Your soul is not my game piece.

This post from Darwin Catholic reminded me I’ve been meaning to talk about proselytizing versus evangelizing. Here’s my story, abridged and paraphrased:

Way back many years ago, I had a friend who went to an evangelical seminary.  One day in conversation she shared her plans: Going to play tennis.

“I didn’t know you liked tennis,” I said, making chit chat.

“I don’t.  For my class on evangelization, we have a required project.  We have to befriend someone in order to to try to evangelize them.  So I have to go play tennis, because that is what my new friend likes to do.”

I was a newish Christian at the time, I think, or maybe an almost-revert.  Can’t remember exactly.  But this thing . . . this faking liking a sport, faking liking somebody . . . it turned my stomach.  Really?  That’s evangelization?

Nah.  That’s proselytizing.


Do I want my friends to be Catholic?  Of course I do.  I think Catholicism is true, and I think my friends will be happier — in this life and the next — if they ardently follow the Catholic faith.  I think that being Catholic is the best thing for anyone, and I want the best things for my friends.  (And for everyone else, too.)

But I don’t do fake-friend.

Just no.  No.  Nope nope nope.

6 thoughts on “Your soul is not my game piece.

  1. On the story about your tennis-playing friend: Are you sure it’s even proselytizing? It sounds like she was just doing her homework. Faking liking tennis in order to fake being a friend in order to (fake) evangelize in order to fulfill a coursework requirement.

    Give the “real” proselytizers more credit than that!

  2. You like me! You really like me!! (And would be thrilled if I converted.)
    Also: Evangelization doesn’t intend for you to count the number of souls you’ve lead to God. It bothers me that one would say “I have saved fifteen people” with the emphasis on one’s self. God is the one who saves souls, you are the channel.

    1. Anna, Correct on both :-).

      And agreed on the counting and the me-me-me– how galling. I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone actually count the notches in their belt, but I don’t get out as much as you do.

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