So I was transported back in time this weekend as I hung out with some church folks (not my church) who spent some time talking about evangelism. It was a very interesting and somewhat discouraging transportation into a culture that I intentionally left behind a while back.
There were some bright spots - or one, at least - when one of the speakers talked about his relational evangelism. There was a glimmer there of the unconditional love and pursuit of relationship because of how much God loves every person. We also talked through James Cheung's process of sharing. What I find interesting about that is that the only time I can imagine busting that out is if I'm specifically asked what it means to be a Christian. But faith conversations seem to really go in bits and pieces over a long period of time, and almost never have I had the opportunity to just share a little pre-fab explanation.
But the most discouraging part of the weekend was talking with someone who is currently working on a college campus as an evangelist. The only thing that he could see was valuable was an actual gospel "presentation" that apparently he uses when he walks up to strangers and starts a spiritual conversation. When I asked him what he thought about emotional barriers to faith, he simply brushed that thought aside, as apparently he does to every objection someone has to the "gospel message". Hard core, man.
By the end of the weekend I was basically speechless. I couldn't even imagine where to start dialogue. It puts some perspective on a 20 minute talk I'll be giving at a seminary this week... Helps me to see where church people might be coming from. I feel like I've been away so long that I'd forgotten.
So yeah. Interesting. I wish we'd spent more time talking about how to have spiritual conversations in everyday life. We spent a lot on theory and there wasn't much practicality. But I guess the practical is just a passion of mine. And it assumes that people actually already value spiritual conversations in everyday life. Perhaps they don't.