I often wonder how misguided we are when we think that we need to market for God. Maybe that’s just me though.
Communicating good news to someone isn’t just about telling them where good news is missing in their life, but also about helping them see how good news is already there. Talking with someone about their dreams, asking someone about their kids, listening to their stories…these are all important parts of evangelism. They may seem mundane, but perhaps that is part of the beauty of creation, that the things that often seem so very mundane, normal, or even base, are often the very things that are closest to the heart of God inside of us. For example, think for a while about the theological implications of friends, food, breathing, sleeping, (ahem) sex. Think about what it says about God that we were created to be so amused by the sound of a fart. Ladies, don’t lie, you’ve laughed at some point or another.
If you keep digging deeper into this perspective, evangelism is something very integrally human. So many of our well-intentioned ideas about evangelism feel an awful lot like marketing strategies, as if the King of all creation needs a new public relations firm. Please don’t think that I am attacking Christianity, or trying to put down our efforts. Rather, I want to say that evangelism is much easier and more intuitive than we try to make it. Evangelism looks much like being a true friend, a real person in a life that so often pressures us to be less than real with the people around us. Hearing about someone’s day, helping a friend do something that is important to them, finding out what makes the person next to you come alive, or even what is slowly killing them…these are all things that don’t happen very well outside of true friendship, a relationship built on safety and reality.
Having said that, there are those humans that we either know or know of who are deeply integrated into the Life of God, who have come to the point where they walk closely with God and therefore see the Divine in people and the world around them. We don’t have to wonder if they are safe or if we can be real with them…because they have come close to the Safe Place, the Eternal Reality. Sometimes we call them saints. Sometimes we don’t know what to call them. One time we called him Messiah. You’ve talked with one of these people or you have heard about someone talking with them. These people somehow seem to be able to move past the gloss that we put on our lives, to get deep into the dirt in our fingernails and the grit between our toes, to the places where we hide the parts of ourselves that we believe truly unloveable.
It is here where our reality is affirmed and our pain consoled, where we are reminded of the beauty that lies deep within every person. It is here where true evangelism, the good news, shows us that we are truly loved and lovable.