Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dispatches from the Front Lines

evangelical, evangelism, witnessing, witness, bible, jesus, tracts, ray, comfort, wotm,
I have long suspected that the standard form of witnessing as sold by Ray Comfort in his Way of the Master series is a dismal failure. (Ray's evangelism "college" costs $150 to attend, btw. Yeah.)

Now, in these stories straight from believers themselves, I have proof of this failure. (Oddly, the believers do not count these stories as failures. They count them as successes. Apparently, simply getting a total stranger to acknowledge your existence is a win for Jesus.)

the lindaman family:

Well, I did it!!!! Twice! First, my husband and I were at a gas station and I just walked up to this girl and handed her a million dollar bill. She looked at me like I just fell off of Mars, but she took it. Second, I was at another gas station, which was full service. I didn't realize it was full service, but God did. The guy walked up to my van, pumped my gas, and when he was done I got to give him a million dollar bill. When I pulled away he was reading it! I can't even tell you how excited it made me. Thanks again for what you do!

1) I believe the expression is "landed from Mars" or "came here from Mars".
2) That's probably the look on my face when people randomly hand me trash to throw away.
3) How was that a success? Basic politeness would make her accept the trash even if she didn't want it.
4) "I didn't realize it was full service, but God did"?! wtf? seriously?
5) Again, how was this a success? The gas station attendant read the trash you handed him. So what?


I am very shy, and would never have dreamed I could witness. I have been encouraged by listening to The Way of the Master to start sharing my faith. I now give out million dollar bills when I go to Walmart or the grocery store. God can use even shy people!

at least i don't go to that walmart. i don't like scaring shy people. (apparently she's too shy even for an informative profile.)


I'm like the friend you described. I am totally itching to share my faith, but I'm so shy I just don't know how. So I usually end up feeling guilty because Christ gave His life for me and I can't even bring myself to talk about it. So I took you up on your challenge last week, and on my very last day I finally made sure I actually had a tract with me and gave it to the K-Mart cashier. It was totally awkward because I didn't really know what to say, but I'm still glad I did it. Thanks for the challenge. Would love some prayer. :)

nothing like involving yourself in an awkward social situation for your faith. still no successes. (and i'd like to hear the story from the cashier's point of view.)


Hola! I work for a Messianic Jewish ministry in San Francisco, CA (I'm a gentile). I've never had the guts to pass out Bible tracts, but after watching the news a couple of weeks ago and seeing Christians get chased out of the Castro District for simply praying, when one of the evangelists on staff asked me the other day if I would help pass out Bible tracts in Union Square I couldn't resist! I stood on the corner for a couple of hours passing out tracts and struck up a great conversation with a really nice elderly Jewish woman. Her and her daughter passed me by at first, but I noticed her take a second look at my shirt which simply says "Y'shua" across the chest. I continued to pass out tracts and I noticed the women looking back at me from about 30 yards away and talking with each other. After a couple of minutes the elderly woman approached me and asked, "Are you here to convert the Jews or the Goyim?" I told her I was here to tell about Y'shua. She asked me the same question again. I told her "I'm not here to convert anyone, I'm here to get to people to consider the facts and make an educated decision as to whether or not Y'shua is the Messiah the Hebrew prophets fortold." Again, she asked me the same question a third time. I said, "Look Miss, I'm here to tell both Jews and Gentiles alike that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob chose the children of Israel to have a special relationship with, and through that special, unique relationship with Israel, God would introduce Himself to the world and all of mankind would be blessed. I'm here to get you to consider whether or not Y'shua is that blessing, through whom God manifested Himself in human form and makes salvation possible for all of mankind." With that she said, "Hmmm. Ok. Let me have one of those." I gave her one, we talked, and shared a laugh. I wish I could say she asked the Lord for forgiveness, but she promised to read the tract and look into it. God's at work! I love your site; many blessings!

Jews for Jesus! Except that he's not a Jew. I love how he couldn't answer the old lady's question. What does the bible say about honesty? something . . . I forget. anyway, still no successes.

Joe Byrd:

Trish-I just read your Challenge blog--Let me tell you something I do ---I go with my wife to Wal-mart and , go loaded down with Living Waters tracts.. I start handing them out with ""The Greeter", but I don't make myself too obvious because--I'm on a mission. While she shops ,I stroll thru the book section and I start browsing through all the magazines and paperbacks, -but before I put one one down and pick the other up I stick a tract securely inside it. When I'm finished with that task, I go to the card section and place a track in front of a few cards . It looks just like a card-----------------I've done this many times ---They work all week long for you. I've done many different things and I get so many good ideas from you and WOTM. I've shared one-on-one many times and You know what? I've never had anyone rude to me when I do the good person test. I did have a lady put her hands over her ears because she was so convicted. I've still yet to open air but am very close.

