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love. this. movie.

"It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling Jesus, or Buddha, or civil rights, or 'How to Make Money in Real Estate With No Money Down.' That doesn’t make you a human being. It makes you a marketing rep. If you want to talk to someone honestly, as a human being… ask him about his kids. Find out what his dreams are. Just to find out -- for no other reason. Because as soon as you lay your hands on a conversation to steer it, it’s not a conversation anymore. It’s a pitch. And you’re not a human being. You’re a marketing rep."
- from The Big Kahuna (1999)
Posted on Saturday, June 24, 2006 at 11:50PM by Registered Commentermdog | Comments6 Comments

Reader Comments (6)

Yea, but I struggled with that. It is saying that being intentional with sharing your faith is somehow wrong. That the message of the gospel is on line with... well... industrial lubricant. Which is is not, by the way. I loved the movie, and think, to some extent the message is "true," in that certain forms of "evangelism" are, well... silly.

But aren't there two sides to this? What happens if we never talk about Jesus... or some serious topic? Must we always wait until we are friends for [an undisclosed period of time?]

I'm interested to hear what you all have to say.

And if you haven't seen the movie, rent it. Don't watch it with a teenager and a two year old in the room... or with someone who can't talk.
Jun 25, 2006 at 05:08PM | Unregistered Commenterpaul
Mdog, I loved that movie precisely for that quote. Good choice. I think it expresses something I always knew to be true but had never put in words quite like that.

Paul: There are a couple of ways to get around your dilemna. First, what that quote is imply is that you treat someone as an end, not as a means to something else: my goal in this conversation, whether with the person next to me in a plane or my best friend, is to let that person tell his or her story, to try to understand him or her. Haven't you ever wondered about the struggles or joys of perfect strangers? I certainly do.

The main idea is not to sit there sort of scanning the conversation for a chance to bring it around to Jesus or yourself or whatever. Then you're not even properly listening. It does NOT mean, in the natural flow of conversation, that you have to steer away from discussions of life, death, the universe, and everything: quite the opposite. I think if you're truly interested in understanding someone, those important topics will be discussed. And of course, I don't mean to imply that we should never share stuff about ourselves: conversations work best as a give and take sort of thing; we are open to those who are open to us, right?

The other (sort of pat, Christian) answer is the One steering conversations should be God, anyway. Of course how can one tell if God is steering a conversation towards talk of Jesus or industrial lubricants? Heck if I know.
Jun 25, 2006 at 06:38PM | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
"It is saying that being intentional with sharing your faith is somehow wrong." -- i [personally] don't think that's what it's saying at all. i think the quote is a reminder that above all, we need to remember that people deserve to be treated like, well, people; and not a purchasing client, or a spiritual project. i mean... i knew people like bob. hell, i WAS people like bob for awhile. every conversation with a new person had a certain pressing element of "so how can i fit Jesus into this talk as soon as possible?", and i saw it in other people as well. is that bad... not necessarily. but to me i found it smacked of insincerity, and any relationships being formed at all were simply... artificial.

i think the scenes in which larry and phil were talking, while alone in the suite waiting for bob, are a glimpse at the answer to this dilemma [OUR dilemma]. because sometimes people really do bring these things up on their own. phil's wonderings about God and mission and love were things he was chewing on... he talked to larry about them because he loved him, trusted him. [and larry didn't even WANT to talk about it!] all that time, right under bob's nose, was a man yearning to find his place, his meaning in life. yet bob couldn't see phil's hurt and introspection because he was too busy trying to find an "in" with his superficial questions that phil saw right through... not to mention, was he too distracted by phil's divorce and penthouse perusing and smoking to perhaps think he was "worth" saving?

and let's remember: it's just a movie. we can take it or leave it, really. but discussion is fun. :)
Jun 25, 2006 at 08:35PM | Registered Commentermdog
Mdog: you make some good points. I hadn't really thought about Bob's failure to recognize Phil as a person who was searching for meaning, purpose, and wondering about God.

I was kind of encouraged to be like Bob in my high school youth group, but I could never make it work. I didn't like putting myself out there and I have no motivation to do things I don't like. Probably just as well. :)
Jun 25, 2006 at 09:58PM | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
First, I actually think we might agree more than we are letting on. I certainly understand what you are saying... but...

"because sometimes people really do bring these things up on their own..."

I still think that there are times when I can/should/ought to initiate that conversation.

A deep core conviction of mine: most people really do want to talk about deep things... not industrial lubricant... but many are afraid to approach the topic. I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me. Now, I think many of your readers know me enough to know that I don't see people as projects (which is part of the problem of this style of "evangelism") but I do see people as people who want more to life than surface stuff. And "how are your kids?" is fine... and you should ask that (and I do), but what do you do when they say, "Oh, my youngest is in a wheelchair and is going in for an operation this week to help relieve some of the pain?" (An actual conversation that happened to me not that long ago.)

You better be damn sure I'm going to talk about God because God matters here. And yes I'm going to be sensitive, and no I'm not after getting a notch in my belt (I mean who is going to know I had this conversation anyway? I don't turn in a time sheet!). But I believe there is a topic that actually does have the power to change this man's life and perspective. And it isn't lubricant.

With that said... it really was a good movie.
Jun 26, 2006 at 07:38AM | Unregistered Commenterpaul
yeah, i think we're all on the same page. just pointing out different paragraphs. :)

here is a different thought to chew on: was it ethical of bob to spend what was clearly meant to be company time, on furthering his personal/spiritual agenda? i think we know what larry would say.
Jun 26, 2006 at 11:19PM | Registered Commentermdog

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