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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 36: Purpose 5 of 5 - On a Mission

The Day 36 chapter of The Purpose Driven Life introduces the final purpose - to convert non-believers and save them from eternal damnation.

I have issues with this because it immediately reminds me of annoying encounters with people from the Church of Christ when I was at university.  You would be going about your day and out of the blue be approached by some over zealous person with no respect for your privacy.  I'm sure they considered my salvation more important than anything else I had to do that day, but I don't know of anyone who started attending church because of them.  I do know at lot of people who were very pissed off with them, and their approach no doubt created a number of firm atheists.

Rick Warren writes "You are the only Christian some people will ever know, and your mission is to share Jesus with them." Given that I live in a country that grants public holidays for Christmas and Easter, and while there are other public holidays, it is only the Christmas and Easter public holidays that are fully observed - that is, the shops are open on the other public holidays but not Christmas and Easter - given this, I find it hard to believe that I am the only Christian some people will ever know.

Having said all that, I note that Rick Warren also warns against being distracted by Satan and I wonder whether I have been distracted by Satan (for anyone paying attention, you will note that this 40 day exercise has already taken more than 40 days) or just overwhelmed.

I was listening to a report on an atheist conference recently and one of the speakers made the point that in every other field of study other than theology, things can be learnt from emperical observations. That is, you can't perform an experiment and witness the results first hand in theology, it is just reading things written by other theologists.  This concept did distract me for a while but eventually I realised that there is a way to perform emperical tests - by keeping a prayer log.  This is just a list of the things you have asked God for, the date you made the request and the date it was answered.  It might not be as scientific as, say, dropping two objects of different weights and seeing them fall to the ground at the same time, but it is a start.  This thought came to me after I took a recommendation from an earlier chapter of The Purpose Driven Life, which is to pray for protection from Satan.

I will not be stopping people on the street to tell them about Jesus, or inviting non-believers to come to church with me (particularly as I haven't actually started back at church yet), but I am happy to write this blog because people can choose not to read it if they don't want to.  Alternatively, if someone does read this blog and decides to convert to Christianity - all the better.

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