Sunday, May 06, 2007

Story Evangelism

“….Know that your best relationships with the Scriptures are in the future.
Sadly, for some Christians the story has stopped. God has done all that God is going to do, and God’s voice in embalmed in a book. This turns the work of evangelists into being the salesmen of a tradition, not Christ-introducers and life-connectors to an on-going, never-ending story.
For some, the stories are frozen awaiting a future Parousia. The problem with freeze-dried stories is the same with anything that has the living water drained out of it: They taste dreadful, feel like brickbats, and crumble when you hold them too tightly.
For some the story has run out of steam and needs revision and reinvention – as if God didn’t get it right the first time. This turns reading the Bible into minesweeping the Scriptures for hidden detonations. For some not only is there nothing new under the sun. There is no Sun.
For some the story is an addendum to their own story, like some guilt outing to Disney World that’s crammed into a calendar so that everyone can say, ‘We did it.’ It is only when our story gets grafted onto God’s story, the story that came as a gift and grace, that our own story comes to life.
For others the stories of God are not entries in their family diary, but laws for living passed by some divine legislation. This is the biggest reason why Jesus’s storytelling was deemed sheer madness, dissed as mere children’s stories. Where was the Law of Moses? Where were the words of the prophets and ancestors? Where was even God in these parables of His?
Evangelism is the practice of out-narrating the world by telling a much better story, a story that can win the hearts and minds of the world’s peoples, a story of love, harmony, and peace. People are being seduced by the wrong stories, partly because we don’t how to tell the Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth.
Evangelism is not convincing other people to accept the propositions you believe. Evangelism is inviting other people to begin a relationship with Jesus – to go on a journey with him and make his story their story. If the basic issue of evangelism is how we help people meet Jesus, then evangelism is not doctrinal transactions but spiritual interactions.”

Leonard Sweet
Out of the Question…Into the Mystery
Waterbrook Press, 2004
pgs 85-86

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