7. How to evangelize: Be in pursuit
Butterfield challenges Christians to let go of their self-righteous prejudices and unfounded fears, and make friends with those they consider different by their own initiative:
They knew that they needed to bring the church to me, that I could not, could NOT, come to the church… We don’t want to have gay and lesbian friends because…why? What are they going to do? Go ahead, bring it on. What, you’ll have to talk to your children? Good! Your children will be better off if you talk to them about it…
I believe this conversation is no longer going to happen effectively in the public square. We Christians are perceived as hard-hearted, outdated, outmoded; we speak out against gay marriage, we’re bigots. We are no longer relevant. We need to gain a sense of relevance again, and we will do that by being good neighbors, by being good friends, by engaging with people on the private sector of things…
Who is this Jesus? If we debate the politics and the culture, it’ll go forever. But who is this Jesus who has called you to give up so much? Who is this Jesus who would be humiliated to be born in human form and to die on the cross?
Her analysis of society demonstrates that we need less vitriolic emails, less political facebook posts and less arguing on the superficial levels of politics and ‘family values’—these conversations need to happen in our homes, with our children, or they’ll be communicated to deaf ears.
They also need to be centered around the root of the issue, not the peripherals: “Who is Jesus Christ?”
8. How to evangelize: Part with preferences
Butterfield was amazed that the pastor who invited her to dinner made a real attempt to connect with what Butterfield felt was valuable. He sacrificed his personal preferences to reach out, while not compromising in his integrity:
He didn’t have air conditioning, and that was important. One of the things I had presumed about Christians was that evangelical Christians were people who just felt entitled to have a kind of dominion over the earth that is hateful and violent. And unhelpful, unkind.
But their house was a little bit like my house. They served a vegetarian meal, and that was helpful because at that point I felt that the eating of meat was a violent activity, and their home and their culture didn’t actually seem so different from mine.
As Christians, we need to strip away every unbiblical obstacle to Christ and meet people where they are, and sacrifice our preferences for nonessentials in order to do the essential work of evangelism.