by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 2/12/15

It was Saturday morning and the doorbell rang. Chatty Cheryl from next door was the only person I knew who would ring our doorbell that early on the weekend, that is the only person except…that’s right, except street evangelists. Sometimes they were Mormon, sometimes they were Baptist. Each time I had a well-developed line that I delivered as they were launching into their Saturday morning pitch for Jesus. Interrupting them, I would proffer, “Thank you for coming out this morning.” (I wasn’t thankful.) “But, I am a minister from another Christian tradition.” (Yes, this is true, but hard to tell by the old Duke Alumni sweatshirt I am wearing.) “I wish you well today.” (No. I wish you would leave me alone and move quickly off my porch, so that I may resume my Netflix marathon.) Most Saturdays this tried and true script worked. I would say the line and my well-intentioned trespassers would walk off to interrupt the next unsuspecting family eating their brunch across the street.
Today was different. The man said softly, “If you are a Christian minister, then shouldn't you want to speak to us about Jesus? Don't you want to talk about Jesus?” I will admit it, I felt insulted at first, and I told them to get off my porch. Somewhere in the silence that followed my slam of the door, beneath my irritation, there was also envy.
I wasn’t envious of their program of peddling the faith. I felt envy for their bearing the kind of boldness that risks rejection. We are called to a public faith and not just privately held beliefs. Early apostles aren’t the only ones sent out into the world to share the nature of a new life in Christ. Possessing a public faith, and not a pestering presence, invites connection without conflict. We, too, are called to live a public faith that bears boldness without being brash.  What are you willing to risk to invite others into your faith community? Isn't this a gift too good to keep a secret? Don't you think we should invite others into community with us here at Highland Hills?