Still a Missionary?

Isaiah 55:10-11 states (in the King James Version): “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:  So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] whereto I sent it.”

I was thinking about this passage recently, and the reason that this was noteworthy to me was that I realized that I hadn’t thought about it in a long time.  I used to think about it within the context of evangelism.  Back when I was a conservative Christian, I believed that I was supposed to go out into the world and make disciples, al la Matthew 28:18-20.  But I was shy, and so I was not good at recruiting converts to evangelical Christianity.  Yet, I was encouraged to keep on planting seeds, telling people about my Christian faith, for God had promised that his word would not return empty.  Even if a person rejected what I had to say, I was told, God years later could bring to his or her remembrance what I had said, and God could use that to bring that person closer to Him.  While we were encouraged to be tactful and winsome in our evangelism, since a significant part of our mission was to share God’s love with others, I was told that God could even use a dogmatic statement that I made to bring someone closer to Him.  God could even cause the person who listened to me to focus on what was important in my words, while disregarding things that I said out of pride!

That’s how I saw things then.  Nowadays, however, I’m not much of a missionary—-and I mean for anything, including liberalism, opposition to organized religion, etc.  I’m not crusading to encourage people to believe the exact same way that I do.  One reason is that, on a number of issues, I do not know what to believe, for I can see positives and negatives in all sorts of perspectives.  Another reason is that I’m hesitant to say that I want for people to be exactly where I am, for there are areas in which where I am is lacking.  I don’t use this blog to make converts (as much as I would love for people to read me and think that I’m a profound thinker); rather, I’m blogging to work through issues, and it’s often the case that I’m not satisfied where I end up by the end of my blog post.

So is there anything that I’d like for others to believe or to do?  Well, probably so.  I’d like for evangelical Christianity to be more sensitive to the plight of introverts and socially-challenged people rather than pressuring them to fit into a happy-happy social mold.  I’d like for the U.S. to have national health insurance.  Should I be trying to craft my blog such that I plant seeds more effectively.  Perhaps.  But right now I’m comfortable with doing my blog as I do it.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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