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To More Effectively Evangelize


R. S. Martin

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I had fun writing this thing but it's hopelessly awkward and probably about as far from reality as it could be, since I did not grow up in an evangelical church and have absolutely no training in mission or evangelizing. The point is the obtuseness (is that a word) of Christian evangelizing and how they decide what it is that we need to hear without ever doing any research on what it is that we know or don't know, what turned us off from religion to start off with, or what might attract our attention. Obviously, it's not a "true story" as in "This particular thing never happened like this that I know of."

 

Green arrived on the scene. Order everywhere. A variety of styles on men and women, adults and children. A variety of activities. Nothing untoward. Except one thing. Not a Bible or Church. No paganism, either. No religion of any sort. Barbeques. Birthday parties. Beachside fun. Board games. Lovers of all ages--some heterosexual and some homosexual (that's a bad sign). Work of all descriptions. Business. someone reminded a person not to walk off without the groceries they just paid for--that could have been me but it wasn't. A child was crying in a grocery cart while the mom was off chatting with a long-lost friend (must remind folk that Jesus helps you love your children and not neglect them). Adolescents having a loud fight off on one side (gotta teach folk about obedience to parents and the Golden Rule).

 

Satisfied, Green packed away the notebook and reported to the Mission. These people seemed relatively civilized but they obviously had never heard of God. There was no sign of religion WHATSOEVER. Not even paganism. No devil-derishes of any sort. These people were totally depraved. No wonder the babies were neglected, the adolescents fought like animals, and the adults mated with the same sex.

 

The next day the Mission Supervisor went to speak with the Supervisor of the People. He approached someone in a store. "Please, may I speak with your supervisor?" he asked the clerk. "Sure," the clerk replied, and called on the intercom system, "Management to Till 4 please, Management to Till 4." To the Mission Supervisor the clerk said, "Someone will be with you shortly."

 

A pleasant lady in her early forties showed up. "How may I help you," she asked pleasantly. "Uh, I understand you are the Store Manager. I am the Supervisor from the Mission. I would like to speak to the Supervisor of the People. My supervisor got permission from the Supervisor of the People to set up the Mission a month ago. Please, may I speak with him."

 

"I am sorry, Sir," the Store Manager replied, "but I don't know what it is you want. We have no Supervisor of the People. If you tell me what you need, maybe I can help you?"

 

"Uh, well, er, can I speak with your boss?" the Supervisor of the Mission asked the Store Manager.

 

"I am afraid not," the Store Manager replied. "I am the 'boss' as you say. If you want something in this store you will have to speak with me."

 

The Mission Supervisor pulled himself together. This was one more reason they absolutely had to go through with the plan--a woman running a business this size with no man in charge??? This was totally against the Order of God!

 

"Yes, Ma'am," he said, "I would like to know where I can set up a preaching. As I said, I am the Supervisor of the Mission. I am not sure from whom my Supervisor got permission to set up the Mission--I am sure he said it was from the Supervisor of the People. Be that as it may, we have the Mission now and all we need is a public place where we can preach. Is there a public place where we are allowed to preach? We'll bring the Gospel--the Good News of the Lord. It will help your people learn how to live right so they can go to heaven when they die. Is there any place that would be okay?"

 

"You want to give a public speech?" she inquired.

 

"Yes, yes, that is what I want to do." Why hadn't he thought to put it that way?

 

"There's several places you can check out to see whether you can rent a room or auditorium," she informed him. "There's the Town Hall, the University, the Grade Schools. If you ask around someone might know of something."

 

"Thank you very much!" He stuck out his hand and shook hers profusely. He hoped to do two things: 1) let her know how much he appreciated the information, and 2) impress her with the value of having Jesus in your heart.

 

He sent Green to ask around. Green found and rented a room, advertized as per the rules of the place, and on the first night the Supervisor, who was also the Missionary, arrived all enthused to preach to his first audience. The people had been so obliging to him and allowed him to arrange things exactly as he had wanted to. They had wished him well and granted his every wish.

 

Opening time arrived, passed, and nobody showed up. He had booked the room for a week. He had paid a pretty penny for it. He had to do something. He went outside and found young people hanging out under his sign. He noted some beer bottles in the mix.

 

He struck up a cheerful conversation, and when the ice-breaking was over he indicated the sign and invited them in. There was no response so he started talking to them about their souls, about God, about love, about Jesus. A few of them left the group. Several minutes later a few older people arrived on the scene.

 

"Excuse me," one of them spoke with a voice of authority, "Are you the man who rented the room inside this building?"

 

The Supervisor eagerly answered in the affirmative. Maybe now someone was going to listen to him, except something didn't seem quite right.

 

"According to the laws of our town," he was further informed, "you must deliver your public speech in the designated room. If you have problems with our laws you must present your complaint to the proper authorities."

