Amy at Texas Faith: Is it time for religions to double-down on evangelism?

AMY MARTIN, Executive Director, Earth Rhythms; Writer/Editor, Moonlady Media

We can only lead and inspire by example. As a Bible church reverend relative says, “The worst advertisement for Christianity is Christians.” As long as people promote values that they don’t live by, no amount of evangelism will help. And that applies to any faith.

But it is important to allow religion to be part of our conversations. Not in a proselytizing way, but to show how faith informs our lives. It is more important to bring people to an awareness that their lives matter, that there is a greater force of which we are a part. From there they will find their own faith path.

Utmost is to emphasize those ways that various religions converge in harmony. My pagan, Shinto and Taoist friends have just finished their spring equinox celebrations, my Jewish friends are embracing their Passover, and my Christian friends are immersed in their week of pre-Easter observances. All of us exalting the metaphors of renewal that this Earth, our humanity and our faiths provide.

However, I can afford to be sanguine about this. Those of unaffiliated faiths have no economic pie to protect, no property to pay for, or churches or salaries to maintain. But certainly the need to preserve investments is behind some of the need to evangelize

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Recently, we discussed comments that Jon Meacham made in an address to SMU’s Perkins School of Theology. Now, here’s something else from Meacham, the former Newsweek editor, that is worth discussing.

In a Time Magazine essay this week, Meacham raised the question of whether it’s time for Christian leaders to double-down on their faiths.  Meacham sees some more aggressively promoting the Gospel message instead of watering it down.

Time included his essay in its annual issue of 10 ideas that are changing how we live. And you can read his thoughts at this link:

10 Ideas That Make A Difference

Now, Meacham, an Episcopalian who helped start The Washington Post’s On Faith blog, is writing here largely about Christians, who are seeing a growing share of their market lose out to the religiously-unaffiliated. But his question can certainly be applied to other religions as well. And that is whether it’s best to “double-down” on evangelism.

What is your view of doubling-down on evangelism? If you agree that it’s time to do that, please explain why. If not, why not? Can your faith tradition really sit by idly and expect its followers to grow?