Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Right Message the Wrong Way

Yesterday I took part in the Memory Walk in Milwaukee. My place of work organized a team because we receive a lot of funding from the Alzheimer's Association for our geriatric center. The program coordinator asked people to donate money and/or time to give back, which sounds a bit backward (we donate money to an association that gives money to us), but we do this with a lot of foundations and non-profits that give us money, so what can I say?

Interruption from Annoyed Mandi: a new family moved in upstairs and they have a toddler. This annoys me because a) small children make a lot of unnecessary noise, while b) other tenants are trying to sleep, concentrate, and/or live in peace. There's a reason why I have no children as of yet. Where was I?

So a friend and I are taking part in the walk. After much confusion at registration, we get our complimentary t-shirts and head off through the gauntlet of carnival clowns and various mascots in giant foam suits (think Brewer's sausages and Piggly Wiggly), as we try to find my teammates. Shaken, but not to be deterred, we finally make contact a few minutes before starting time. Mere minutes later Miss West Allis, complete with far too much makeup and a bad dye job, announces the start, and we're off.

Not 1/2 mile into the 3-mile walk, as my friend and I are discussing just how much the purse dog that the women ahead of us is carrying looks like a gremlin, we hear a plethora of shouting. Yes, I just said plethora. I'm studying to take the GRE and am trying to improve my verbal score.

The shouting turns out to be an "evangelist" preaching the saving grace of Jesus Christ. This is disturbing on many levels, the least of all being that this man knows nothing about the hundreds walkers and is, therefore, unable to make a connection meaningful enough to warrant a change in any of our religious beliefs. There are many, more disturbing, issues about the "shouting witness" practice of evangelism, but there's another website that explains it much better. Click here to read it. The author is a bit snide in his criticisms, but he does bring up some thought-provoking topics.

It's a very interesting post, especially in light of all the churches seeking to be more "relevant" yet falling short by giving visitors a great show, but little gospel. More on that in another post when I discuss my church-shopping expeditions in Milwaukee.

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