I ran across this article today:
I realize this is hot new technique that many churches are using. But I had never read an article about it until now. The basic idea is this: “A small act of kindness nudges a person closer to God, often in a profound way, as it bypasses one's mental defenses.”
Does that mean people are more likely to move “closer to God” if they don’t think about it?
In any case, the first four giveaways that might “nudge a person closer to God” suggested by the article are coffee, newspapers, donuts, and soft drinks. So far, I can see some trouble with the health police.
I decided to apply a version of the “do unto others” principle to this. Suppose a pantheist gave me a cold soft drink on a hot day along with an invitation to consider being more at one with the universe as I sip my soda. I must say that, while I would think the free drink very nice, I would not be a bit more likely to turn pantheist than I am right now. No doubt, I am very atypical in this.
The list of giveaways-to-bring-people-closer-to-God went on to include lifesavers, lollipops, popcorn, and sunglasses. What was odd was the parenthetical comment after sunglasses that read “cheap ones.”
The author used the term “Christ-followers” rather than “Christians.” But whether you use trendy, hip new terminology or not, wouldn’t expensive sunglasses be a better reflection on God that “cheap” ones?
The more I thought about all this, the more convinced I became that if cheap little trinkets will “nudge” people toward God, why not see what serious cash giveaways would do. Why not just pick the neighborhood where you want to bribe people . . . ugh, I mean . . . “nudge” people closer to God. Then, based on the income level of the neighborhood, decide what amount of cash would impress people there.
If that turns out to be, say, twenty dollars, then get a bunch of $20s, attach a little note to each one that says, “God loves you, and has more of these for you down at First Christian.” That might be more “effective” than cheap sunglasses.