More Ready Than You Realize: The Power of Everyday Conversations [NOOK Book]

Overview

WARNING: This is not just another book on evangelism. It’s a simple idea of evangelism through friendship first, and the opportunities to share your faith that follow. It will bring friendships you already have to a new levels, and create opportunities for new, authentic friendships with those you will eventually meet. OUT: Evangelism as sales pitch, as conquest, as warfare, as ultimatum, as threat, as proof, as argument, as entertainment, as show, as monologue, as something you have to do. IN: Disciple-making as...

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More Ready Than You Realize: The Power of Everyday Conversations

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Overview

WARNING: This is not just another book on evangelism. It’s a simple idea of evangelism through friendship first, and the opportunities to share your faith that follow. It will bring friendships you already have to a new levels, and create opportunities for new, authentic friendships with those you will eventually meet. OUT: Evangelism as sales pitch, as conquest, as warfare, as ultimatum, as threat, as proof, as argument, as entertainment, as show, as monologue, as something you have to do. IN: Disciple-making as conversation, as friendship, as influence, as invitation, as companionship, as challenge, as opportunity, as conversation, as dance, as something you get to do. You’re more ready for this than you realize, and so are your friends!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310859581
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 8/30/2009
  • Sold by: Zondervan Publishing
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 662,715
  • File size: 710 KB

Meet the Author

Brian D. McLaren (MA, University of Maryland) is an author, speaker, activist and public theologian. After teaching college English, Brian pastored Cedar Ridge Community Church in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area. Brain has been active in networking and mentoring church planters and pastors for over 20 years. He is a popular conference speaker and a frequent guest lecturer for denominational and ecumenical leadership gatherings in the US and internationally.

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Read an Excerpt

More Ready Than You Realize

Evangelism as Dance in the Postmodern Matrix
By Brian D. McLaren

Zondervan

Copyright © 2002 Zondervan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-310-23964-8


Chapter One

I Read Your Book This Morning

Shortly after the release of my second writing project, Finding Faith, I was invited to do a book signing at my church. It was an elegant affair, with a punch bowl (full of a bright red liquid, as I recall, but with a flavor hard to place) complete with a floating ring of something frozen and neon green, and silver trays of crumbly hors d'oeuvres-tasty, but messy, and too small to satisfy a hungry guy who didn't eat before coming. The final touch? The tasteful organizers had hired a talented harpist (a college student living near Washington D.C., but from Philadelphia) to provide delightful background music. After some informal socializing, I participated in an interview about the book (which gave the harpist a break-during which I happened to notice her leafing through a copy of my book), and then the music began and the small crowd returned to informal conversation.

At the end of the evening, I noticed the harpist struggling to load her harp into her van. (I secretly was thankful that I play the guitar, which is a lot easier to transport!) I offered to help her, and it wasn't easy. (Those harpists may look and sound as delicate as petite piccolo players, but they have to be stronger than tuba players!) After we closed the rear gate of her vehicle, she turned to me and with complete seriousness said, "While you were talking, I had a chance to look through your book. I have a question for you: Do you mean all that stuff you wrote in the book, or are you just trying to make Christianity sound good?"

I said, "Well, Alice (not her real name), that's quite a question! Tell me what you mean," and so began what I call a "spiritual friendship"-a friendship that continues to this day. I didn't actually see Alice for several months after that initial meeting, but I gave her a copy of my book, and within twenty-four hours I got the first of many emails, which I would like to share with you, with Alice's permission. I share them with you for a number of reasons:

1. So you can hear the real "voice" of an authentic spiritual seeker of a postmodern bent.

2. So you can begin to see how modern Christianity looks to a postmodern seeker.

3. So you can begin to imagine how you would have responded to Alice, to prepare yourself for some meaningful spiritual dialogues of your own.

4. So you can get a fresh vision of what evangelism should and can be.

I've maintained Alice's spelling and punctuation, and have only changed a few details for the sake of privacy. I hope you will find her messages as winsome, intriguing, stimulating, and challenging as I have.

From: Alice To: Brian

Hi Brian (do you prefer to be called brian?) this is alice, the harpist from your book signing party. i read your book this morning. it caused me to think a lot about a lot of things. i actually would like to tell you about it, but im afraid this e mail will be very lengthy ... i don't want to burden you (i understand you listen to a lot of people every day!) so im not sure ... but i really need to talk to someone and i dont know, I just felt good about reading your book and about talking to you ... and I cant think of anyone else i can talk to about religion. i know this probably sounds psychotic considering i just met you last night, and under what circumstances i met you ... i dont know. im nervous to say anything at all, really ... well, ill try to make it quick and you dont have to respond, probably more im just writing for myself ... or not ... i don't know. in any case, please dont feel any pressure to respond.

