Saturday 24 November 2007

Walloon Evangelism Process Failure

Last Saturday, Evangelism. This Saturday, thanks to Dave Walker’s wonderful Cartoon Blog (complete with excellent cartoon) How Not to Do It.

This is the story of a Norfolk pastor called Leslie Potter, who has been evangelising by sticking his sermons in old plastic bottles and chucking them into the North Sea hoping they will land in Germany or France, people will get them out and read them, and so be evangelised. In fact the wind did blow, and the Billows did rise (like they do), and the Word of Life was soon back on the beach, annoying the dogwalkers. Said DW’s got the sermons out instead of the Germans, and told the council, who have now done poor ol’ Pastor Leslie for littering. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

There are various messages in these particular bottles:
  1. Jesus was right (Luke 5:38) — new wine really does need new containers.
  2. (Dave’s questions) What language did he do it in? and (supplementary, but Poirot fans want to know) what’s wrong with the Belgians?
  3. This story contains all the elements that make UK Retro enamel badge Evangelicalism so appealing — faith collapsed into hopeless optimism, sociopathic well-meaningness, Holy disregard of collateral reality, high minded determintion to persist and be right. On the Western Front this guy (if only he survived ten minutes) would have got promotion.
  4. The best bit is, who knows, maybe someone was even more blessed than the dogwalkers were annoyed, perhaps by the sheer loonery of it! Only time will tell.
  5. Even for those old enough to remember that 60’s classic The Gospel Blimp, This has to be, surely, the most dumb*ss tactic ever to Propogate the Gospel in Foreign Parts. Unless, that is, you know otherwise...


Sarah Brush said...

As someone who for some reason was born in geographical Belgium (though techincally international territory apparently!) I have always been rather defensive at times of Belgian bashing! Perhaps this explains my own fondness for Hercule Poirot.How can anyone not love a country that gives us chocolate and Boursin?

Anyway.. Belgianite feelings aside (especially as you weren't beashing them anyway just talking about it!)... to the main point.

When at the Youthwork conference last weekend we were sent out on to the beach for some reflection and one girl found a pebble with a Bible passage written on it. It made a huge impact on people. Perhaps someone else had a similar experience with one of these bottles or MAYBE Revd Potter might consider writing on rocks instead!

Bishop Alan Wilson said...

you're right, Sarah — I was simply referring to the language question. But (not Belgian bashing, promise — it strikes me as the global equivalent of sniggering-at-Reading, and I lived in Reading for 11 happy years) someone was telling me the other year that King Leopold (the guy on the beer bottles) was a real so-and-so in the Congo. Kind of Edwardian Dr Evil. Actually Dr E was Belgian, too wasn't he, but he didn't exist. Unlike Evil.

Sarah Brush said...

Dr Evil was in fact British - don't want to spoil the last of the trilogy for you too much and explain how!

I too was a Reading resident for four years - still not feeling got at though so don't worry!

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