Congratulations! You have completed the blog course, Four Metaphors for Evangelism. You have read every word, unpacked every parable and thought about every concept. Well done. There’s just one more thing to do. You need to take the final exam. Now, there is nothing I like more than giving an exam. Sue Barker said, “Everyone loves sport, and everyone loves a quiz.” Now, I don’t know Ms. Barker, but I know she is right. Even Jo, who at first was really anxious (and maybe even a bit miffed) about being quizzed by me about topics she knew nothing about and cared about even less, now has a totally different opinion. But why wait for her to tell you how she feels. Below are four answers. Which one best describes her response to being quizzed today? Is it . . .
- She is annoyed at constantly being exposed as ignorant about things she has never heard of, even if I find them fascinating.
- She is irritated because having to take my fun and enlightening quizzes treats her like a trained seal (but who doesn’t love a trained seal?).
- She is irked by constantly having to prove herself even though she can now match the correct jersey numbers with the proper 1970 Boston Bruins player (Bobby Orr was number 4).
- She is utterly exasperated that, even after 42+ years, she still gets quizzed even after telling me repeated she is done with the quizzing!
That’s right! The correct answer is 4 – She absolutely LOVES them and can’t wait for dinner tomorrow when I’ll test her again! [Editor’s comment: Really?] And so, here’s our final exam for our Four Metaphors for Evangelism course. Remember, as Marvin Phillips once said, “The difference between try and triumph is a little umph!”
In each question, I will present a scenario and then give five different possible responses. Choose the response that best pictures the particular metaphor the question is addressing.
- Which answer best pictures what a PHYSICIAN OF THE SOUL would say?
Kevin, a new friend of yours, is in university, but hates it. He is also the son of recent immigrants from China. He confides in you, saying:
“My parents are always telling me that I must work hard and get straight ‘A’s’ so that I can go to graduate school and become an engineer. But no matter how hard I work, they never seem to be happy with what I’ve done. They are always pushing me and reminding me that my sisters wanted to go to university, but they could not afford to send all of us; and so, they feel I owe it to my sisters to graduate at the top of my class. They tell me that since my sisters are suffering for me so that I could go to school, I also should suffer, meaning I should always be working and studying and reading. If it was up to them, I would never have any fun; and anytime I tell them that I did something I enjoyed, they get angry with me. I feel like I can’t win. If I am miserable, my parents are happy. But if I am happy, then my parents and my sisters are miserable; and I know they are right. I should work harder, but I don’t want to. No wonder my parents hate me.”
Option 1: Wow, you have sisters? I thought you were only allowed one kid in China.
Option 2: Wow! It stinks to be you, dude! You parents sound like jerks.
Option 3: What you need is Jesus. Jesus heals all our hurts. 2000 years ago, Jesus, the 2nd member of the Trinity, became incarnate and took on our human flesh to redeem those of us under the law; and he died for our sins so we could be made righteous before a holy God, a God who hates the sin, but loves the sinner, and holds all of us accountable to follow his law. And Jesus can heal all wounds. Once I was a little sad because it was raining, and I wanted to try out my new skateboard (it cost over $400). Anyway, it was raining, and I was so sad; so I prayed. And God made the sun come out, and it turned out to be a wonderful day after all. I got to go skateboarding. It was a miracle. Jesus can make the sun come out in your storm, too!
Option 4: Your parents don’t hate you! They love you! It’s just that they express it differently. Now cheer up and don’t be such a “droopy-drawers”! Let’s go have coffee and celebrate that your parents really do love you even if they don’t know how to say it!
Option 5: Wow, that sounds really hard. I don’t know a lot about Chinese culture, but I think talking about all the pressure you feel would be good; and I would be more than willing to sit and listen, and maybe together we can figure some things out. And I would also love to pray for you if that would be okay?
- Which answer best pictures what a SPIRITUAL MIDWIFE would say?
A new friend says to you:
“I’ve never met anyone who believes in God before. To me, religion is just a myth that helps you feel better, to feel some sort of comfort. Plus, science has proven there is no god. So, could you tell me why you believe in God?”
