May 30, 2018 | Tim
They’re staring at me blankly, clearly not taking in any of the information I’m attempting to convey. I go on, though, adamant to get my message across. Already having started my well rehearsed plug, I just keep talking. I forget how long I’ve been standing here, trying to get my point across. Trying to get them to see things how I see them. Trying to get them to take a chance on the thing I love the most in the world. They’re looking around now, hoping for someone to rescue them from this awkward conversation. Finally, I wrap it up and they still don’t seem interested. I leave the conversation feeling awkward, but I know there will be other chances in the future.
We evangelize what we love
That’s an example of how I used to talk about my favourite band, Hey Rosetta! (yes, the exclamation mark is part of their name). They were basically all I talked about for three years. Any chance I had I would pounce on it. My favourite question was, “what kind of music do you listen to?” I would begin by describing Hey Rosetta! as your typical indie rock band, but the twist was that they had a cellist and violinist so all of their songs were filled with epic strings. Then I would talk about the lyrical genius of Tim Baker, who somehow seems to have a direct line into my heart. His words and music make me feel whatever he wants. If he’s angry then I’m angry. If he’s happy, I’m overjoyed.
At this point, the person I was talking to would either seem intrigued or get extremely silent, but I didn’t really care. I could just keep talking about Hey Rosetta! for hours and I usually did. I would even have an extra copy of their album “Into Your Lungs” in case I met someone I could give it to. In the truest sense of the word, I was an evangelist for this band.
When you hear the word evangelism, what normally comes to mind? Probably not a music superfan. Maybe it’s televangelists or Billy Graham’s crusades? Or maybe a street preacher on a busy corner? Maybe you’ve had an awkward conversation that was about Jesus instead of Hey Rosetta!. These may all be forms of evangelism, but at its core, evangelism is simply talking about what you love most. For a Christian that might be Jesus, but as was the case for me, it could be anything.
Evangelism is a natural human instinct
We all have things in our lives that we freely promote. There’s always that something we talk about so often that our friends rightly ask if we’re getting paid to sell it. It could be shoes, cars, tv shows (like Community #sixseasonsandamovie) or anything else we love. We’ve all had awkward conversations where someone doesn’t really get what we’re talking about. We’ve probably also had instances where talking about how much you love something helps you bond with someone who loves it as much as you do.
Everyone evangelizes because everyone praises the things they love. That’s just what we do as humans and it’s not a bad thing. CS Lewis says, “that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise unless . . . shyness or the fear of boring others is deliberately brought in to check it.” If we enjoy something or someone, we will naturally praise them. We’ll talk about how wonderful it is or how amazing they are. We praise celebrities and sports team, music and movies, food and fashion.
Take time to listen
For example, my family watches tennis. When a major is on the TV is on for at least eight hours a day. We come and go through our day, but we can always return to Federer or Nadal toying with their competition. My wife and I don’t own a TV so when we visit my parents during a major I tend to overdo it, sitting down and watching match after match. Not a fan of tennis, my wife once decided she would find out why I Iiked it so much. She sat down and asked question after question about the game. By the end of the week, she loved tennis and even got us tickets to the Rogers Cup for our anniversary. Simply by taking the effort to discover what drew me to tennis communicated her love for me and, in the end, we found something new to enjoy together.
If we don’t take the time to listen, we prevent the people we know from joyfully sharing about the things they love. Additionally, we could be missing out on something awesome ourselves! The next time someone is talking your ear off about a band they love or a show they watch or anything they seem to enjoy, take a chance and ask why they love it so much. Ask questions and find out more about each other. You might find out that something you thought was boring is actually engaging. And who knows? Soon you might be listening to Hey Rosetta! along with me.