Friday, December 11, 2009

when message and medium colide try on a little contextualization for size

Look at the dichotomy above.  I tend to agree with the message of corduroy girl on the right.  Nevertheless, I find myself laughing with holier-than-thou denim man on the left.  A few things strike me about this photo:

1. This is the way the world views us.  Odd, outdated and out of place.  Willing to fight but not to love.  Preaching at people rather than talking with them.  Part of a different community.

2.  We some times let method get in the way of message.  I remember going to NYC for a mission trip and passing a man who was in the median of the highway holding up a "Jn 3:16" sign.  He had the right message, but how many people's lives were changed by the sign.  Could he have been more effective with the same (well, flesh it out some first) message but in a different format.  One time I went to a pagan pride fest.  There were hundreds of Christian (presumably) protesters.  You learned a few things from their signs: they were angry these people were here, they wanted them to go, they thought these people were wrong, and they were angry with them.  Since I brought no sign, they let me through the front door.  I talked with many people face to face about real life issues and how to answer them.  I was able to present the gospel with several participants.  Who was more effective?  Who was heard?  In spite of all of their shouting, the protesters were ignored.  They did manage to accomplish one thing, they made "Christianity" look ugly, hateful, and dumb.

3. She is in corduroy....  There is nothing inherently wrong with it, but she looks odd to the world.  Do you think she would be received differently if she were to put the sign down, dress in a culturally normative way, get involved in peoples' lives, and spread the gospel?  My glowing description of this alternative betrays my own thoughts on the topic.

4.  Probably no one was changed in the slightest by the sign.  I doubt any gay in America wonders what evangelicals think about their lifestyle.  All gays know that we disprove and think that they are in sin.  They are probably even familiar with the fact that the Bible calls homosexuality a sin.  So what is her purpose?  What is she accomplishing?  I can't imagine any gay walking by, seeing the sign, and deciding that it is time to change.

We have to stop tract bombing, Christian mugging and protest evangelism.  They are going to get us exactly where they have always have: nowhere!

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