For a while I just quit. Jesus wasn’t the problem, I was. I believe the way of Jesus is Life. But until I could figure out what was motivating me to talk about him, I couldn’t speak.
I am not even sure that I was conscious of this as it was happening. It first hit me two years ago. My theology was heading towards Christian Universalism at the time. One of the by-products of this turn is that I quit dividing people into camps. There are no longer Christians and non-Christians …. There are just people.
I show movies in my backyard. I bought a projector and a blow up screen and I invite all the neighbors over for movies every few weeks during the summer. It is a great time for people to hang out, catch up, and make new friends. Why do I do it?
I was telling a friend at church about my movie setup and he said, “What a great evangelism tool that is!” Years ago, that would have been exactly what would have motivated me to do it: evangelism.
His comment, however, bothered me… and I wasn’t even sure why. It took me some time to work though my thoughts. I finally came to the conclusion that I simply wanted to be a good neighbor… and I wanted to build up my neighborhood.
But since I am a Christian, shouldn’t I want to evangelize?
I am still working through this, but I am pretty sure that I have no interest in evangelizing anymore… at least in the way we typically use the term. If evangelism means recruiting people into my religious sect so they can adhere to our political/social standards and be part of our “in” group… then I am not interested.
But, if evangelism means that I tell people about the way of Jesus: that there are to be no divisions among us, that the poor receive justice, that the rich serve rather than exploit, that God is our Father and we are ALL brothers and sisters, and that redemption and reconciliation is only a breath away…. that is something I can freely share with no ulterior motive.