dmin: the postscript
[This is the final page of my thesis, The Role of Intrigue in the Communication with Sceptics - a postscript where I try to wrap it all up with a little bow...]
"Cicero considered that intriguing oratory could be the means by which the barbarian was transformed. The claims of this thesis are not as bold, and yet they are significant. The nudge of a sceptic towards the way of Jesus, rather than a transformation of the barbarian, has been the focus. It has been established that there is a role for intrigue in the communication with sceptics.
However to be effective this intrigue will need to focus on more than mere words and images. The intriguing communication must flow from intriguing communities, living distinctive lives with distinction. Good words operate best when they are in unison with good works. A pluralist society offers the opportunity to step forward, rather than to step back, to be more outgoing, not less. To initiate a community-wide conversation through billboards which intrigue is one such way to step forward.
To be effective this communication will need to depend on more than mere human skills. It will require a sustained, prayerful dependence upon God, the one who opens eyes and softens hearts. The blindness and the hardness in the sceptic are real but this can change under the influence of the Spirit of God. To design a series of billboards which intrigue is to supply the Spirit with some tools with which he may choose to go to work.
To be effective this sceptic will need to be seen as someone who is more than a mere project. The sceptic is to be respected, to be understood and loved. Disputes can be delayed, preferring to loiter to intrigue, rather than rushing to persuade. Of Timothy Keller it is observed that he offers the sceptic the same respect he offers to a member of his church [see here]. Kinnaman and Lyons conclude that followers of Jesus must respond to people the way he did [see UnChristian, 213, 217]. These are the examples to follow.
The pulse which courses through this thesis is a mission one. There are large numbers of ‘skeptics, critics, and cynics’ and hostile UnChristians who resist what the Christian community represents. Are they to be left alone, just ignored? No. The small nudge of intrigue may lead to the big change of entanglement in the way of Jesus."