Tom and I are back from our trip to Minneapolis and Pittsburgh, two very different conferences but both of them full of young people passionately wanting to follow Christ.
On my way home I read a fasinating book called The Mystic Way of Evangelism, by Elaine Heath. I would highly recommned this book to anyone interested in a deeper understanding of evangelism and what it means to follow Christ in every aspect of our lives.
The author gives fresh insights into the idea of evangelism which I found extremely challenging. She uses her study of the mystics like John of the Cross, Phoebe Palmer and Henri Nouwen to challenge our current understanding of evangelism and our desire to “save souls” and proclaims instead that basically evangelism is living out the love of God in every aspect of our lives.
Love is God’s meaning, so that every attribute of God must be understood in terms of kenosis – the divine, self-giving love of Father , Son and Holy Spirit . Humans can be whole and fully alove only as we join in with the triune God’s kenotic, salvic mission in this world.” p48
Becoming an evangelist therefore is the destiny of every follower of Christ. But this is not only a much deeper understanding of evangelism it also demands a much deeper commitment to the ways of God for those who follow Christ.
To be people whose meaning is love is to become broken bread and poured out wine.” p59
I found this book to be both inspiring and hope giving for our current situation as Heath discusses in this context what is wrong with the church and what we need to do to really become God’s people of love.
What we really need today are new tongues of fire, a new Pentecost in America. This alone will open us to the divine hospitality that is so radical that the walls of gender, race and class dissolve in its healing reach. We need a Pentecostal outpouring that is about the love of God, a mighty wind that sweeps away the sinful caste systems that have deformed the American church. We need a baptism of cleansing fire that will heal the wounds of domestic violence and sexual abuse, that will liberate both the oppressed and teh oppressor, that will send God’s people out of the church into their neighbourhoods with God’s redeeming and reconciling love. ‘ p159