Should Episcopalians Convert Non-Believers?

From the London Times: The move was proposed by Paul Eddy, a lay member from the Winchester diocese, who said that he was aware of the religious and cultural tensions in many parishes in England. He also understood “the distress that talk of the historic Crusades can evoke” and that, to some, sharing the Christian gospel equates to sharing the “values of the West”.

He quoted Mahatma Gandhi’s advice to British missionaries to India: “I would suggest first of all that all of you Christians, missionaries and all, begin to live more like Jesus Christ. Second, practise your religion without adulterating or toning it down.”

He said that the uniqueness of Christ must not be compromised by Anglicans. “It does no harm for the Church to re-state it’s beliefs time and time again and then to go further — in this case commending good practice in making that belief known.”

I’m not sure exactly what “conversion” is. Personally, I think Christians should be converted first. Perhaps toward forgiveness and irony. And then we might want to ask if we are merely inviting people into our cult?

A better view of conversion, perhaps, is to offer a new lens by which people can see their lives. It is less indoctrination than an invitation to a shared experience of the transcendent. When we talk about “metanoia,” the changing of one’s mind, it is always toward truth. And the minimalist truth is that love is what creates meaning, and that this is a creative act, and in these acts, we give life and witness to God’s own power.

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