Interrupted while reading

This is a fairly normal occurrence – I’m reading a book while eating my lunch. People (usually guys) think that they have to comment on it. It happened last Friday, when an older lady felt it necessary to then tell me that she only reads the Bible and Christian fiction. (I was reading a science-fiction book, which usually makes people like her twitch) Instead of letting her “witness” to me (because I’ve seen this play out before that way), I turned it around and said that I can find goodness in everything I read, because God is everywhere. That kind of short-circuited her head.

She has no idea who I am, that I have written several non-fiction Christ-based books. This kind of blind “witnessing” is something that Jesus never did.

In general, the guys use this as an opportunity to hit on me. The ladies use it as an opportunity to “witness”. Both don’t get that I’m not buying what they are selling – for the first, I’m married. For the second, I’m already a member of the club.

But either way, it is rude, on many levels. It just isn’t a good way to start a conversation or a relationship.

I’m thinking of coming up with a script like “Yeah, isn’t it strange that total strangers think it is OK to interrupt someone who is minding her own business, reading a book?”

Is reading in public such an anomaly that it requires comment?

“Good News” vs. Hellfire

We are told to preach the Gospel – that is, the Good News. We are told to preach the message of Jesus – that we are forgiven, that God loves us so much that He came down to be with us, that there is life after death. So often, people don’t preach the Good News. They preach hellfire and damnation. What is “Good” about that?

We aren’t told to be fearmongers. We are specifically told not to judge others. Paul tells that we are to challenge our brother if he has issue with us, but Jesus didn’t.

What drew you to following Jesus? Was it out of love, or fear?

What habits are you likely to do – ones out of love, or fear? Do you exercise and eat well out of love – love for the precious gift that is your body, or fear of death? What attitude is more likely to make you want to keep taking care of your body?

Jesus says that only those that He calls to himself are those that will come. So yelling at and judging people who don’t follow Jesus is pointless and not Christ-like behavior. They will come only if He calls them.

Helen Keller, deaf and dumb from early childhood, was locked in her world of silence. Someone finally told her about God, and she was grateful. She said that it was nice to have a name for the feeling she had. She had already been called.

We shouldn’t try to drag people to Jesus out of fear. We need to do it out of love.

Instead of telling people that they will go to hell if they don’t follow Jesus, why not tell them how they will life more abundantly if they do?

In John 10:10, Jesus says
“I assure you: Anyone who doesn’t enter the sheep pen by the door but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The doorkeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. 5 They will never follow a stranger; instead they will run away from him, because they don’t recognize the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus gave them this illustration, but they did not understand what He was telling them. 7 So Jesus said again, “I assure you: I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.”

Jesus fish.

I have a new doctor who is Christian. I’d love to recommend him to my boss, but she is aggressively anti-Christian. She thinks Christians are kind of like zombies – brainless. She has mentioned that she will walk out of a place if she sees any Christian signs, like a cross or a Jesus fish. He would be able to help her a lot, but I know that she would feel uncomfortable getting help from him.

I know of two people who wanted to join a gym, but they wouldn’t join the YMCA. They felt like they would be proselytized to. One was Jewish and one was Jehovah’s Witness. I’m a member of the Y and while people feel comfortable talking about God and Jesus while they are there, they don’t push it on others. Even at the Y people are careful to make sure people are on the same wavelength. Sure, there are quotes from the Bible on the walls. Sure, the shirts mention Jesus. But it is no more than you’d see at the mall, and they don’t preach to you or try to convert you. They try to serve you as Jesus would, and Jesus wasn’t pushy. If you wanted to come to him, he was there for you. He never forced himself on people.

But then there are places that use Christian signs to get business, but they aren’t nice people. I once got a roofing estimate from a place called “Genesis roofing” that had a Bible quote on their truck. The salesman was indifferent. He talked down to me. He went up on the roof and then left without saying anything. It was strange. It certainly wasn’t what I expected of a place that advertised itself as Christian. I wrote them, saying as much, and they never responded.

I think it is closed-minded to refuse to do business with a company or person just because they say they are Christian. I also think it is closed-minded to only do business with Christian companies or people. There has to be some level of balance and trust and openness.

We can’t let fear of “the other” stop us from living our lives.