We were standing at the bus stop in the front of our neighborhood, trying to flag down a microbus heading to Jinotepe, when suddenly a city bus pulled up and stopped in front of us. A white man, presumably from the United States, holding a megaphone slid down his window and started to shout at us. Simultaneously his megaphone had a man screaming (a recording in Spanish) about the love of Jesus, that if those on the bus did not repent from their sin, they would go to hell. Nobody was paying attention.
He shouted at Kevin and I in English for half a minute about how bad and sinful we were, until I decided to respond to him. With respect, I said, "Sir, I don't think that this is the most effective way to share the love of Jesus." He quickly and angrily responded, "Yes it is! Read the Bible!" And then the bus drove away.
I have always sought to affirm that each person has the right to express and share their faith as they would like and that there are different ways for doing this. We have all been given different gifts and talents to use and in doing so share the love of God as we have come to understand it. But at the same time it is hard for me to see this as an effective way to share about the love of Jesus. It is confusing, it doesn't seem useful.
And this is our daily experience in Managua. Each day we are guaranteed to run into someone preaching on a bus, at the market or local comedor. Each night we can sit out on our patio and hear three preachers in three different churches, all on the same block straining to the be the loudest and fighting to have the strongest message. Everyone has heard the "good news," unfortunately it is rarely presented as "good."
People need someone to listen to them, to listen to their stories, to their dreams, hopes and fears. Yelling and shouting does not accomplish this. People need a glass of water, a meal, a place to sleep. Yelling and shouting does not accomplish this. People need friendships, someone to walk alongside them. Yelling and shouting does not accomplish this. People need jobs, they need new skills. Yelling and shouting does not accomplish this. People need the love of Jesus. Yelling and shouting does not accomplish this.
Friends, let's rethink the way that we share this great love.
On a related note, check out this video called Bullhorn by Rob Bell. It is very related: