catapult magazine

catapult magazine


forward evangelism


Nov 15 2002
01:01 pm

this is the text from a forwarded e-mail i received today.

“In light of the many perversions and jokes we send to one another for a laugh, you’ll find this one to be a little different. This is not intended to be a joke. It’s not funny. It’s intended to get you thinking. Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her “How could God let something like this happen?” (Regarding the attacks on Sept.11).

Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said: “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”

In light of recent events…terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it all may have started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools,

And we said OK.

Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school … the Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself.

And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide, by the way).

We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said OK.

Then someone said teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave. The school administrators said no faculty member in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don’t want any bad publicity, and we surely don’t want to be sued (there’s a big difference between disciplining, touching, beating, smacking, humiliating, kicking, etc.).

And we said OK.

Then someone said, let’s let our daughters have abortions if they want, and they won’t even have to tell their parents.

And we said OK.

Then some wise school board member said, since boys will be boys and they’re going to do it anyway, let’s give our sons all the condoms they want so they can have all the fun they desire, and we won’t have to tell their parents they got them at school.

And we said OK.

Then some of our top elected officials said it doesn’t matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs. Agreeing with them, we said it doesn’t matter to me what anyone, including the President, does in private as long as I have a job and the economy is good.

And we said OK.

Then someone said let’s print magazines with pictures of nude women and call it wholesome, down-to-earth appreciation for the beauty of the female body.

And we said OK.

And then someone else took that appreciation a step further and published pictures of nude children and then further again by making them available on the Internet, they’re entitled to free speech.

And we said OK.

Then the entertainment industry said, let’s make TV shows and movies that promote profanity, violence, and illicit sex. Let’s record music that encourages rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes. And we said it’s just entertainment, it has no adverse effect, nobody takes it seriously anyway, so go right ahead.

And we said OK.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with “WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.”

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.

Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing them. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Funny, isn’t it? Are you laughing?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they WILL think of you for sending it. Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it…no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in!


Nov 15 2002
01:05 pm

after i had taken a few deep breaths, i sent out the following response. any feedback? am i wrong to think that forwards like this are dangerous?

“i just got done reading this forward and i wanted to share a few things that were on my mind.

i don’t know why the terrorist attacks on sept. 11 happened, but i don’t think that’s what this e-mail is about.? it’s about the issues Christians get outraged about over and over again.

but there are other things i believe God is angry about besides abortion, pornography and the other sins (some questionable) on this list that we, as a body of believers, are tragically silent about.

-what about the damage we’ve done and continue to do to God’s creation?? (the US has an increasingly poor record for polluting, not only in our own country, but in other third world countries as well.)

what about our gross over-consumption as Americans-our desire to buy and posess things we do not need? (the average American consumes 30 times more than a person in India.)

-what about the racial injustice that persists in our country, even though the unjust laws are long gone? (3 out of 5 Americans of color live in communities with uncontrolled toxic waste sites.)

-what about a national foreign policy that ignores injustice in certain countries just because those countries have no immediate material benefit to us (i.e. oil in Kuwait and Iraq)?

now, we may say that we are not responsible for these things.? we may use ignorance as an excuse.? we may say certain things boil down to bad personal choices.? but we are poorly informed.

the forward says at the end, “you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe.”? but i’m not sending this e-mail on to people on my list because it perpetuates the idea that Christians can ignore certain injustices only to fight for certain “hot button” issues.? the world is so much bigger and more complex than this forward acknowledges and i think it would be a misrepresentation of Christianity to send this forward to my non-Christian friends.

this forward also promotes the idea that we as Christians are in a fight AGAINST culture and that our only agenda in that fight is to restore certain moral elements and restrictions to our laws.? but (especially for those reformed people on this list), our view is much bigger than that.? we are not AGAINST culture—we ARE culture!

if we believe what the Bible says and do it, we are participating in life as God intended it to be.? He created the world and everything in it!? if we are on the side of Christ, we have alread won!? we don’t need to fear or shake our heads sadly at Madeleine Murray O’Hare or Benjamin Spock.? we do not need to be in sorrow over past events.? rather, we need to proceed joyfully with the knowledge that we are actively helping to restore the Kingdom!? and we do that not just through legislation, but through the way we live our lives every day.

the issues i mentioned earlier in the e-mail might seem overwhelming to you because we rarely hear about them in our churches or they might just seem to be part of the “liberal” agenda. if this is the case, please take some time to look at the following web site:, especially the resources section which provides a biblical basis for approaching many of these issues. Target Earth is a Christian organization whose motto is “Helping the Earth, Helping the Poor.”

as a community, we need to develop a passion for these overlooked issues and educate ourselves.? non-believers are thrilled as long as we stick together in our little moral corner and complain about what it is not in our power to change.

i’m not one for passing on forwards and i’m certainly not one for creating them, but if you feel this information is important, feel free to pass it on.? any feedback can be sent to

thanks for listening.

kirstin vander giessen-reitsma ”


Nov 17 2002
03:39 am

There are several things that I find scary about that original forward (Nothing scary about your response, by the way, it is insightful).

First: It contains the assumption that all Christians should feel the same on all issues without thinking about them. The jump from the artistic tradition of celebrating the nude body (which, hardly new, goes back to Greek times and before) to the relatively mordern degredation of pornography is downright silly and avoids making any sort of distinction at all. Should one disagree with this, no doubt one would be immediately condemned. In fact, any disagreement with any part of the forward seems to imply that you are one of those who foolishly said “okay.”

Second: The paranoid notion (which you alluded to Kirstin) that there is a monolithic force (or maybe several) that are trying to destroy all Christians). The fact is, paryer in public schools is a fairly recent invention, and the movement against it came not out of a desire to cruch Christianity, but out of a desire to be considerate to the variety of faiths that attend public school. In point of fact, one can pray in the public school all one wants, just not a single prayer led by the teacher. This seems reasonable to me, even preferable to a watered down meaningless prayer to a vaguely general deity. One wonders why the author of the forward isn’t more bothered by what goes on in the classes - I could see the argument that the relativistic perspective behind most public school textbooks is a good argument for Christian schools — but christian schools are not banned in our country, so what is the person bellyaching about.

Third: There is this sense that it is too late. We messed up by not fighting off the pagan wolves while we could and now it is too late. This is also silly. If you are tired of meaningless television infecting your children with ideas and images you don’t wnat in your home, get rid of your television, (or be selective in your viewing) and support Christians who work in Hollywood. If you don’t like what Mr. Spock has to say, write a book on Christian discipline (though frankly, as a father and high school teacher, I am here to say that there are many modes of discipline more effective than swatting a kid on the butt).

Fourth (and there are many more flaws in this whole thing, but I’ll end here because I have to go make breakfast), The guilt appeal to replicate this virus and send it on to everyone in your address book presupposes that the forward is useful (and I can’t imagine a thoughtful non-christian reacting favorably toward Christian belief after reading it) and not just a lot of trash cluttering up the net. I’d argue that Christians have a responsibility to trash stuff like this.