Thursday, November 1, 2007
Evangelsim: Who Needs It!
Why is that such a difficult word? Is it because many of us have had bad experiences with “evangelists”? I think that has a lot to do with it, but perhaps there is something more intimate than that. In fact I suspect that intimacy is at the very core of it. Religion of any kind does its best to probe at questions of ultimate truth and reality in the context of the very center of what it means to be a person. We Christians have discovered a truth about the revealed nature of God in Christ Jesus and our own identity as beloved of God who are already living into our eternal lives. Those of us sharing in the Anglican tradition also believe that this is a truth for all people everywhere and in every time. That is great good news and worthy of being shared, but it is also very intimate. It touches on the very core of our being and, if taken seriously, challenges and changes the very essence of who we are as persons. That kind of intimacy is hard to share, as hard or harder to share than details of our sex lives. I suggest that we back out of this quagmire and start over. First, as disciples of Christ we are called to follow him, which is to say that we are to follow his teachings and continue his work. That is what it means when we say that the church is the body of Christ. As disciples we can more easily respond to questions by saying that we are followers of Jesus Christ and try, through our own limited abilities, to continue in his ways. That in turn gives us an opportunity to talk, if asked, about what those ways are and what difference they might make in one’s own life or the lives of others. What does that have to do with salvation, being saved and whether or not one must be a believing Christian in order to be saved? Possible fodder for another post if anyone is interested.