From the Detail Backward to the Cause

   For your evangelism, encourage persons to join with others in society who may not know Christ. Keep the institution of the church outward from the conversation for so long as you may, so you need not overcome the misapprehensions about the institutionalized church.

   In short, take care when you suddenly raise a crowd to keep Christian "organizations" at arm’s length, lest you sacrifice the spontaneity of the Spirit. At the moment sectarianism enters the mix you find yourself making baptists, methodists, et al; anything but converts intended for heaven.

   Accept the man as you find him; buttoned down and pressed, tattooed and pierced, eaten up wit anxiety, superficially self-confident, consumed with the latest incurable STD. He will never ask you to affirm inerrancy. He will, by vocal demand, insist you present and defend your position. He will accept the portions of your ethos he finds pleasing to his momentary needs. If the Spirit moves to convert him, he will still never align himself with all your thoughts, for you, also, accept the portions of the Story able to meet your expressed needs.

   The 21st century evangel practices his art mostly as poet, plain truth cloaked in verse. Our own Story says a dozen or so befuddled poets can penetrate their culture, though one be the devil’s pawn.

   What centers our conversation? If we exist in an ever-expanding circle of hope, retracing its path eternally, while growing outward multilaterally with enormous energy, the core of our conversation is the Common Metaphor, the Attractor.

   The American Traditonal Evangel, coming out of the World War, could transform through conformity. He could find his center in the mass rally, with the long hours of cottage prayer meetings prior and a heady ram’s horn of a preacher in the pulpit daring men to choose Hell.

   The Modern American evangel could still rally but he was a business system’s man. He met at the front door with a tract or a marked Bible, propositional truths buttressed by incarnational courage to knock on the door.

   Non-traditonals meet around the coffee cup or the casserole in quiet conversation while wired to the world. Theirs is a sensual center; they must feel and then think, though the synaptic relays connecting the two acts may be so close the two seem one.



3 thoughts on “From the Detail Backward to the Cause”

  1. Rick, I am a little confused. How can you tell people to leave Christian organizations out of the mix for as long as possible, in order to save themselves from the sectarian issue, and then say that people need to dress up for church? Please correct me if I misunderstood what you said .
    It just seems odd to me because, in my opinion, one of the most common associations with Christian organizations is with their dress code. Thus it seems logical to assume that if a non-traditional/non-churched individual would feel both more comfortable and automatically more accepted by church goers who chose to dress a little more ‘normal’.

  2. Dress normal? The what is more normal? A suit? People under 50 don’t really care how you dress. They do care if you are friendly, if they are excepted as they are and are you willing to include them in spite of how they appear.
    Dr. Davis, Mr. Evangelism, we thank you for your insights!

  3. Rick, I wish you would do a piece on what it means for a church to be institutionalized. What happens to a church when it becomes institutionalized? Are there characteristics common to all institutionaliozed churches? I use this term a lot, but I fear I may use it without really understandfing its ramifications.

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