Well it’s about time to visit my favorite movie again. It’s a movie that captures the evangelical background I grew up in so well that I cringe to watch it. I always feel like someone’s been going through my underwear drawer when I do. I know I’ve visited it a number of times in the Catch but I honestly feel every Christian in American should see this movie at least once every two years. If not only to learn to laugh at yourself, but to also get in the habit of seeing faith and Christianity from an outsider’s point of view.
In The Big Kahuna starring Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito, Peter Facinelli plays a young Christian fresh out of Christian college on his first business trip where the three of them are trying to land the “Big Kahuna” — the CEO representing a very large account for their company. Turns out the young Christian is the only one of the three who actually gets a hearing with the man, and he spends the whole time talking to him about Jesus. An argument ensues about when it’s appropriate to talk about your faith and when it’s not. It’s a movie with a long list of favorite lines, but one of them is when Danny DeVito counsels the young Christian about his aggressive approach to witnessing:
“The minute you lay hold of a conversation in order to steer it in a certain direction, it ceases to be a conversation,” DeVito says, “it’s a sales pitch; and you aren’t a human being anymore, you’re a marketing rep. If you really care about the man, ask him about his kids … his wife … his dreams…”
That’s worth putting on your mirror, or your wall, or wherever it is that you remind yourself of what’s important. “If you really care about the man, ask him about his kids… his wife… his dreams….”
Carrying on a human conversation takes a certain amount of skill few of us have been trained for. We are just feeling our way along. Asking the person to talk to you about things they love to talk about seems like a no-brainer, but it’s not, especially when we are so selfishly waiting for someone to listen to what we want to talk about. And if you don’t know what their interests are, ask them questions until you find out. Don’t wait to talk, wait to listen.
Witnessing prep for many of us should contain some basic training for life skills. Most of us could learn more of what we need for making relationships from How to Win Friends and Influence People, than from another Bible Study.
“If you really care about the man, ask him about his kids… his wife… his dreams….”