Sometimes our zeal for sharing something that's important to us blinds us to the havoc we can be wreaking in the process. We're so intent on the end result we seek that we'll say or do a lot of things we shouldn't to get what we desire.
I send metta to the American voter in the coming days, hoping that those many who hear the voices of evangelists and vote on biblical principles will vote on principles of the New Testament rather than the Old.
It seems that everywhere you look today, "the church," especially within historic traditions, is talking about reaching that ever-elusive young adult demographic. Sometimes it feels like we are on some National Geographic safari trying to observe and conserve some rare creature.
Somewhere along the way, Christian outreach became more about personal conversion than about empathy and compassion. One of the biggest turn-offs I hear about Christians is that folks see us as trying to make everyone like us.
Being "fishers of men" is not about getting people to take our bait. It's about casting huge nets of grace and bringing all the people within our reaches along with us into the current of God's Kingdom.
Sometimes the hurtful act is specific, like when my youth leader threw a Bible at me for asking the wrong questions. Sometimes it's rhetorical, either from the pulpit, in a small group study or over a meal.
The other violence inherent with such an ideology is the claim that sharing the gospel is done in love. But, I think this is where the ideological assumptions fall flat, because love is not present in such tactics.
While in every last way pretending to be about practicing love, it's really about instilling fear. What Chan is really saying here is, "Be afraid. Being wrong about hell has terrible, terrible consequences."