Thank you for your conviction and dedication in witnessing to the lost.


He's on a mission- from god. I love the sneakiness here. He can't just hand tracts to people, he hides them in books and shelves. (I suppose I might appreciate the free bookmark if I found a tract in my book, but it wouldn't convert me.)

and, what exactly does "they work all week long for you" mean, anyway? work how? it sounds like an ad for an internet sales scheme.

I have to say, I see people selling things in front of Walmart all the time- cookies, candy, etc. They do very well. So why is Jesus such a hard sell? And why do these people take such pride, such joy in engaging in an activity that doesn't seem to work? Most people abandon a losing strategy- these people embrace it.


  1. Ehh, for some reason this article puts me in mind of some of the spring break mission trip stories I have read. The Christian college students going to Daytona Beach to witness to people and such. They fail miserably so the stories are quite amusing to read if you aren't a theist.

    As to why they torture themselves with it, well thats the whole evangelical thing isn't it? Your not a True Christian(TM) unless you are out there trying to save souls for Jesus, Paul said so, so it must be true...

  2. I can't remember that last time someone handed me a tract. It's happened before, but it's been years. Maybe these Christians need to get some training from the Jehovah's Witnesses. I've had them show up twice in the last six months or so.

  3. IMHO, Ray Comfort-brand evangelism exists more for the sake dealing with the guilt many evangelicals feel either not proselytizing or not ding it enough. Things like Ray's "Million dollar bill"-tract do get read, but they don't convert skeptics because:

    a)a small tract often doesn't put forth a decent argument, just a creed and some directions.

    b)The tracts are designed with the intent to deceive (tracts disguised as money). People do not like being deceived; and if they complain about it, the evangelist can interpret it as "persecution for the sake of Christ": "proof" that they are doing the right thing (i.e: look at how Ray & Kirk have been publicizing the confiscation of the tracts by the secret service on counterfeiting charges as a means to promote themselves).

    So, long story short: The problem with Ray & Kirk's evangelism is that they don't really give a rat's ass about the people they are trying to save.

  4. i have only ever been given one track personally - when i was in high school, a *very* fundy girl heard that i was playing D&D. we had always been friendly to each other (i never advertised my religion at all; i don't think anyone i went to high school with ever knew i was Pagan) and she gave me the Chick Track on D&D (have you read it? its one of the STUPIDEST things i have *ever* read. of course, its ignorance was obvious to me because i actually played D&D - my first game was at age 6 - but to her, it seemed that the track *must* be accurate. after all, it was printed!) i read it and couldn't help laughing. i went through the whole thing and told her every bit of it that was wrong... and we were no longer friendly to each other.
    i still feel kinda bad about that, i was about the only person who was always nice to her, and because i had to be a know-it-all and thought the track was dumb, she felt she had to stop being friends with me (yes, it wasn't totally *my* fault, she had agency too, but i feel bad. 16 years later. sigh)

    my mother recieved quite a few, after she joined a new church (she converted to Christianity when i was ten, i think [and i think that was because of how sick i was, she really needed support and wasn't getting any], and when i was 15 or 16 she went from something pretty plain to an Evangelical church)
    she got the D&D one.
    she got one labeled "Letter from Hell" about a guy who died and was in hell and was trying to save someone he knew from hell by writing this letter to the friend describing hell
    she got one about Pagans (after they tried to get me to come to the church and be baptised, and i said i had been sained, initiated, and was about to become a Priestess. i only said it because they came by *every day* trying to make me come to church with my mother and do this. EVERY DAY. they would not leave me alone.) after i told them i was Pagan, they left me alone, but kept telling my mother how horrible she was that she "let" me become Pagan and told her, over and over, that if she didn't "save" me, she was damned to hell with me (this is when SHE quit that church. most of her family was Pagan, i was NOT the first, or the last - i had been initiated by my mother's aunt! and yet these bastards at the church were telling her she was evil, and worse, because of it. they told her that she should lock me in my room with nothing but a bible, and only feed me bread and water - once a day! - until i converted. and if i didn't convert after some period of time she should "beat the devil out of [me]"... which is probably actually what DID make her quit the church, not just the track and such. they had some *really* fucked up ideas, let me tell you)

    she also received a track on how the public school system was created by Satanists, to "lure" the nation's children to satan-worship, a track about how a lot of day cares was run by Satanists who sacrificed some of the children they watched, a track about how the health system, doctors/nurses/other health professionals, and medicine in general were against divine will (my other is a Nurse Practicioner!), how Japanese cars were designed by evil "Satanic Japs", because WWII was started, and Pearl Harbor happened, because Japan was secretly run by Satan incarnate.
    and more.

