The Pilgrim’s Progress Section ll

We last left Graceless drowning in his misery.  His family insists he go to bed, but when he wakes up, he informs us that he is “worse and worse.” He spends his days in misery, crying, depressed. He often takes his bible out to the field to read and cry. Which, you’d think that if it was a real bible he’d stop crying already and read John 3:16, Hosea 14:4, and John 8:36. But, as this is an allegory, we’re apparently pretending that Graceless only has certain access to the bible at certain points of his life. At least, that’s what I’m choosing to believe because that is the only way this part of the story makes any sense.

One day, as Graceless is alone in the fields crying and reading his bible (I wonder which part he’s reading? The part in Revelation that talks about the destruction of the wicked?) Along comes Evangelist.

I don’t like Evangelist. Let’s see if you can all guess why:

{12} Now, I saw, upon a time, when he was walking in the fields, that he was, as he was wont, reading in his book, and greatly distressed in his mind; and, as he read, he burst out, as he had done before, crying, “What shall I do to be saved?”

{13} I saw also that he looked this way and that way, as if he would run; yet he stood still, because, as I perceived, he could not tell which way to go. I looked then, and saw a man named Evangelist coming to him and asked, Wherefore dost thou cry? [Job 33:23]

{14} He answered, Sir, I perceive by the book in my hand, that I am condemned to die, and after that to come to judgement [Heb. 9:27]; and I find that I am not willing to do the first [Job 16:21], nor able to do the second. [Ezek. 22:14]

{15} Then said Evangelist, Why not willing to die, since this life is attended with so many evils? The man answered, Because I fear that this burden is upon my back will sink me lower than the grave, and I shall fall into Tophet. [Isa. 30:33] And, Sir, if I be not fit to go to prison, I am not fit, I am sure, to go to judgement, and from thence to execution; and the thoughts of these things make me cry.

{16} Then said Evangelist, If this be thy condition, why standest thou still? He answered, Because I know not whither to go. Then he gave him a parchment roll, and there was written within, Flee from the wrath to come. [Matt. 3.7]

For those of you who don’t speak King Jamesian, let me interpret that for you:

Graceless: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

Evangelist: *strolls up* Why are you crying?

Graceless: This book tells me that I’m gonna die! And then God will judge me! I don’t want to die, and I can’t stand up to God’s judgement!

Evangelist: Well, if your life is so bad, why don’t you want to die?

Graceless: Because this burden on my back weighs me down, and I’ll go to hell! The very thoughts of these things make me cry! *bursts into tears*

Evangelist: Well then, why don’t you do something about it?

My biggest beef with this section is this: Evangelist knows, from the first explanation Graceless gives, that he is seeking Christ. And yet he continues to ask stupid questions rather than say something like, “Oh! I used to feel like that too! But all is not hopeless! Do you see Yonder Wicket Gate?” We seriously could’ve skipped 3 of those paragraphs, and Evangelist would’ve been a lot more sympathetic a character.

Evangelist reminds me of those annoying Christians who, whether or not they are trying, are really really insensitive.

He basically comes up and asks, “why are you crying?” Which I guess could be said in a different tone of voice than I’m thinking of. Maybe at this point I should interpret this as a gentle “why are you crying?”

Ok, fine.

Then Graceless tells Evangelist he has A Real Problem. And Evangelist… says just the most stupid thing ever: life’s so evil, why don’t you just die? Ok, fine. Maybe he didn’t say that. Maybe I should interpret this as a gentle “well why don’t you want to die?”

Which, by the way,  it has been long established that that is something you should not say. If someone is telling you how bad their life is and that they don’t want to die, that they don’t want to die is a good thing. Asking them why they don’t want to die… just doesn’t make sense. It comes across as insensitive (because it is insensitive: “well, if you’re life’s so bad, why don’t you just want to die?” it’s like, because I’m human derkwad, and I have survival mechanisms built into me that cause me to attempt self preservation whenever humanly possible. Duh.)

Basically, it is a given that most people don’t want to die. So when a person doesn’t want to die, you should not ask them why. It almost sounds like the person asking the question is implying that Graceless should want to die. And that’s…. lame.

Moving on.

Graceless, again, in response to this dumbest question ever, repeats that He Has A Real Problem.

Evangelist then replies with…. the next stupidest answer I’ve seen ever: Why don’t you do something about it?

Well, duh you doe doe brain, if I knew what to do about it, WHY WOULD I BE STANDING HERE CRYING?! Like, HELLO!

Since this last question is insensitive, I don’t think it’s too far out there that his first two questions were said in an insensitive tone of voice as well.

Evangelist, in the 2 encounters I’ve seen with him so far (yes I read ahead, so sue me) is nothing but a great big jerk.

And herein lies the real tie in to reality: sometimes evangelists are just jerks. Some may mean well, in fact, most probably do. But they have either not been trained well, or their main purpose in life is to go around thinking, “na na, you’re saved, and I’m not, na na.”

Now, disclaimer: most people I know who evangelize are not like this. Most people I know who evangelize are sincere, tactful, and genuinely care.

That said, I have also met a lot of people trying to evangelize who were the exact opposite of the above characteristics. These people rarely help anybody.

Evangelist knows what to do about Graceless’s problem, but he doesn’t offer help until after he’s made Graceless feel worse. Some people are just like this. My appeal to those who read this, then, is: when you evangelize, don’t be a jerk, mmkay?

Evangelist is a jerk, but, I guess sometimes jerks are helpful, if one is truly desperate enough, and not the sort of person who would be turned off to Christianity by the evangelist’s jerkiness. And this jerk does point Graceless (who then becomes Christian) in the right direction, so, he’s a jerk, but he’s a semi helpful jerk.

On a lighter note, “Yonder Wicket Gate” is now my new favorite phrase ever. I don’t know why, it just…sounds so… tight? “Do you see Yonder Wicket Gate?” Yonder Wicket Gate. Yonder Wicket Gate. Yonder Wicket Gate. Snicker Snicker.

My goal for the day is to incorporate that into a conversation. Wish me luck.

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