"Having a blog is like wandering around your house naked with the windows open; it's all very liberating until someone looks in the window. However, while being caught unawares is one thing, it is quite another to stroll up to the window and press your naked, flabby body against the coolness of the glass in a hideous form of vertical prostration for all the world to see..." These posts are the smudges that are left behind on the window.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

The Carnage of Hell

The problem with the old Fire and Brimstone preachers and their contemporary cousins, evangelicals, is that trying to scare the hell out of someone, as an evangelistic technique, is not very effective. And, when it does work, it seldom produces a true Christian.
The better, more effective way to evangelize, is with our lives - which is our evangelical mandate as well as the point of being a Christian in the first place. We need to show people what it means to be a follower of Christ; to show them why following Christ makes a difference in this world here and now; to give them a reason to want to follow in the footsteps of Christ – a path which, in many ways, is actually harder than the one they are currently on.
 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
 Now, I realize that some people who’ve had the hell scared out of them do eventually get it - in fact I am one of them. However, besides the years – possibly decades - of wasted opportunities to spread the true Gospel of Christ, it produces a religiosity that emphasizes a personal relationship to God with precious little regard to the world around them. They’ve done their bit: they have a death grip on their get-out-of-hell-free card, and they know they are “in”. And, for the most part, everyone else can go to hell.
But that’s not the saddest part.
The saddest part is the carnage they leave in their trail of misguided evangelism. The wrecked relationships with family, friends and co-workers. The ostracization of people closest to them whom they have made to feel less then acceptable. The “I’m in and your not” attitude.
In other words - the exact opposite of being a Christian.
If you think the point of Christianity is getting out of hell, and you are in the least bit a human being, then of course you are going to want your loved ones to get out of hell as well. This then justifies any amount of bullying that’s required to accomplish that goal.
Placing the emphasis on getting out of hell seems to produce a strange mixture of arrogance, compassion (at least for those closest to you), selfishness, in-your-face intimidation, and ambivalence.
Not exactly stellar qualities.
Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words – Francis of Assisi

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