Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tisk Tisk...

As admirable as evangelist may sound for preaching the gospel at all costs I’d like to pull the B.S. card! I am one who would say I trust Jesus and know God is in charge, I have been reconciled with God. Now, I am most hesitant to call myself a Christian because I would be typically put into the grouping of what our American religious culture has defined as Christianity. I do not wish to be apart of this sub-culture group but maintain my faith while also rejecting this religious culture.

On Friday four Christian men were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly trying to convert Muslims attending festival events. According to a source I contacted at the festival today, at least two of those arrested have been released. One is a recent convert from Islam who caused controversy at last year’s festival by getting into arguments with Muslims and filming them (Worldmag.com). Two key words I’d like to point out from the preceding excerpt, convert and controversy. While I understand passion and vigor I do not condone making a scene at a festival. Young faith is oftentimes dangerous because it is rooted in emotion and not very rational. This is not a knock on anyone, just a true statement. It is natural to be excited about something that is new to you that one strongly holds to. This is true in any arena, sports, faith, music, food, etc. Excitement is habitually applied to reality without much forethought or consideration of implications. Maybe a lesson should have been learned from the last time these men went to this festival and got into arguments with people. Is converting people to a way of peace really ever going to be done through aggression? If a Muslim were to come into a church service on a Sunday morning and disrupt it the Christians would immediately call police or be outraged by his lack of respect. This is easily agreeable, but not translated into another scenario, which baffles me. Last year we helped clean up at the Indy Gay Pride Festival. We literally walked around all night and picked up trash and made sure the grounds were tidy for the event, while it was going on. It was an interesting perspective for me to experience because I got to be inside the event and watch how those of Christian faith behaved on the outside. I watched a young man hold his bible and yell, literally red faced, jugular distend, angry tone, yell across the street into the crowd about how they needed to be Christians, about how they needed to convert. While I do think that everyone should experience what God intended them to experience by reconnecting with him through Jesus I don’t think that conversion tactics or salesmanship should ever be used and that circumstance should be considered. Was it an appropriate setting for 4 Christians to be at a Muslim festival trying to convert them? I say no. The Muslim population gathered at this festival to celebrate their faith, so what logical sense does it make to go into this culture and festival at a time when they are celebrating their faith and make any attempt at convincing them that the faith they celebrate is wrong? Again, while I understand the vigor for their faith I question the wisdom in their thought process.

“I guess America isn’t free”…was my friend’s response to this article. America is free my friend! It is so free that people are allowed to have festivals that celebrate diverse views that people disagree on. Because one is arrested for being an unwanted, aggressive, nuisance to this freedom to have this festival those who are unwanted are now saying there is no freedom. The freedom lies to refrain. The minority always has the right to refrain. A Christian at this festival is the minority and to come in selling their belief system to those who obviously don’t agree with it is to infringe upon their freedom and space. What freedom are we really talking about here?

My challenge to any person who would see this article as an outrage and infringement upon Christian freedom in the United States would be to consider your faith as a lifestyle not simply a belief system to be sold. I would not walk into a country club and try to convert golfers into basketball players because I don’t know them or their views on basketball or sports and basketball is a lifestyle and sport I chose to be involved in. It is a part of who I am so if it comes up with a person within conversation than I am more than willing to discuss it, but to go out and sell basketball is ridiculous. Why is faith any different? Do we think God is so small that He would allow those He loves to actually not casually run into a person of faith so much that we have to go out and rally? My question would be more focused and pointed at the reason they evangelize or see it necessary to go into these event? Could it be they want to be more religious or more holy or seek greater standing with God? Could it be these tactics are egocentric and not truly what Jesus did or would do? I recently read that to toss aside the way Jesus did ministry is to toss aside the entire gospel. We need to be more like Jesus in our tactics, but then again they wouldn’t be tactics at all, there would be no plan but to love people,

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