Saturday, September 30, 2006

Some Easy Steps

I was listening to Christian radio today - something I rarely do, by the way - and at one point the announcer began to give instructions about how the Christian listener could witness to a boss who isn't a believer. Tips were given about how to confront. Ideas about how to dispute atheistic or evolutionary theories were shared. Persistence was promoted and boldness encouraged. But in the end, he said, when the hard heart does not get penetrated by this straightforward approach, one just may have to pray for God to "change his heart."

Hmm. Why throw the work of changing a heart on God's shoulders? I know that's the popular Christian thing to say, but are we missing something? Why not strive to be the one who changes the person's heart. What we do is beat up the "unbelievers" with the fact that they are "unbelievers," we impart to them all the errors of their ways, and when we have their hearts as hard as they can possibly be, we turn them over to God. I think a hard heart is much like an atrophied organ - once it's that hard, there's no bringing it back to life. So instead of making God's job so much more difficult, why not let the work of "heart softening" begin with us?

How about this: "This is 94.9, your easy listening Christian music station for your praise and pop song pleasure... Have you ever wanted to see someone you work with come to faith. Try these easy steps. First, get to know them. Have coffee. Ask about their kids. Follow up with how his wife's job interview went or his son's baseball game. Second, don't flinch when he takes the Lord's name in vain. Third, when he talks about the earth being 4 billion years old, don't say a word. Fourth, mention gently how your faith makes a difference in your life. Fifth, don't defend the institutional church - just trust me on this; you'll score some big points. Sixth, be like the Jesus of the gospel, not the pretend Jesus of the confrontational, holier-than-thou, evangelical, Republican church. And on the seventh point I say, 'Rest.' It's not your job to push and prod this guy into heaven. Just be Jesus, be loving, and when the time is right, the Holy Spirit will open up an opportunity for you to invite him to give his life to the Jesus of the Bible. And if you do this, it will free God up to work on the atrophied hearts of millions who've been nearly destroyed by confrontational Christianity. God will appreciate the help. And now for a word from our sponsors - Join us for a 7 day/7 night Christian cruise to the sunny Bahamas! We promise - no heathens allowed..."