Thursday, December 3, 2009

Evangelism Without a Script

evangelism, witness, religion, christianity, jesus,

Because, quite frankly, we don't want you thinking on it too much.

I've always disagreed with the Way of the Master style of evangelism. It relies entirely on Pascal's Wager (stupid, could be said of any religion) and the Ten Commandments (not terribly useful if I don't think the bible is any more special than Harry Potter). Apparently, the next big thing in really annoying conversations you will be having with random strangers is here: Evangelism Without the Script.

There is nothing more powerful than a personal testimony when telling others about Christ.

So when Nathan Sheets of e3 Partners Ministry, Inc., and a few others set out to develop an outreach campaign, they decided to zero in on the pure, raw and heartfelt stories of those who have been transformed by Christ, and strip away all of the trappings of Christianity.

"When we're starting a conversation and I'm telling you about all these issues that I've dealt with in my life and I share with you how God has brought me through that, I think that it takes away the bad feelings of 'I hate church,'" Sheets told The Christian Post.

Pure, raw and heartfelt. Apparently, the sound that woke me up at 3 am was logic's death rattle.

First of all, I find these sorts of things wildly annoying because I am chronically ill. If you are chronically ill, everyone you know knows someone that took or did something and was cured and you should try it too! Just try asking for scientific proof that this substance or technique works. Your friend/acquaintance/coworker will look at you as if you just requested break dancing lemurs, and say, "But I saw it! (S)he's all better now!"

Feelings are not the same thing proof. I'm glad Jesus/acai/colon cleanses made you/someone you know feel better, but that's not the same thing as proof, so fuck off.

Evangelism Without a Script is the spiritual version of a conversation I already find wildly annoying. To put it another way: how do you know Jesus fixed your life? Maybe your belief that Jesus would fix your life provided you with the necessary motivation to fix your own life, a psychic placebo effect, if you will.

This is hilarious, though:

Though the celebrity status of some on the site may create a disconnect with viewers, campaign organizers intentionally clothed them in black shirts and sat them in a white chair against a black background.

"In God's eyes, we're all equal so we've stripped out the things of this world that might set you apart as a celebrity versus being a noncelebrity," Sheets explained.

Except their FACES, asshat. I bet it's a little easier to fix your life with $10M than without. Not that I would know.


  1. Wow. Everything about this idea is FAIL. I just clicked and started reading random quotes:

    "He (Miller) said we just need to make Jesus as famous as Tony Romo is in Dallas," Sheets recalled.

    I can absolutely, completely, and totally guarantee you that Jesus is at least as famous as Tony Romo is in Dallas. I can also guarantee you that Jesus is far more famous than Tony Romo in, say, London or Singapore. This is an interesting* variation on Slacktivist's "Persecuted Hegemon." It's more like the "Unknown Celebrity." But, of course, since they have to believe that the only reason people aren't 100% Christian is because they don't know about Jesus, then they have to believe that means no one who isn't a Christian has heard about Jesus. It's currently making my brain hurt.

    Sheets then thought of placing a famous figure such as Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks on a billboard and though he may be number one in the NBA, the ad would say "I am second" and direct people to a website where they can view his video testimony.

    This just makes me laugh. Nowitzki is number one in the NBA? What about LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Tim Duncan?

    They began filming celebrities in May 2008, beginning with actor Stephen Baldwin and Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers.

    Some of the latest video testimonies include ones by former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy, "The Biggest Loser" winner Michelle Aguilar, and best-selling author Anne Rice, who recently finished shooting her personal story.

    This I hate. Stephen Baldwin is a headcase who is maintaining his "celebrity" because he's morphed in to one of the most annoying Christians this side of Ray Comfort and has a familiar name. If you don't know Josh Hamilton's story of drugs and Jesus-based sobriety then that means you don't follow baseball and probably don't care who Josh Hamilton is. Same with Tony Dungy, but replace "baseball" with "football" and "drugs" with nothing (although his Christianity did get some play when his son committed suicide a couple years ago, but I don't remember Dungy trying to cash in on it. He wrote a book, but there was no Going Rogue bus tour...). A Biggest Loser contestant! Oooh, tell me more! And Anne Rice. I don't even have anything snarky to say.

    Testimonies on the website deal with a wide range of issues including drugs, divorce, pornography, bulimia, abortion, money, homosexuality and purpose in life.

    That's just terribly, terribly sad. Although the, "and purpose in life" one kind of makes me chuckle. Especially since I can guess that it's a testimonial from someone who had a middle-class background, never really did anything wrong, never really got in trouble, but just, "Felt like something was missing," and one day, "Realized that that something was Jesus," and, "Everything is so much better now."

    Trust me, you don't have to be famous to have an inane testimony...

    *But not entirely.

  2. The Anne Rice thing just makes me sad. She lost a small child to cancer. Anything that makes her feel better is fine by me (could there be any greater pain?), but to splash it on a billboard like that? Shameful.

  3. I have a friend that took pure sugar pills and they now feel better, you should try that. Make sure it is pure sugar though, any kind of impurity will ruin its magical healing effects.

    Okay in serious now, this is just an argument from personal experience, it in no way validates or invalidates a god or gods.

    Like you said by showing their faces it also just makes in an argument from authority, if they really wanted people not to know they could blur the faces and distort the voices.

  4. I hate the argument that stems from this type of presentation. I say that personal testimony isn't evidence and the evangelist replies with some variant of. "Well I and all of these other people know god and have seen his power, are we all liars or crazy?" They say it with a totally serious expression and a tone of offended challenge.

    How I respond kind of depends on who I am talking to, but in many cases I just subvert the false dichotomy and say "Yes you are all either liars or crazy" most times though I point out that there are other possibilities such as "no you are all just wrong" or "I am sure you have reasons to believe as you do but your belief is not evidence" these unfortunately don't usually get through the layers of indoctrination, arrogance and willful ignorance that most fundies armor their brains with.

  5. "When we're starting a conversation and I'm telling you about all these issues that I've dealt with in my life and I share with you... blah blah blah

    General Rule of Life: If you want people you don't know that well to loathe you, talk about yourself. If you want people you don't know that well to like you, say just enough to keep them talking about themselves.

    (Note: This technique works well for my dad. It doesn't work so well for me because I usually say less than just enough, which results in uncomfortable silences)

    I would predict a massive backfire, but I doubt these people follow up on their evangelism, so they won't even notice that it's not working and just making people hate them.


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