"i read your book this morning." Doesn't that suggest a lot of motivation to you? I hope the book is good, but I don't think I can take credit for that kind of intense interest. And I don't think Alice is alone in this intensity. All around me, all around you, are people who would stay up half the night reading or talking if they could get some help with their spiritual questions. All they need is someone who cares and who has some spiritual experience and wisdom to share. They are more ready than you realize-more ready for a sincere spiritual friendship with someone like you.

I think you will agree that through this email Alice is doing her part to establish a genuine friendship with me. She doesn't want to burden me. She is careful not to be presumptuous, and doesn't demand a response. (How different from some poor so-called evangelists who talk whether or not others want to listen, and demand a response whether the other person is ready and willing or not.) She continues ...

From: Alice To: Brian

like i said to you last night, recently i have been feeling like I want to become a christian, and maybe even start going to church and stuff. but there have been two problems:

Before we get to the problems, notice this: As far as I can remember, Alice said nothing close to "I want to become a Christian." What she said was, "Do you really mean what you said in the book, or are you just trying to make Christianity sound good?" This is a reminder to us that what people mean is often different-and sometimes nearly opposite-of what they say. Underneath a criticism, underneath a seemingly negative statement, can be a test that says, "I really want to become a Christian, but first I must test you to see if you are a safe person to talk to. Will you react, get defensive, argue ... or listen?"

From: Alice To: Brian

like i said to you last night, recently i have been feeling like I want to become a christian, and maybe even start going to church and stuff. but there have been two problems:

1)whenever i go to any church, or read any church literature, i change my mind 2)my boyfriend is a christian.

he belongs to a non-denomenational church in the area, and its very liberal, and hes very liberal, but even despite this, whenever we talk about religion, i feel nauseated. i get so angry (and i dont know why, because i havent had any overly negative experiences witht he church) and i get these horrible visions of brainwashing and the like. the bad thing is, his church IS NOT LIKE THAT. i KNOW im completely unjustified in what i feel. but i cant help it. and every time i talk with him about it (which is usually when im feeling closer to some kind of conversion) i leave feeling worse.

There is a lot here for us to consider. Alice's line about changing her mind whenever she visits a church or reads Christian literature should give every pastor and Christian leader heartburn, if not a heart attack. You will also notice her use of the word liberal-by which, I think, she means contemporary and nontraditional, not "theologically liberal" in the technical sense. This reminds us not to assume that words have the same meanings to everyone. Church people develop complex and specialized lexicons that can be pretty off-putting to non-churchgoers. If we want to become spiritual friends to them, we need to start by not expecting them to conform to our vocabulary. As Christians, we live out a message about a man who came to us on our terms, spoke our language, and crossed the bridge to meet us where we were.

Angry, nauseated, horrible visions, brainwashing, worse-these are strong words and reveal intense feelings. She continues ...

From: Alice To: Brian

this is sort of what happened last night. while i was waiting for him to get back from mass with his parents, i read a couple chapters of your book.... we were talking about it and i told him about reading the book and everything. i really opened up about all that i had been feeling and he was really wonderful with it ... he didnt act super happy and didnt ask too many questions ... he knows how to handle me (the same way i meant how you "handle" your readers ... which im still not sure on, by the way), but inevitably, eventually, we got into an argument about it. its so frustrating for me, because i see so much of what i say is ... blown out of proportion, or something. but then i also feel like i dont owe christianity any breaks and that it deserves the tough microscope i put it under. and i dont know if i really believe that. i also know a lot of what i say to him (my boyfriend) is rooted in pride (perhaps my biggest downfall as a human being)-meaning that i dont want to let him "win" the christianity argument, or whatever....

Notice how her boyfriend was "really wonderful with it" when she began opening up about her spiritual interest: He "didn't act super happy and didn't ask too many questions." In other words, he gave her space. That is something we need to do for our spiritual friends. Can you see how it is possible for us to care too

(Continues...)



Excerpted from More Ready Than You Realize by Brian D. McLaren Copyright © 2002 by Zondervan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments | 9
Introduction | 11
1.I Read Your Book This Morning | 19
2.Closed-Minded and Bigoted and Brainwashed
and Everything Bad | 29
3.Three Realizations | 38
4.Err . . . I’ll Deal with It Later | 43
5.The Modern View of Christianity vs.
the Postmodern View | 52
6.Reaching Christians for Christ | 59
7.There’s No Conflict in My Mind | 63
8.It Hasn’t Been an Issue Yet, But It Will Be | 68
9.I Must Be Interpreting It Wrong, Right?
(Or, Why Am I Even Trying to Like This?) | 72
10.Well, Neither Did Jesus | 77
1 1.The Idea of Playing for and through God | 83
12.On the Verge of Tears . . . Since I Woke Up | 92
13.More Ready Than You Realize | 97
14.Event and Process | 103
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