Hospitality is better than ‘outreach’

Hospitality is better than ‘outreach’ September 3, 2012

Evangelism is hospitality. And Addie Zierman explains why inflatable Sumo Suits and marketing hype are not the best form of hospitality.

Zierman’s post is titled “Outreach Events and the Old Bait-and-Switch.” That tactic — “bait-and-switch” — is from the world of sales. Evangelism should never be about sales or selling or marketing.

In the context of sales, even free pizza becomes inhospitable. Free pizza offered as bait, or as a sales premium, isn’t really free. It’s given in the hope, or in the expectation, of getting something in return. That’s not hospitality.

Adam Fisher isn’t talking about evangelism here, but it’s something akin to it:

You can’t talk someone out of his fears or loves or needs or aversions. The best you can do is to urge them on, and hope that they will come to the end of their own railroad track … debark … and have a doughnut and a cup of coffee.

Try to be there to share the coffee and doughnut. Go ahead and spring for the check, even, just don’t do it expecting something in return.

Oh, and don’t forget Rule No. 1 of evangelism (and everything else): Don’t be an asshole.

* * * * * * * * *

• Melanie Tannenbaum discusses the psychology of Bildad, Eliphaz, Zophar and Todd Akin.

• The Revealer shares an excerpt from Colin Dickey’s Afterlives of the Saints. Dickey recounts the death of St. George:

George was killed three separate times and resurrected three times by the Archangel Michael so he could undergo more torture. During this orgy of violence, George managed to raise some 460 people from the dead and convert them, miraculously producing water from the ground for their baptism. He turned the throne of the emperor into a fruit-bearing tree, cured a child of blindness, and resurrected an ox. The molten lead poured into his mouth did not stop him from summoning and directly engaging Apollo, whom he forced to confess that he was not a real god. When George was finally beheaded, a rain of fire consumed his tormentors, an earthquake terrified all who remained, and then milk and honey flowed from his corpse.

Dickey seems to suspect that portions of that account may have been embellished. Even so, I think St. George would make an ideal patron saint for the persecuted hegemon.

• I’m intrigued by Mark Edward’s new tell-all book, Psychic Blues: Confessions of a Conflicted Medium. I’m looking forward to similar future memoirs from Bob Larson, David Barton, Ralph Reed and Tony Perkins. Among many others.

Noah gets a lift from the U.S. Coast Guard.

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