Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's Not the Good News We Hate

proselytizing, evangelism, tony, miano,
Imagine working with someone who only has one interest: gardening. Now imagine if that person talked solely about gardening, no matter what the conversation- and they just have to join every conversation. You're discussing the latest episode of Lost, they start talking about fertilizing their garden. You're talking about the football game, they join in with an in depth look at how they're organizing the vegetables this year. You're enjoying a little birthday celebration for a coworker, they can't shut up about their pumpkins.

You're going to avoid that person at all costs, for a very good reason: they have no interest in you, other than as a means of indulging their monomania. Thus is Tony Miano, evangelist extraordinaire.

This morning I went to the Bellflower DMV, not far from Living Waters
headquarters, to renew my driver's license. Michelle, who spent the day with me,
and I got to the DMV about 45 minutes before the facility opened. The line
quickly grew to well-over 100 people.

There was only one thing to do. :-)

I recently had to go to PennDOT to renew my ID. About the only thing that would have made that experience worse is having to listen to someone proselytize for an hour. (You should see my picture- the look on my face could only be explained by aliens landing to my left just as the picture was taken.)

There were more things than preaching to do, Mr. Miano. You could have respected your fellow ID seekers and left them alone. You could have worked on a crossword puzzle. You could have balanced your checkbook. Or, you could have spent an hour getting to know someone. You could have enjoyed another human being as a unique individual, instead of as an object to satisfy your monomania.

I had a delightful conversation with an immigrant from Ukraine who recently became a US citizen. I learned all sorts of things I never knew about Ukraine. (For one thing, it's not "the Ukraine", it's "Ukraine" and the secret to great borscht is lemon juice right at the end.) She was a lot of fun, but that's something Mr. Miano will never know, because all he ever does is talk at people, not to them.


  1. If I ever got stuck in a long line with some preachy git, the janitors would be having a field day cleaning up bits of exploded skull and brain matter off the walls and ceiling.

    Boors talking loudly on cellphones in restaurants and noisy people in theaters is one thing; they’re to be expected and, frankly, it’s their right. But for some dolt to decide to start preaching to a bunch of folks who just want to get through whatever they’re doing and go home – for fuck’s sake, shut the fuck up.

  2. Exactly. It's annoying enough being in line at the DMV, to add random preaching man to the mix would be torturous.

  3. You should check out his piece about being "A Herald, not a Negotiator".

    He's basically resigned himself to being nothing more than a mouthpiece; endlessly spouting the gospel at people with absolutely no interest in whether or not they're listing to what he's saying.

    Very interesting psychology but oh so very annoying!

  4. I've been stuck on hours-long flights with really-excited-to-tell-me-about-their-religion folks. It never fails to flabbergast. I'm not going to sit there and tell them all about my personal beliefs, am I? No, because they wouldn't care.

    It's like that joke: A man and a woman were standing together at the party. The man was talking and talking, going on and on about himself. After a while, he paused to take breath and said, "Well! Enough about me - let's talk about you. What do you think of me?"

  5. Check out his "blasphemy is never funny" post; It's funny.

    His comment policy is a classic too.

  6. Tony is quite possibly the most annoying individual in the world. I wonder what he would think of your comments if he read them?

    Oh who am I kidding? He wouldn't think at all.

  7. I have slightly more sympathy for people like this. They think we are going to suffer for eternity if we don't listen. If I thought that people would burn in hell forever if they didn't believe the right thing, I'd probably spend a lot of my time trying to get them to believe. In that regard, many evangelicals are more merciful than their deity. They believe in a deity which has no problem torturing billions. They on the other hand try to prevent that from happening.

    That said, that doesn't defend it completely like why so much of the preaching is so damn ineffective or even counterproductive. And the fact that many of them also think that they don't even need to actually make a good case just "plant seeds" doesn't help. And I've met at least one woman who apparently thought that she had no obligation to make a good case and that the real reason she was doing it was so that at Judgment Day we'd all be "without excuse for your behavior since you were warned." So even if some of them are preaching because they are good but misguided people, a lot of them are just sick, sadistic creatures lacking in compassion or empathy for their fellow humans.

  8. Huh, I have a bad habit of relating everything I hear to animal husbandry, usually horsemanship. And look there, I've done it again. But on the topic of evangelism, I am reminded of the ideas put forth in This American Life's episode on the Gospel of Inclusion. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=1273


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