Thursday, July 22, 2010

How shall they hear...?

Your family always warned you not to mix politics and religion, not because they are incompatible, but because most people can’t separate the two and maintain any level of civility. They may seem like two different subjects, but they still possess some of the same baggage, carried in each arm by those who are convinced they own the truth.

I was never a good evangelist in my days as a professional minister. As a card-carrying Evangelical, I was raised with a mandate to tell the Good News to all I meet. I’ve been out of that scene for several years now, but those compulsive feelings quickly return when I watch or listen to politics on TV and radio.

What I feel about politics must be what folks felt about my attempts to communicate about my religion. Judgmental, condescending, conniving, insecure; these words come immediately to mind, because that’s mostly what I hear in today’s political debate.

I’ve grown and matured over the years since discovering faith nearly thirty years ago. I have tossed a good deal of flotsam and jetsam overboard. But I’ve kept some things locked up down in the hull of the boat that I don’t plan to jettison any time soon.

I still believe there is Good News. I still believe that Good News is to be told. It’s the ways and means of telling that Story that I’ve discarded.

I’m not even sure I could articulate how that should happen. I was always trained to “give a reason for the hope you have,” which generally justified the use of the mustard colored booklet or napkin drawing. But how does one reduce the Story of Stories down to a three minute drive-by version. The Lord of the Rings couldn’t do it in three separate films. It still left out parts that were essential to the story.

And on the heels of this admission, I recall one past scolding voice vividly, “I take my method of sharing it over your method of not.”

If I told you my method takes fifty years to tell, is that good enough for you?

With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, but we have taken time and put a fuel injector on it, seeking to turbocharge every moment of every day, “because the days are evil.”

But what if my life is about one opportunity; one long, seventy year opportunity (if the Lord wills)? Is that a copout?