Option1: “Not only will I tell you why I believe in God, but I want to show you why you should believe in Jesus, too. And I can do it in three words: resurrection, Pentecost and the Eschaton – Jesus is coming again to judge the quick and the dead.”
Option 2: “Do you know that Jesus loves you and that he wants you to be reconciled to the Father and be filled with the Spirit? He died for you to forgive you all your sins and rose again for you and will come again for you. That’s love. And if you pray this prayer you can have eternal life.”
Option 3: “No. You’re not ready. You can’t handle the truth.”
Option 4: “You don’t believe in God? How do you think the earth came into existence? Do you think matter is eternal or that it was just luck that the earth was formed? Come on, think about it! It is obvious: if there is a creation, there has to be a creator! Listen. Whatever begins to exist has a cause. We all know that to be true. The universe began to exist. That’s pretty obvious, too. Therefore, the universe had a cause. That cause was the God of the Bible. It’s the logical, rational, obvious answer; and I don’t see how anyone can call themselves an intellectual and deny there is a God.”
Option 5: “I know a lot of people who believe just like you. The whole idea of God often just doesn’t seem to make sense. But for me, it is just the opposite. Believing in God is what makes the most sense out of life. It gives life meaning and purpose. It explains why we believe that death can’t be the final answer and why we believe in things like love and justice and beauty and sacrifice. But those are all answers for the head, not the heart. Tell you what. Not that I am an expert or a perfect example, but I hope the way I live my life shows that believing in God gives me a greater sense of peace and happiness and purpose than people who don’t believe in God. But right now, let’s go grab some coffee and find some peace and purpose in a good cup of freshly roasted Costa Rican Tarrazu.”
- Which answer best pictures what a DISRUPTER might say?
“I don’t believe in anything. I just want to be happy every day. That is my philosophy of life: just be happy.”
Option 1: I wish you could be happy, I really do; but if you don’t believe in Jesus, you will go to hell. And having hell as your eternal future should, and will, make you really miserable today.
Option 2: Happy? In this world? Don’t you know about Covid? Don’t you know about suffering and systemic injustice? Don’t you know about the jobless crisis? Don’t you know that the odds are great that you will either lose everything in a hurricane, an out-of-control forest fire, a mudslide or the coming worldwide economic depression? Don’t you watch the news? You want to be happy? Well, good luck with that!
Option 3: Don’t you know that happiness is based on circumstances. You don’t want happiness, because there will be days when your circumstances will be awful. What you should want is joy, and joy only comes from knowing God.
Option 4: You are so self-centered. All you want is what makes you happy.
Option 5: That makes sense. I think a lot of people want to be happy. But here’s something I want you to think about. What happens to you if one day you wake up and you’re not happy and haven’t been for months? What do you do then?
- Which is the MAGNET?
You volunteer to teach English to international students; and one day, a very shy Asian woman comes up to you and says,
“Can you help me? I am too shy to speak in class.”
You already knew that because you dropped in on her small group, and the only thing you could get out of her was that she liked to play the violin. You say . . .
Option 1: “Help you? Someone needs to help me. I’ve got students in this class who have no idea what a noun is! I’ve got students who speak so little English that I can’t understand a thing they say! I’ve got students from places I’ve never heard of before! No one ever told me that teaching English involved so many foreigners! Plus, I think I hate teaching.”
Option 2: “You’re probably too shy because you know that the first thing you are going to have to share with a stranger is your name; and to westerners, your name, like all the names from people in your country, is impossible to pronounce.”
Option 3: “Yeah, normally I would love to stay and help you, but I have this terrible hangover. See, last night I partied way too hard; and tonight, I am suffering. I wish I could help you, but I can barely see straight.”
Option 4: “Why are all Asian woman so short? I just don’t get it. I don’t see how you can see the board when I write anything on it!”
Option 5: Yes, I was in your group tonight. You play the violin. I love music. Someday, I would love to hear you play. Maybe one night we could have a music night where you and other musicians in our class could play and then we could talk some and get to know each other better. I would love to hear more of your stories of how you came to Baltimore.
Match the metaphor with the correct action point for a person who is a “Minus 1” on our scale.