Evangelical or Just Really Enthusiastic?

At what point does being enthusiastic about something cross the line into evangelism?

Is it obvious which is which?

And, if someone is evangelizing a social construct that is considered “normal”, is that any different than selling people an idea that is not popular?

In other words, is trying to bring people into the public school network any different than trying to draw people out?

Is being enthusiastic about life in public school any different than being enthusiastic about a homeschooling life?

I’ve been thinking about these questions, and I haven’t got a clear answer in my head yet. But I have been thinking about them.

One thing is clear to me, however, is the universal truth that new or unpopular practices and topics receive different treatment and allowances than publicly acceptable ones. It’s always been that way, and it always will.

But is that a bad thing? Or just something that needs to be understood?

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3 Responses to “Evangelical or Just Really Enthusiastic?”

  1. Laura in CA :) Says:

    That is an interesting thing to think about. I tend to be very enthusiastic about things I like, but never thought it would come off to someone else as evangelical….hmmmm…..

    To me enthusiasm isn’t trying to draw another into something, it is just excitement about ones own thing, situation, whatever.

    To be evangilical would then be trying to win someone else to your way of thinking or doing something.

    To your questions…People should understand that new and different ideas will sometimes be met with opposition. Not that that fact should squelch anyone, to the contrary it is good to know so that one isn’t discouraged!

  2. Robin Says:

    I’m thinking it depends on attachment to outcome. If I am trying to sway you to come over to my side, then that’s evangelical-ish. If I am trying to sway you to understand me or accept me, that can be borderline depending on attachment to outcome. If I am just excited and sharing, then that’s just enthusiastic.

  3. Mark Weiss Says:

    Tammy,

    It is a strange thing in the world, this idea of evangelism. If I find something that brings me great joy, fitting into my life in a way that answers questions, brings fulfillment, opens new doors or opportunities and I share that enthusiasm with you at a time, when it resonates and brings you joy, happiness and peace, then generally that “sharing” isn’t named “evangelism” so much. Person two is thankful that someone risked because it made a positive difference in their lives. A friendship can become deepened.

    On the other hand, the same sharing with someone whose life isn’t ready to receive or who just isn’t open to the idea, no matter what, can often be now called “evangelism” in the negative sense of the word and be described as in intrusion, an awkward uncomfortable intrusion. Friendship can become strained instead of more significantly deepened.

    There is some kind of interdependency here. Timing seems to be part of it. I am thankful for parents who from time to time, intruded and even evangelized their feelings and ideas in our home. Most have led to lasting positive outcomes.

    I often have wondered why some get so worked up about the “intrusion” of an emotion-ldea into their lives. I mean in the end, no matter the energy or lack of it that accompanies the message, after all it is just an idea that has been clothed in words and sits there now on the table.

    Personally, those offended are often devoid of a frame of reference that allows them to deal with the idea comfortably. So it isn’t the idea at all some times but the fact that the receiver has no way of dealing with it except to get upset.

    I think I can safely say for me that the deeper the level of trust between two people, more pronounced the absence of potential for offense. Again, that means that idea being evangelized isn’t so much the issue as it is the relationship or lack of it.

    What do you think?

    Mark
    http://trustthechildren.blogspot.com


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