Saturday, November 27, 2010

On the other side

I've only ever been prostelytzed to one time.  It wasn't religious, actually.  It was a hard-pitch sales job related to a book/philosophy that a family'd bought into.  I went to lunch with a friend and her mom.  They came armed with this book and a folder full of information.  It was weird.

We were going along, having nice conversation, when all of a sudden, the agenda came up.  In the context of this nice lunch, all of a sudden they were explaining to me why this approach to life was so wonderful and all the different things it could help solve.

They were careful not to pressure me.  They said it would be fine if I didn't want the book or the materials.  But they'd clearly bought into it and were now trying to pass it on.

I couldn't help but think right then about all the people Christians share with about the gospel.  I'm sure many times, we make people feel just that same way - a little awkward, maybe offended.  What was really weird was that I hadn't asked for this information.  I didn't see that I needed it.  My own approach to life was working just fine for me, thank you very much.

It felt so much different than it would have had I had a problem I couldn't solve and had asked for help.  It felt so much different than it would have if she'd just been telling me her story one day, or about something that had happened to her, and how this helped her.

I would like to say that I've never made anyone feel like that before.  But I'm sure that's not true.  I think it happens when I have an agenda, or when my message doesn't really relate to the context I'm in. 

I think there are a lot of different ways to talk about faith.  I have conversations about faith with my friends who don't have faith or have faith in different things.  I even challenge the pants off the people around me to live lives totally surrendered to God.  But the only time I've seen it bearing the kind of fruit I'm looking for (better communication between us, a deeper openness to God and his ways) is when it's within the context of relationship and actually relevant to what's going on and what's being talked about.

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