Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Embracing the unknown

A month ago I attempted to be a good Christian girl and joined my church’s Evangelism Explosion class. Despite my initial rebellion against doing hours of homework and a scripted presentation, I decided to give it a shot.

Our first night out, we met a recent college grad who let us know she was a practicing Catholic. My team leader launched into his 30 minute presentation, and concluded with, “So would you like to trust Jesus?” The girl replied, “I already do – every day.” This threw my leader. He stepped back, massaged the bridge of his nose, inhaled loudly through his nostrils and responded, “Yes, but do you really want to trust Jesus.” At this point the girl kindly declined and went back inside her apartment.

My team leader concluded that Catholics are the hardest to witness to because they are so indoctrinated and closed to other beliefs. I responded that it could be she’s more postmod than Catholic given that she said she respects our path but wanted to remain on the path she was on. The TL took her ideas on pluralism to mean she was hopelessly lost, but I interpreted it to mean she was searching for truth and simply latched on to whatever path made the most sense to her.

I quit EE after that night. I couldn’t help but feel like we were targeting people for the purposes of upping our headcount rather than seeking to simply share God’s love with people. I wanted to return to the college girl’s apartment and apologize. I also wanted to ask her what she found attractive about the Catholic church because I really haven’t encountered a devout Catholic before. I wanted to know if she experienced a closeness with God or if she was more into following rules and rituals. Perhaps she still would have chosen to remain with her path but I would hope she wouldn’t have felt like a target.

So what is it about engaging lost people in conversations that terrifies most believers? Why was my team leader more focused on running through the script than actually asking questions about their background, beliefs, fears, needs, etc.? Is it possible to talk with someone who believes there are many paths to god without offending or condemning them, but also in a way that clearly states our beliefs? And why is it an us vs them thing anyway? As my jefe says, the Gospel is really about one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.

3 comments:

Deanna said...

Great blog! May I recommend the book Questioning Evangelism by Randy Newman...it was the first approach to evangelism I've ever read about and thought, "This might actually work with postmoderns."

pecheur said...

Brittany,

Being surrounded by Cath's daily, I have found that there is a massive divide between the two. When you throw postmod into the equation, one gets an entirely new perspective.

later

Anonymous said...

What I absolutely hate about Protestants is that they assume that being Catholic means not being a Christian. The last time I looked, Catholics and Protestants were both considered Christians. Catholics are not a cult or some wanna-be Christian church like the JW's or Mormons. Yes, we Protestants dissagree with a couple of things in the Catholic church, but we both believe in the essentials.

When I was a part of a similar group like ee, my "leader" attacked a poor girl who was Methodist just like your "leader" attacked the Catholic. Give me a break people! One color of Protestantism is not the only color of Christianity!

Saddly, I did not have the option of quitting my ee type group. I agree with you that actually having a normal, caring conversation with someone is the right thing to do.

(Thanks for giving me the opportunity to vent on your blog.) ;)

Rachel