Monday, February 17, 2014

Review of "Death at the Movies" by Lyn and Tom Davis Genelli

"I should point out that with certain rare exceptions, Christians have generally done a poor job witnessing to those coming from Eastern perspectives. We make two mistakes: First, as a preface to evangelism we all too often we hold out the promise of progress, science, material prosperity, and the affluent lifestyle of the average middle class American. We become evangelists first for the American dream, rather than offering a bloody and broken Savior on a cross reconciling a just God and a sinful people. And when we make this mistake, we not only fail to serve our God well; we radically misunderstand those we are talking to. (To be sure, the former is the far greater sin, but the latter needs attention as well.) More on this in a second.
Second, when we do manage to set aside the superficiality of technological and material prosperity, we have a tendency to offer a watered down version of the Gospel. A sort-of “God’s awesome/you’re awesome/God loves you/shouldn’t you love God back?” Because we’ve discussed the shallowness of American Christianity on this blog before I don’t think I need to go into detail, I just want to be sure to point out that such an empty faith falls flat when faced with Eastern thought.
With that said, Death at the Movies is a great place to begin for those interested in communicating well with Buddhists. It provides a taste of the sorts of things that Buddhists think about and will help us engage in conversation from the perspective of what they are interested in, rather than beginning from our own cultural biases. (Of course, we do not stop at such a beginning point—we obviously need to end any such discussion with an explanation of how Christianity alone can satisfy.)"

Read the rest here:

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