Stuff Christians Like, written by Jonathan Acuff, is a satirical look at many of the things Christians frequently say and do.  Let me rephrase that: it is extremely satirical.  As effective satire, it has you thinking at one moment, “How could he be so irreverent, insensitive, and off-base; I would have never written that.”  The next minute you are laughing and saying, “Man, he got that one right!”  In the introduction to the book, Acuff writes, “Do you love Jesus?  Me too.  This book is for you.  Do you think we Christians are weird?  Me too.  This book is for you.” 

Near the end of the book, Acuff shares a few entries that are less silly and more sobering than most of his material.  In one of them he compares some of our efforts at evangelism with sending a friend suggestion on Facebook. 

I will accept anyone’s friend request on Facebook…but I never accept friend suggestions.  If you’ve never used Facebook, a friend suggestion is a feature where you can send a note to someone and essentially say, “I think you should be friends with this person.”  You get the other person’s name and a little photo of them.  If you choose to accept it, then you send that suggested person a friend request…

The truth is that sometimes I drop Jesus into someone’s lap like I’m sending a random friend suggestion on Facebook.  I don’t really tell them much about him.  I don’t really invest in the life of the person I’m talking to.  I don’t even listen to their story.  I just rush to the end of my agenda and essentially say, “Yeah, yeah, regardless of what’s going on with you and your whole situation, I’d like to send you this friend suggestion to connect with Jesus.  Here you go, vaya con Dios, stranger.”  It’s kind of like a Jesus drive-by, me just spraying folks with the name of Christ and hoping it sticks.  I don’t think that’s a particularly good thing.  I can’t imagine that’s what God had in mind when he gave us the Great Commission.  So what can we do to change that?  How do we not just “friend suggest” Jesus?”

Acuff’s answer is to really invest ourselves in people’s lives, sincerely listen to their stories and their struggles, and then ask them, “Who is carrying all that with you?”  Very often, their answer is “no one.”  At that point we have an opportunity to meaningfully introduce them to a true Friend who can help them carry “all that.”  

Acuff concludes:

But it’s not one of those questions you can ask and then disappear as soon as you’ve friend suggested Jesus.  You have to be willing to carry “all that” with the person you’re talking with.  You can’t fade into the weeds of life like dissolving into the sea of profiles on Facebook.  That’s why witnessing is hard.  That’s why it’s easier to friend suggest Jesus to strangers than it is to introduce your friend Jesus to someone.  It’s not right, but I think that’s why it happens.  And I’m tired of it happening with me.”            

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