    really fucked up shit. and they *believed* it. one of them, during one of the early conversion efforts, saw a picture of me with a friend of mine who happened to be Laosian, and he spent 30 fucking minutes telling me that the reason Asians have slanty eyes is because they are all decended from a man who had sex with a demon. (and, of course, black people are the decendents of Cain)

    horrible, horrible church.

    i think its why, no matter how hard i try, i always dislike a person a little who just randomly spouts out that they are Christian. (Pete is Christian. but he is not fundy, and when we had the "religion" discussion, what he wanted to know was if my religion was "good" as HE defined good - did we help people, did we have injunctions against hurting people, etc. Christians who are tolerant are good. Christians who aren't and who feel that Christianty is the most important thing make me flinch)

    wow, i'm really babbling... going to stop now. its been one of those day - we were out for my Dad's BDay, we went to see Star Trek, and there was a church group outside the theatre PROTESTING STAR WARS. with signs like "If God wanted us in space, he's have made us in space", "Vulcans are DEMONS!" and other stupid shit.

    STAR TREK! who the fuck protests STAR TREK?!

  5. Wait, wait. "Way of the Master" is a Ray Comfort thing??!? I am surprised enough by this that it makes me want to 1337 my pants. Ray smarmsuckin Comfort? O RLY?

    I have been seeing ads for "Way of the Master" on the sides of buses for years, but I assumed they were for a New Agey cult. The words on them say odd vague things that all translate, in my brain, to "hey! want someone to tell you what to do?" And they all prominently feature a picture of a heavyset woman with a bad dye job and way too much makeup staring off to camera left with limpid, insipid adoration. It is freaking creepy.

    As for the door-to-door salesman "witnessing" tactics, it's like Her Holiness Denelian was saying in the comments to your last post. These folks have themselves convinced that we all already believe in their god: we are just in deep, soul-crushing denial about it. All they have to do is say the magic words, and we'll suddenly realize that we can drop the act and admit we were really hoping their version of Jesus would come along and take our lives away from us.

    Even if we spent many years as Christians, trying to proselytize all our friends like insurance salespeople desperate for a sale, that counts for nothing. They assume that the problem is we've simply never understood that all our sin and all the evil inside us, which in their minds weighs constantly on our consciences and makes us constantly sad and angry, can be taken away just by agreeing to say the magic words and do whatever they tell us.

    Gaah. I'm going to church with my mom as a kind of Mother's Day present tomorrow. Please send nice snarky thoughts my way through the pagan ether.

  6. I just realized that it is a mistake to refuse Christian propaganda. I should take it every single time. It will be put to better use in my trash can.

    Maybe I should ask them for extra literature, for friends.

  7. ugh...i've found a rip off of those million dollar was a twenty,all folded up real nice. i was working at a department store,and thought my day had been made. i unfolded it,and it was one of those stupid tracts...into that trash that pos went! they don't convert..if anything,they irritate.

  8. note to self, this will be fun

  9. fiat: you are a good child. as for the snarky thoughts, i think them no matter what i do, but we need denelian for the pagan ether.

    what say you, denelian?

  10. "pagan ether"?

    so, i add flavor? (i'm sorry, i normally get your jokes. but i have a migrain)

    anyway, i am Your Most Holy High Priestess, command and i shall do! (*giggle*) Fiat *is* a good child, and goodness is not just its own reward - i shall grant hir (i'm sorry, i don't remember if you are male or female, Fiat) a Vice Admiralty! he may ride the whales and lead them to glorious battle!

    (wow. i'm good at this shit. think i could take a page from Hubbard, only for real and without all the Stockholm-Symdrom-causing-bullshit? wanna be worshed by the masses, PF? when i take over the world - with Our Sparklong Pink Invisible Unicorn Cavalry, Our Glowing Purple Pegasi Air Force and Our Shining Singing Nahrwel Whale Navy, it shall be done!)

    remember, Fiat, The Enemy's ships can be sunk *VERY* easily with stealthy use of seals as torpedos! plus, keeping baby seals is good for the moral bonus :D

    ((yes, yes i am crazy. thats the POINT! hehe)

  11. oh, i suck! i had to go back and re-read what Vice-Admiral Fiat said... did i mention the migrain?
    after i finish conquering the world for you (in the high style of General Belesaurius, but without the economic strife) would you please make migrain research mandatory? as a reward for my long and faithful service?


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