Saturday, August 10, 2013

What Coffee Shop Conversations?

It would be easier to read Dale and Jonalyn's Fincer's book if I came from an evangelical Christian background, which, too often in the book, they assume is the only Christian out there. So let's clear up one mistaken principle right now; mainline congregations are just as concerned about evangelizing as so-called evangelical churches are. We may be terrified of the "E" word, but we do understand the call to do it, even if our actual practices are often lacking.

Because of their assumption that the problem is that Christians evangelize badly, much of this book will be useless to the person who is not evangelizing because he or she does not want to make the mistakes this book seeks to correct. My congregation, for example, already knows not to threaten people with hell or openly show our disgust for the lives that others are leading (unless they are in the North Carolina legislature!). They are so respectful and accepting of others that they don't wish to be offensive, so they say nothing. Worse, they have watched people make the mistakes the Finchers are attempting to correct and do not want to be associated with the people who make those mistakes.

Buried under their assumptions are actually some useful ideas that, framed a little differently, could actually be convincing for the people I know. One of the best reminders here is this one, found on page 217 "The only time we have a right to talk with someone and introduce Jesus is when we're certain we see them as equally human." That''s would be a great starting place for any evangelism program. Still, a chapter on what to do to overcome reluctance to be evangelists would help much more than letting me know not to lead with biblical literalism or condemnation of the LGBT community. What we get instead is rational apologetics. That is not enough.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.