Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sara Bareilles King of Anything as a treatise on personal evangelism.

I know I am late to the party again, obviously, the song King of Anything has already sold enough copies to be number one, but, that has never stopped me from saying what I think anyway. I love this song. The lyrics, the tune, the happy feel of it, love it. I also love it for other reasons, that cause me equally to loathe it.

Sharing one's faith is a tricky issue these days, knowing how to bring up the topic, being afraid of what who will think, and, according to the latest Pew poll, for many believers, even have a clear understanding of the issue themselves can be an issue.

The song, whether aimed at well meaning Christians or not, hits the nail on the head. For those who just humm and tap your toes, here are the lyrics, as written by Sara Bareilles:

Keep drinkin' coffee
Stare me down across the table
While I look outside

So many things I'd say if only I were able
But I just keep quiet
And count the cars that pass by

You've got opinions, man
We're all entitled to 'em
But I never asked

So let me thank you for time
And try to not waste any more of mine
Get out of here fast

I hate to break it you babe
But I'm not drowning
There's no one here to save

Who cares if you disagree
You are not me
Who made you king of anything
So you dare tell me who to be
Who died
And made you king of anything

You sound so innocent
All full of good intent
You swear you know best

But you expect me to
Jump up on board with you
Right off into your dellusional sunset

I'm not the one who's lost
With no direction oh
But you won't ever see

You're so busy makin' maps
With my name on them in all caps
You got the talkin' down just not the listening

And who cares if you disagree
You are not me
Who made you king of anything
So you dare tell me who to be
Who died
And made you king of anything

All my life
I've tried
To make everybody happy while I
Just hurt
And hide
Waitin' for someone to tell me it's my turn
To decide

(With another chorus followed by:)

Let me hold your crown, babe

Now many of you may wonder what I mean by bringing this song into a discussion of personal evangelism. The clearest road map as to how it should be done, not necessarily what should be said, can be found in Jesus words to the seventy members of his band of followers that were sent out to spread the gospel. Among instructions about what to pack and where to go, we find these items: Go into a city, stop at the first house you see, if they accept you, stay there and teach. If they do not, go on to another house, any city that does not accept you, shake the dust of its streets from your feet and move on.

Refreshing, isn't it? Just share, if they like it, share more, if they are nor interested, buzz off. Now, I don't think this is exactly a model for personal contact with friends and acquaintances, but I do think we can take a lot from the words of the master.
How many times have you felt you were beating your head against a brick wall, in your attempts to “lead someone to Christ” ? Well, if you insist on brow beating, cajoling and coercing, go see Isaiah chapter one to see what God thinks about constant religious posturing, it ain't good.

Here, is what I believe, if I share with someone about the gospel, I need to wait to be invited in, as in the example of Jesus instructions to the seventy. That conversation can't start with, “So, I noticed you're gay, do you know what the Bible says about that?” or, “Was that your pickup I saw at the titty-bar while I was on my way to Church?”. We need to wait for a genuine invitation into the lives of others. Then we need to focus on Him, not them. If they like what we say, and want to hear more, then the path is laid for further conversation, if not, don't keep asking.

This next part is like shooting a three pointer, on one leg, blindfolded, with a medicine ball, hard if not impossible. Our job in this context goes back to the two great commands, love God, love your neighbor. No matter what. We are never released from this, ever. So, what that means is, we continue to be loving towards that person. We look for opportunities to pray for them (don't ask, don't tell, just pray) that God will intervene in their lives and make himself apparent.

In other words, we continue to be a friend, whether they kick out their boyfriend or not, whether they continue visiting the “gentleman's club” or not. It is not our job to save them, as the song implies, many people do not even recognize their need for salvation, which has to be the first step. That is not your job. That is the Holy Spirit's job. If they ask you what the Bible says about something, kindly and without judgment help them find out. Remember that scripture records Paul as having said that throughout his entire life he had not violated his conscience in his service to God, he genuinely believed that killing Christians was the right thing to do. (had that thought a few time myself, after all they are saved, and they make a lot less noise when they're dead, joking of course, or am I?)

We tend to lose site of the fact that we are just as in need of saving as the next guy. Like the song says, “Who died and made you king of anything?”

Oh, by the way, I hate the song, because I see myself in the person she is singing to, far too often.

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