Sunday, June 01, 2008

Bow your head and repeat after me...

My friend Leslie was telling me this week how he liked to find hot button issues with people and purposefully push them, just because he liked to see their response. He confessed that he tries not to do that any longer, but that the temptation is still there.

It’s like setting a trap for an animal out in the open light. You don’t even have to disguise it or be subtle. Just ask a question about politics, the environment or religion and watch him fall into the hole. 10 minutes later, the person has worked himself into a fury and all you did was make an inquiry.

I admit I like doing that too. Granted, it is a prideful tendency to exert that kind of conversational control, but it is a heck of a lot of fun and you can just ask forgiveness later if you feel guilty enough about it.

So, if you are a bad person like Leslie and me, and have someone in mind who is doesn’t listen very well and is evangelically oriented, try this one next time,

"How did people find faith before the advent of the sinner’s prayer?”

This is good bait to draw out all kinds of presuppositions and reveal layers of dependence on tradition and practice that the Church As We Know It has relied upon that is not rooted in faith.

4 comments:

glenn said...

Kevin ~

It is funny how an honest question stirs up such defensiveness... unless you think about it.

I think I am a member of the same Agitators Fellowship.

co_heir said...

I like the question, "When were the disciples 'born again'?"

Monte Asbury said...

As any dyed-in-the-wool modernist will tell you, the sinner's prayer is what Jesus taught; it has no beginning and no end. Duh!

Actually, I've been preaching for a few years through the gospels, and feeling a bit apostate about seldom having an "invitation." And then I realize it's because I'm trying my best to reflect what Jesus is saying in the gospels - and that's not what he's usually talking about! It is so strange - and a bit unnerving - finding one's treasured theological priorities at odds with the practice of Jesus.

Barry said...

I so want to try this! I found your blog via Glenn's blog. Sounds like we might be on the same wavelength. Creation/evolution is a good one to set people off too (I should know - I used to be part of a quite traditional Pentecostal church and I deliberately put a big Darwin fish on the back of my car).
I like the look of your blog, so I'm adding it to my feed reader.