Don’t Fear the E-Word, Part 2: What Next?

… continued from Tuesday’s post, “Back in the Day”.

The E-Word. *EVANGELISM*. A sordid past. A tattered rep.

But it’s the thing Jesus told us to do. All of us. Therefore, ignoring it is not an option.

So … What Next?

I don’t know. And neither do you.

But that’s a GOOD thing, because if we can just accept not knowing and knock off all the posturing & the certainty & the stone-chiseled Truisms about who’s in, who’s out & what all that means, then we can embrace our not knowing, share our ideas & experiences, and work together to try to figure things out.

I’ve got a few ways of framing this that seem to work well for me because of how my brain works and what’s built into my DNA. Like Neil Gaiman has said, “I like things to be story-shaped.” So for me, it’s about Story. Narrative. And crossing into and out of one another’s stories to form a larger narrative.

So here’s my metaphor of the moment. I’ll run with this and hopefully set a tone that will encourage us to share this road and build one another up as a community:

I like to think of us all as a motley crew of fools on a path, carrying a challenging but worthwhile guidebook containing a variety of notes from a variety of people in a variety of times and places telling stories of how they went about navigating this same path. And in that guidebook we have a sketch of a map, drawn by yet another variety of people, depicting the story of Jesus, a person who is, for many of us, the quintessential path-walker – the one who knows the path so well that he, in essence, IS the path. Yet he seems to have walked the path in such a radical and unexpected way that most pathwalkers since then have had a really hard time deciphering the route – or have had a really hard time accepting the radical, challenging, and foolish-seeming terrain that the route calls us to pass through. On top of that we have lots of advice from our forbearers about how to read the guidebook, how to navigate the path, and how to best emulate the one who showed us what, for us, is the truest route. And yes, it is vitally important that we pay attention to what our forbearers have shown us – vitally important to avoid the hubris of thinking we’ve got it all in the bag and we know where we’re going & how to get there and we don’t need them and their creeds and interpretations and doctrines and institutions. We DO need them.

BUT – I don’t think it’s okay to stop with them. We are here in this time, this place, this postmodern world. And I believe God is still speaking – and we are still journeying, still struggling to listen, and still, all of us, working with broken hearts, selfish minds, and fearful spirits while we try to suss out Meaning.

I don’t think we can go around pretending that this is easy, or simple, or so clearly mapped out that the route should be as obvious as some of us seem to insist. I can’t do this alone. And neither can you. We need to figure it out together, walk it together, risk it together, and build the Kindom Road together. And by ‘together’ I mean we embrace as many voices and muscles and minds as we can. We need to be in conversation, and that, essentially, is the central premise from which The Motley Evangelists Guild will work. I believe that evangelism is conversation – between equals – sharing good news of grace and justice, and sharing our variety of faith stories and perspectives with patience, forbearance, humility, authenticity, and a sincere desire to come together in all our motley diversity and wise foolishness to shape communities.

So that’s what I feel called to do with this blog. I’d love to have you in on it. I’d love to be in conversation with you. Let’s be evangelists with one another, to one another and while we are being let’s also walk the path of becoming.

I welcome your input, your ideas, your comments, your voices, and your friendships.

Let’s do this thing.

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