Street evangelism is not a new occurrence on IU’s campus, but the Kentucky preachers who used Bloomington as a pit stop on their way to preach at the Super Bowl Village were not your average Brother Jedd.
Hell, the preachers from PinPoint Evangelism made Brother Jedd look like the cool evangelist.
The question is, do these scare tactics work not only with Christians’ attempts to make converts, but for anyone walking by?
We’re not by any means trying to say that groups and individuals shouldn’t be allowed to share their beliefs in public forums.
Otherwise, what would we do with our columns every day?
It seems, however, as if nothing is actually gained from standing on the proverbial soapbox and screaming at people, “You’re going to go to the fire forever,” which is exactly what John McGlowne, one of the preachers, did.
Sure, a few people may be moved by this message, but what about all of the people that you anger in the process?
One student was moved to tears, but not the one you might expect.
The IDS reported that Campus Crusade for Christ member Karen Groth cried when McGlowne verbally bashed her ideas of acceptance and “argued against her evidence,” which she pulled straight from the Bible.
If this is how a fellow devout Christian is reacting to street evangelism, how would others from IU’s diverse, non-Christian population?
A group surrounded the preachers, much like when Brother Jedd comes out with his family in the warmer months, and began voicing their own rebuttals to McGlowne’s accusations.
Another pair of students made a “Free Hugs” sign and started a counter-evangelism of sorts: one that offered acceptance and, as advertised, free hugs for those who wanted one.
Not all of the counter-speakers were quite as docile. We saw many students in shouting matches with the preachers, their strong but opposing beliefs causing them to attempt to drown the other out.
It’s hard enough to understand someone when more than one person is talking, but it’s nearly impossible when two or three or more are screaming at each other.
Watching something such as this seemed about as important and productive as watching a group of middle-school students get into a brawl at recess.
At a certain point, our need to retaliate is about as self-indulgent as a preachers’ need to yell at us.
If they’re looking to get noticed, grab our attention and rile us up, then we’re giving them exactly what they want.
Meeting them at their own level and shouting right back should send us back to the drawing board.
We can all agree that there are better ways to get your words to stick than to stand on a soapbox shouting at the masses.