I admit, I am woefully out of touch with the political/popular culture/news networks/word-on-the-national-street scene. I am. But this whole Brit Hume thing hit my radar last night and again this morning. Last night I heard about it on the “Daily Show with John Stewart” and this morning one of my friends linked to the article I just linked to. Now, sure, sure, the fact that I watch the Daily Show says something about me, politically. It does. I admit. But probably not as much as you might think. I’m more of a political misfit than anything else. That’s my full-disclosure disclaimer. And I’m not going to say a whole lot specifically about the Brit Hume thing because I figure you can Google it and find out everything you want about it.
What struck me most about the article linked above is not the article itself, but comment #4 under the article. I didn’t even read beyond comment 4.1 because I want to hope that 4.1 is accurate and I don’t want to discover otherwise. And comment 4 was enough to get my dander up and start my rant a’ragin’ about proselytizing in general. Although, I was using the word evangelizing. In my world, they’re the same thing. I looked up proselytize on the Mirriam Webster dictionary site and it says, “to induce someone to convert to one’s faith.” When I look up evangelize, it says, “1. to preach the gospel to; 2. to convert to Christianity.” So, to my reading, evangelizing is the Christian form of proselytizing. I suspect I’ve lost some people right there. That’s OK.
Now I’m going to say something shocking: I don’t have a problem with proselytizing or evangelizing. In fact, I make a living doing it. Well, at this point I make a pittance because I do very little of it professionally, but still. Ultimately? It is my job not only to proselytize, but to equip others to do the very same thing. My form of proselytizing is called evangelizing because of the root of that word, evangel, is a form of the phrase Good News and that’s the same as Gospel and that’s the story of Jesus I’m telling (that involves Greek and if you want me to draw it out a bit, I will, but I didn’t want to waste words flaunting my Greekiness 😉 ). And, because I’m trying my darnedest to convince people that this Good News about Jesus is true–and, consequently, exclusively true–then, yeah. I think you could safely call it proselytizing.
Now. That being said . . . There is a way to evangelize and there is a way not to evangelize. And to determine the effectiveness of one’s evangelistic tactics, I’ve devised a simple tool:
When you evangelize, do people
A. run toward you, to hear more? Or
B. run screaming to get as far away from you as they possibly can, as fast as they can?
If you answered (A.) . . . Congratulations! You are indeed evangelizing! You are sharing Good News that is, apparently, being perceived as Good News and there is a strong possibility that God will use you to enlighten and enliven people to his Truth.
If you answered (B.) . . . Sorry. You lose. Even if what you are sharing is Good News, it is not worth a darn if people don’t hear it as Good News and want nothing to do with you or your News. Rather than evangelizing–or proselytizing–you are demonizing the Good News, presenting it in such a way that it sends people running as if from demons. You are making a bad name for all Christians and, most heinous of all, for the name above all names, no other by which we must be saved, the Lord of all creation, Jesus Christ.
So. Should Brit Hume should be called out on the carpet for proselytizing? Well. Probably not in the way it’s presently being done. Because really, he wasn’t proselytizing. Well. He probably was proselytizing: he might have been convincing people to convert to some faith, just not to his own Christian faith. But whatever he was doing, he was not evangelizing. Even if your News is Good, when you present it all wrong, you’re not going to convince anybody. The fact that non-believers are running in the opposite direction should be proof enough of that. So, really, the people being most vocal in their fury toward Brit Hume really have nothing to worry about, as he is doing nothing to convert people to Christ. And the people who should be most annoyed by him, who should be doing the calling out and holding to account, are Christian believers, ones who are striving and doing their darnedest to succeed in making disciples of all nations.