Evangelical Guilt Complex

1 10 2007

        I think I’m suffering from Evangelical Guilt Complex.  EGC syndrome is brought on by the feeling that you should be walking up to strangers in the grocery store and asking if they have a deep and meaningful relationship with Jesus.  I can’t do that!  I’m, um, not really comfortable with knocking on doors and handing out pamphlets, either.
       I read the lovely little book, “Share Jesus without Fear.”  I even marked up a little pocket bible to carry around and witness with, but had fear anyhow and never ended up showing it to anyone.
       I have an uneasy suspicion that, though I would like to yeild a 100-fold return on God’s investment in my life, the only people I witness to may turn out to be my kids.  Maybe I should just adopt 100 kids….
       It’s a good thing I’m not a Jehova’s Witness- I’d never make it into the kingdom.
       So when I read Abbye’s blog about the beautiful light-stick service (see Abs of Steel in my blogroll), I had a severe attack of EGC.  Any time someone starts talking about people being empowered to go out and reach their community for Christ I get one of those test-day tummy aches.  I begin to feel a real need to lay in bed all day eating cookies and reading.  My palms get sweaty and I want to go hide in the bathtub.
       You get the feeling you’re supposed to DO it, but don’t know how.  Maybe that’s why so many people are guilty of Evangelism Abuse.  You know, where they walk up to you and make you feel like you’re going to hell and glad to get there because you won’t be bunking with the person who’s talking to you?
       My idea, which I commented to P.A. (and shouldn’t have- this is my official apology!) was that perhaps we should have like, some kind of class where we could practice a non-threatening effective approach.
       But Pastor Ron must have read my mind (again) and talked this morning about how NO approach was ever going to work out.  (Whew!  You mean it’s not just me?)  What he said, and I loved this, was that if you were soaked in the Holy Spirit, totally given to God, that you would know what to say, know what to do & how to do it.
       Of course, I’ve never actually known what to do yet, but I now have hope that perhaps some day Holy Spirit will whisper in my ear and give me something to say to help somebody.  Hey, come on, it’s possible!  Even for me.
        It would be awfully nice to talk to someone sucessfully and feel like it was one of those God Appointments.  I’ve never had that happen.  When I had to fill out the church application to be a child-care worker, I felt really guilty because when it asked, “Have you ever led someone to Christ?” I had to say, “No.”  (Well, unless my 4-year-old son counts.)
       It’s hard to feel like you know this overwhelmingly wonderful person who makes all of life worthwhile and beautiful and makes you get up in the morning singing, and not be able to get other people to come meet Him.
       I love God SO much, I love him, I love him, I love him!  I don’t love the bible- it’s a book.  Church is nice, and the people are great, but it’s being with God himself that is just incredible.  Today in pre-service prayer I went from Blah to Shazaam in about two seconds.  I felt God’s prescence drop around my shoulders like he came up behind me and lay his arm around my neck. 
      I could tell Edith felt it too, because her hand started shaking in mine.  How can I describe his presence?  It’s overwhelming.  The feeling that someone is there is so strong it’s undeniable, and the someone is wonderful- so loving, so real, so exciting.  Sometimes he speaks to me, and sometimes he just pulls me up in his lap (spiritually speaking) and I feel loved, loved, loved, forever loved.  God makes me beautiful.  It’s like being all alone locked in a dark room and having the person you love most in the world come open the door and let you out.
       We all want something in life.  We want cars or money or friends or jobs or a new TV or health or someone to love.  Seeing God is like seeing all those things heaped on top of each other.  It’s like longing and hungering and starving for a peanut butter sandwich and then seeing the Golden Coral Buffet with a big “Eat all you Want” sign over it.  Seeing God for the first time is incredible, because you suddenly know that THIS is what you really wanted all the time and just didn’t know it.  Love at first sight with electricity running up and down your spine.  And the really fantastic thing is that the thrill doesn’t wear off- it actually gets better every time you experience his prescence.  Even the times I get in trouble with him are wonderful.  I’d rather have God fussing at me than having anyone else on Earth handing me an award!
      Oh, I wish I could tell people!  But when they look at me with sarcastic eyes all my words dry up.  I become silent and ashamed.  The scientific mindset hurts me.  “Prove there is a god!” they seem to demand.  But how can I prove him?  I just talked with him yesterday.  He told me something wonderful I would never have thought of on my own.  He healed my back when I wasn’t even expecting it!  But how can I prove it?
       And what on earth do you say if they say, “Well you may need that, but I don’t.”  Good grief, if you don’t need it, you ought to want it!  Who doesn’t want True Love complete with the handsome prince, the white horse, the palace and the happily ever after?  If only I had a magic wand I could use to make them see.
       It’s not like believing in Santa Claus.  It’s like believing in my husband when he’s on a business trip and he emails me and talks to me every day and sends me checks when I need them!  Good grief!  How could I NOT believe?
      Now if only I could think of a way to say it….




3 responses

2 10 2007

Angela – all I can say is…wow. If you think you don’t know how to make God sound enticing to someone, you’re crazy! This post was so full of authenticity that it was seeping down my computer screen. You have an amazing way of communicating – but you’re like me and most other writers – it comes so much more easily on paper than it does coming out of your mouth. Why is that? It’s a process. But let me just say this – it’s not about going door to door or blurting out the Romans Road to salvation to everyone you come in contact with. It’s ALL about being real to your family, your friends, your neighbors…your sphere of influence. The Angela in this post is an incredible woman of God who has this amazing relationship with Him – don’t be afraid to live that out in front of other people. And also know that your writing is an incredible tool to effectively communicate Christ..use it…take advantage of this gift in you! That’s all for now…you are amazing to me!

5 10 2007

Oh, Angela, you are soooo not alone. I have been thinking about EGC all week. The work I do is filled with people who have heard it all and 95% have a negative view of what they think of as Christians. One of the first things I learned in Hair dressing school was do not talk about your faith or you politics. Pretty good rule actually.
And so, I have to live it. I have heard it said that “Your actions speak so loud that I cannot hear what your words are saying.” Living it is probably harder than telling it. People in my industry make a living by studying people and can spot a phony 100 miles away. Being real means being transparent. Sometimes I fail miserably at responding to circumstances in a Christian manner, but that is a part of being real. I am still becoming.
Leading your 4 year old son to the Lord counts in a major way! You and Neal have influence over the next generation. It was my biggest thrill when my daughter came to Jesus. She walked away for some time but the Word is faithful. She came back to the truth she was raised in and is on fire for Jesus. She is far more bold in her faith than I am. My grandsons now know Jesus as Lord. That is 3 generations in my family that will change the world in their own way, using the gifts that Yahweh has given them. You have begun that same process. Breaking generational curses over your decendants. Changing the world one kid at a time. I think you and Neal should adopt 200 children!!
(easy for me to say;) You are both very cool and very real.

6 10 2007

I could never tell someone about Christ without Holy Spirit and especially without a relationship with Him. I recall those that tried to witness to me and thought yae right. They were genuine about what they thought they believed but in no way displayed a oneness with Him. It was a turnoff. You have a genuine relationship with Jesus and it shows. That’s witnessing! Hang on sooner or later you’ll find yourself just blurting out stuff about him without having to create some script because you spend time with Him. In fact you’re already doing that through a tremendous gift God gave you. Don’t worry about what you can’t do. Just keep doing what you’re doing. I have a feeling when we’re all together in heaven you’ll find that you’ve witnessed a lot more than you realized.

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