doing the converting. we're just the tools he's using in lots of different ways. with my personality, sharing my faith in the context of relationship seems to be a pretty Christ-like approach. but, i'm no longer so arrogant to believe it is the only method God uses. i mean i'd never do it, but i've even come to understand the motivation behind passing out tracks. (tracks are pieces of paper with scripture that you get handed on the street or in a mall or that appear on your car when you've been in a bar...) i personally find that method uncomfortable, but now i understand why someone would believe it to be effective - after all, scripture is powerful and God is sovereign.

however, i'm hard pressed to believe that i will ever understand or get behind threatening or arguing someone into faith. it just seems to be so not like anything that Christ would do/did. and anyway, did they even have neon pink sandwich boards back then? surely not. but then, i've never read the king james translation ... maybe it's in there.

1 comment:

Christina said...

I am not well traveled but in my limited experience with the outside world I do believe that this method of "witnessing" is quite popular down here. Another popular method is the "standing on the side of the road next to your van shouting into a mega phone" approach which for some reason irritates me just as much.