Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Sharing Faith With Those Who Don't Want it

It's a cathartic experience, really. Fear, exhiliration, anticipation, dread all mixed up into one neat little ball, sitting in my stomach as I approach the mother of four. "Excuse, me Ma'am, could I give you some information about the church I attend?" Such a simple question. Seemingly harmless. And yet in this college town, the mention of church, particularly when coupled with "Baptist," sets off bells loud enough to wake neighbors in this woman's mind. Tersely, hurriedly, almost fearfully, she sets the super-stroller in motion. Sweeping her children away, she flees the scene, leaving the four-year-old boy to wonder if he's just seen a dirty-blonde alien. If I think about it long enough, I realize that this is exactly what I am in this city, this country, this world. I'm an alien for Christ.

Yeah, yeah, everybody knows that. We sing about it and meditate on it for a few moments when we come across Bible verses touching on our status as world strangers. But it's whole 'nother deal to embrace that reality, to invite others to recognize your alienness. In giving us the task of evangelism, God has bestowed upon us a wonderful way to take up Christ's cross. Want to do what Jesus did? Want to know what Jesus felt? You don't need the bracelet. You can just go out to the local park and try sharing your faith. The alienness all comes home then. It's a beautiful process, really, beautiful in its difficulty, its struggle, its potential result. God wins glory when His people forsake comfort, when they trade in acceptance for antagonism. He wins glory when listeners turn away, when they scoff, when they politely but icily decline to hear your words. And then, one must remember, He wins glory when souls are saved. How typical of God. Mixed in with the pain and struggle are moments of great joy. Here's hoping some more mothers-of-four hear the gospel of peace, and here's hoping they find it.


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