I was asked by an Evangelical on the street if I went to church. Typically, I quickly shoot down these interruptions but I decided to entertain it for a minute. After responding with yes, he asked where I went and I said St. Luke’s Episcopal.
At this point he should have changed his strategy but I guess saying that I’m part of the Episcopal community wasn’t enough so he asked if I knew how to get to heaven. You have to understand I have my family with me and although I would have loved to correct this part (and several others) of his theology, I didn’t have a lot of time so I answered with a simple, “yes.”
Of course, I should have known better than to expect this eager Evangelical to stop there. He then asked how I knew I was going to heaven. I decided it was more important to continue my walk to get ice cream with the family so I finally said this is not a discussion we have time for. He kept pushing so I threw a couple of quick evangelical phrases to reassure him I was not going to burn in a hell that neither Jesus nor I believe in.
What annoyed me the most about this interaction were the assumptions made about me and my family. My answers were never satisfactory. This wasn’t the first time I’ve experienced this — I live in the city and we have many groups of people who evangelize on our streets.
So I have an idea I’m seriously considering doing in the future: Before they hand me a how-to-go-to-heaven card, I’ll hand them a how-not-to-evangelize pamphlet with a how-to-read-the-social-cues-of-people-who-aren’t-interested-in-what-you’re-saying cheat sheet.