Thursday, May 01, 2008

Why I Can't Tell You

Why, whywhywhywhywhy, is it so difficult for me as a Christian to witness to my faith with as much passion and delight as I tell a friend about an amazing movie I just saw? This was a revelation to me almost 2 decades back; I was in a Bible study, and someone made the point that modern American Christians talk about a new sushi restaurant with more enthusiasm than they do their faith.

Of course, this might be because even as Christians, we know that ANY audience is more willing to accept a movie review than a witness. If anyone starts to share their faith with me, unaware that "I already have a subscription to that magazine, thanks," I feel that same sinking feeling, that same dismay as even an atheist might feel in such a confrontation. It has become impossible to witness in this country.

Well, that's not entirely so. People on the brink of disaster, of immense loss, illness or depression, might be willing to hear. When you're in pain, you're willing to entertain any possible solutions.

But it is this instinctive shrinking back, this fear of alienating others, that keeps me silent on the subject. I reassure myself that it is because it is better to "live out my faith," let my actions speak louder than my words. An ounce of behavior is worth a pound of words, my acting teacher always said. But the silent guilt of "you really should be doing more" still wafts around me (and many of my Christian friends).

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