Saturday, March 31, 2007

Antagonistic Evangelism

Michael Spencer recently read I'm Okay -- And You're Not by John Shore and reviewed it:

In Shore’s opinion, American evangelicals have saturated our culture with the facts of the Gospel to the point that non-Christians are often filled with astounded dread that we keep telling them Jesus died for their sins and they must believe the Gospel to be saved. If that is the case, then Christians need to stop being annoyingly repetitive communicators (i.e. pressure sales, manipulation, rudeness, etc.) and start showing love, respect, concern, friendship and compassion to the non-Christians (”Normies”) they know.

[snip]

Shore ends each chapter with sets of extended comments from unbelievers on what they want to say to Christians. Shore calls these sections “Ouch,” and that’s what they are. These unbelievers are articulate, thoughtful and way out in front of many Christians on the subject of love, respect and dialog.

Shore appeals to Christians to ponder the nature of love, the importance of honest and mature Christian character and how relationships with non-Christians really look. Shore speaks so much common sense, and skips so much Christian-ese and predictable rhetoric that some Christians will be offended immediately. Younger, thoughtful, humble Christians who know something is very wrong will find Shore saying exactly what they’ve been thinking.

It sounds like an interesting book.

4 comments:

jim said...

I wonder if you might find it appropriate to let me off restriction--maybe unblock my IP address?

jim

John said...

I'll try to figure out how.

MethoDeist said...

I think that I can give a unique perspective on this board regarding such an issue since I am a Deist who practices Dharma and attends a Methodist church where I am active.

I grew up with many people trying to convert me using the tactics of "salvation from sin" and "salvation from Hell." Obviously it never worked because I grew up around many that were non-believers and experienced people who presented love, compassion and kindness to others and themselves.

I met and knew (and know) people that were Christian, Deist, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, Agnostic, Unitarian and other faiths that would take too long to type out. There are and were good and not so good people in all groups. Which is what led to my problem with the "sin" and "hell" tactics (and still does to this day).

While there are many good people that show love, kindness and compassion that are Christian there are just as many other people of other faiths that do the same. While there are many nasty people that show hate, anger and control that are Christian there are just as many other people of other faiths that so the same.

So, if accepting Jesus as your lord and savior means that you are to practice love, forgiveness and kindness due to being filled with the holy spirit then why are there so many others capable of such actions that are not filled with the holy spirit.

While there are many Christians that experience wonderful spirituality there are just as many people of other faiths that do so as well and vice versa.

So, if accepting Jesus as lord and savior allows you to develop a relationship with God because sin is forgiven then how to explain all those non-Christians that experience God and the spiritual without such an action.

I know of many Gen Xers and Gen Yers that are turned off by Christianity and church for these very reasons. They have grown up around too many people to accept and believe that their friend who is a Buddhist and is nice and kind will burn in Hell while their fundamentalist Christian neighbor that shows nothing but hatred and anger will spend eternity in heaven.

However, I have seen those that have nothing but contempt for the church (myself included) come around to a whole new view when approached by those practicing the Great Commandments rather than the Great Commission. I never wanted to walk into another church again with what I grew up with in the Bible Belt but upon meeting my wife, her family and her church I was shown that there are those Christians that are truly wonderful people and would rather practice what Jesus told them to than to try and convert by use of fear.

Essentially, they kill with kindness.

I will have to read that book and I believe that it is important for Christians to read it so as to have a better understanding of non-believers and the unchurched alike. I believe that the relevence of the church in the future within our society depends on it.

MethoDeist

John said...

John Wesley said that love was the essential mark or sign of being a Christian.

I remember, as an atheist, trying to associate with the Christians in college. But they were elitist snobs who considered me too lowly to be worthy of their company.

Well, some of the Christians. There was one notable suggestion, and he's my co-blogger.