Evangelism has certainly gained a bad reputation. The very word itself is stained with negative connotations. At its worst, evangelism comes across as oppressive and belligerent, a dictation of truth and refusal to hear from the Other. At its best, however, evangelism is “one bum telling another bum where he found bread.” Evangelism was long considered the most loving thing a Christian could do, an expression of care, a sharing of oneself and one’s deepest commitments. Unfortunately, decades of poor evangelism (and sometimes unfair representations in the press) have made it difficult for Christians to discuss their faiths openly in our society today.
Yet consider the following video. It appeared on Oprah, and–be forewarned–you might want to have a tissue nearby. And don’t worry; you’re not going to be preached at.In some respects, at least, this strikes me as an excellent example of what Christian witness can look like in the contemporary world; an open, searching, brutally honest reflection on life, its struggles and sufferings, and yet also a testimony to the power of faith in the midst of it all. Christians are not required to hide their depressions and anxieties, and one wonders whether the parents on this video grew a little angrier with God than it seems. If so, that’s fine, and they should be equally open about that. But for those of us who are wondering what faithful witness looks like in today’s world, this may be an example.