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Whenever You’re Ready…

Overheard a woman tonight explaining her approach to evangelism. I won’t be able to quote her verbatim, but this is pretty close:

“When you’re ready. I don’t try to make someone believe; I can’t do that. But when the time comes, when they need God and they’re ready for the Message, it will be there for them.”

Clearly she was proud of herself: her gentle approach and the spirit of Christian charity with which she offered patience. I suppose it’s better than Torquemada’s approach to conversion, or even Pat Robertson’s. But does it really demonstrate a generosity of spirit?

Imagine the same sentiment came from an atheist: “When you’re ready. I don’t try to make someone give up superstition; I can’t do that. But when the time comes, when you no longer need the comfort of an imaginary magical friend and you’re ready to face the world as an adult, rationalism will be there for you.”

Sounds pretty patronizing, doesn’t it? Especially the smug assurance that the day will surely come. I wonder how she might react to the same condescension reflected back upon her from one of the converts she seeks. Judging by other evangelists I’ve met, she’d probably politely and excuse herself. But her private thoughts would not be very Christian at all, I’m sure. By the same token, the nasty attitude she’s spreading with smiles and condescension isn’t very Christian, either.

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