The subtitle to carl medearis’ book is “the art of not-evangelism” immediately caught my eye. I wondered, “Is this another book on be like Jesus but don’t talk about him?” Or perhaps I mused, “Is this going to be a book that tries to help us enter into spiritual conversation without the use of bull-horns?”
In some ways it is, and in some ways it is not. What Carl does a great job of is refocusing us on the person of Christ rather than the religion of Christ. There are many books out today that take a big stick to the church for the way it evangelizes, while Carl would definitely love to see the church learn and unleash a radically different approach to the way we share Christ with people, the stick isn’t as big as I thought it might be.
Medearis tips his hat in the introduction story about two competing soccer teams. Both teams grinding it out for their truth and fighting to win with everything they have until the game is stalled because of a man walking through the field. The man’s name is Joshua, and he looks at you as you come to a halt in your game, and his eyes penetrate your soul. Which side is he on? Neither, he replies. If you’re not on either of these two sides, then what is your side? Joshua responds with his own name and the words “Follow Me.”
So, you follow Him, and then Medearis makes this observation:
“As you follow, you begin to learn that this soccer game you’ve been playing-that everyone’s been playing isn’t the way. Joshua is. And that winning doesn’t mean scoring more points than the other team. It’s Joshua. He’s the score. And the strategies your team was using, though well meaning, really missed the whole point. You soon realize that your life will never be the same following this Joshua guy.” p18-19
It seems to me that we have often replaced Jesus with a religiosity that robs us of all that God intends. While I am not all the way through this book yet, it seems to be raising some great question about whether or not our faith will be a bridge or a barrier.
At the heart of what I have read is a plea to get real, wrestle with evangelical formula’s we have bought into, and simply allow our not-evangelism to flow from our relationship with Jesus, rather than a packaged presentation of religion that misses relationship and the reality that Trinity dwells within us.
I’m going to keep reading, you might want to check this out too.