Wednesday, August 08, 2001

Reading this article about Philosophy on Tap reminded me of what the Francis Schaeffer Institute (FSI) has done so well here in St. Louis. FSI has been doing Friday night lecture/discussions at Border's and other local bookstores for five years or so. They've had film discussions on At Play in the Fields of the Lord, discussed the Harry Potter books from a Christian perspective, dealt with Jimi Hendrix, Michael Polanyi, the Simpsons, Walker Percy, Marilyn Manson, etc. The Friday night lectures have been relatively well-attended by Christians and unbelievers alike. The clever move, in my estimation, is holding these lectures on public "turf" rather than trying to draw people to a particular church to hear a topical lecture that ends up being a bait and switch gospel presentation. The FSI Friday lectures engage unbelievers and believers alike on foreign ground.

Bookstores seek to be and in some cases are a third place (home is the first place, work is the second place, and places where communities can gather and feel welcome are third places -- think Cheers, "where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came"). Coffee shops, diners, and pubs also frequently seek to be third places. Focusing some of our evangelistic efforts on these third places in engaging and winsome ways seems to me to be a promising and creative strategy for sharing the good news.

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