 

The Supervisor was stumped. "But, but, everyone seemed eager to grant my request for a room and to accommodate my every need. I did anticipate an audience," he sputtered.

 

"Sorry, Sir, according to our laws at this point you have two options. You can return to your room and speak there. Or you can come with us to the law enforcement office. Here is my card. This is my comrad."

 

The Supervisor knew when he was beaten. He meekly retired to his room to pray.

 

While he was praying the Holy Spirit impressed on his mind to speak to the Town Council about the situation. Perhaps they could enlighten him regarding the puzzling behaviour the people had shown him.

 

The next morning when the offices opened he was there. He demanded an audience with the highest official.

 

"Please take a seat and explain to me what it is you need," said the nice young lady at the front desk.

 

By now he knew better than to push these people. He had learned that he had to be patient and treat the women as though they were men if he wanted to get anywhere. Why one of those damned police officers last night was a woman--for crying out loud! This place was so thoroughly corrupt. But the only way to get through to anyone was to respect them and their ways. So he sat down and talking to the pretty young lady whom he would have dearly loved to cuddle. He dared slip in a few "test" words just to see what he could get away with.

 

"Hold on for a minute," she said, and left the room.

 

Two large men arrived and invited him into an inner sanctum. Finally he was getting what he wanted--an audience with the higher-ups! Only...something was weird. And after five minutes or so two male police officers were ushered in. He found himself under arrest. After the shock wore off the Holy Spirit once more impressed a message on his brain: Those who follow Jesus will be persecuted.

 

Then he understood. He had willingly and knowingly entered Satan's territory. He was suffering for Jesus, for the truth. As the dreary days passed he thought things through carefully. He had done nothing wrong whatsoever. He had done every last thing according to the book, exactly as he had been taught. The people were so hardened that they would reject the message had God himself appeared and preached to them. They had effectively shunted God off to an expensive room where nobody ever went so they didn't have to hear the message. That way they could live their corrupt lives and never feel guilty. Because yes, they clarified that he would have to pay for the room even though he was in prison. That was outrageous! But then again, that was part of the persecution Christ's church had to bear for bearing witness to the truth.

 

One day, just to get him to shut up, his cell mates decided to humor him and let him talk himself out. Since they had not responded to any subtler hints, when he was so hoarse and sore-throated he could hardly talk anymore he made an overt alter call.

 

"Dude," said one, "I have nothing to repent of! I made things right before I came into this hole. I'm doing my time and when I'm done I'm done!"

 

"I thought you're just a compulsive talker," said another. "I figured if I let you talk you'd get it out of your system and maybe you'd feel better. I never saw anybody who thought this stuff was real. Most people who think this way are schizophrenic."

 

"He's not mental," the other guy said. "I've heard this crap before. There are people who live as if this stuff were true. They think there is a man in the sky--no disrespect to you, sir, but there really is nobody up in the sky because we don't even know which side is up since the earth keep turning everywhich way--and they think this man in the sky judges everybody when they die. The good people go to heaven and the bad people go to hell. The funny thing is, these people normally think they themselves never did anything wrong. Like this guy for instance. He says he goggled this young receptionist and then got arrested. He thinks he's being persecuted. I say he's paying his dues for sexual harrassment. It so happens that the young lady he is talking about is my daughter."

 

"Is he the same guy who broke the law and tried preaching on the street?" asked the man who thought he was schizophrenic.

 

"He is."

 

"But everyone was so friendly and eager to help me set up the room I thought they wanted to hear the Word," he cried almost in tears.

 

"I am sure you mistook courtesy for something other than it was, Sir. We allow freedom of speech according to our rules. You broke the law when you imposed a public speech in a public area without licence. You have a bored and captive audience today so you had the opportunity to talk. Normally you don't get this priviledge without going through the formal procedures. That allows everyone the freedom they deserve. Our laws are not perfect but they're the best we can do at this time. Now if you hadn't broken two laws on two consecutive days you would have been better off--if you value your freedom, that is. It's all part of the learning experience. Right guys?"

 

"Yup!!!" the other two said in unison.

 

The Supervisor realized his time as center of attraction was over. These people were really, really strange. They put people in jail for not treating women like men. They put people in jail for preaching God's Word. Obviously, they were corrupt in the deepest core of their hearts. But the sexual harrassment charge--that was just plain trumped-up. He had not touched the young lady--had not even come anywhere near her! God knows he would have loved to but he restrained himself. He kept God's law and restrained himself. He did NOT touch her. THAT definitely was a trumped-up charge because they hated that he preached to the young people last night. Yes, that was it. They couldn't risk having him preach to the young people so they trumped up charges of sexual harrassment to get him behind bars. Oh well, he had the opportunity to preach to prisoners. They must have done something really bad to be there. Maybe they were the real culprits. Maybe something he said in his five-hour sermon would sprout in the depth of the night.......

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