The old joke runs like this…”I have friend who used to be a Southern Baptist, but he converted to Unitarianism. So now he has his doubts…but he’s very insistent about them.”
My wife has stopped trying to change me. She knows that deep in my bones I’m not only an Evangelical of the Liberal sort, but I’m also an incurable evangelist. If I like something—the Red Sox and Patriots, the Adirondack Mountains, CAO Brazilia cigars, homebrewing, Vermont microbrews, Willie Nelson, Bill Monroe, sardines, Isaac Asimov novels, and Ale-8 ginger ale—I can’t help but try to convince everyone else to like it as well. She calls it being bossy, but I like to think of myself as a sharer; one who finds something that works and makes me happy and wants others to have a part in that same joy.
Historically, Evangelicals have wrestled with a similar dynamic. To outsiders we may come across as pushy know-it-alls, but confront most Evangelicals about their proselytizing efforts and you usually get one of two answers. True, many think of themselves as working to keep souls out of hell. But many others conceive of day to day evangelism as the simple effort to share their joy with others. The last thing I would ever want is to strip Evangelicals of this joy in sharing.
But should everything be shared?
I have my doubts, but I’ll keep them largely to myself