The name for this blog comes from the Hebrew word merchab. Merchab is a masculine noun that appears most often in the Psalms of the Hebrew Scriptures. It means a broad or roomy place, an expansive place, a wide place. Read more...

May 14, 2009

Drive By Tract Attack

I came into the office this morning to find a tract dropped on my table. Later, I found another in the hall downstairs. The preschool teacher had moved it off her preschool’s library bookshelf. Both tracts had been left anonymously, no contact information, no possible way to identify the source, no opportunity for feedback, no chance to ask a question. How can we talk when I don’t know who you are?

Whoever deposited these bits of literature on our church premises presumably assumed they might do us some good. The one given to me appeared intended to tell me what kind of leader I should be. The tract left in the preschool was evidently aimed at the pre-school parents, assuming they might want to learn what it means to be Christian.

When Jesus wanted to teach he made personal connections. He looked people in the eye, called them by name. He touched them when they were hurting and sick. He went into their homes and spent time with their families. He ate with them, traveled with them and met them in the places they did business. I have no doubt, whoever deposited these bits of paper on our premises does many of these things. But a piece of paper is not a relationship; Jesus calls us into relationship.

The Good News of Jesus comes to us in flesh and blood. It is shared by the costly action of connecting with others. Evangelism means being willing to pay the price of knowing and being known. It means being the good news you want to share. It requires openness and listening, a willingness to enter another person’s life, a willingness perhaps even to be changed ourselves by what we encounter in the other.

I hope writing a blog is not just another form of drive by tract-attack.

I admit blogging suits my introverted shy personality. But, at least there is some opportunity for engagement. The potential for feedback, even extended dialogue, is always present. And there is some accountability. Most people who read these words probably know me personally. So, when I say something outrageous or stupid, I can always be challenged. A blog may not be as personal as face-to-face conversation; but it bears some resemblance to relationship.

I hope I have the courage to stand by the words I deposit into cyberspace. I aim to be available to back up my words with my presence when that is called for. It is my intention that the many words I launch into the world may be embodied in the life I try to live. I hope there will always be enough people who hear my words and see my actions to hold me to this intention.

I do not want to hide behind the anonymity of a blog. I want to see and be seen. Good News is most deeply conveyed when it comes with a face.

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