A simple and effective way to talk about the Christian faith is to craft speech acts about heroes and villains. For example, I was talking recently to a financial adviser about investing money in a variety of portfolios and my wife, Anne and I became bothered about the dodgy nature of some of the schemes. We’re talking about our money being invested in weapons, tobacco and pornography companies. This is how the conversation went with ‘Brian’.
Mark: I don’t think my hero, George Cadbury, would invest in these companies, Brian. Do you know about George’s amazing chocolate company?
Brian: No I don’t think I do.
Mark: Well, George Cadbury was a Quaker who made my favourite chocolate on a daily basis. He was profit-sensitive without being profit-driven. He was a committed Christian and he was very ethical in everything he did blah blah. I don’t think he would have invested his coin in some of these companies you are suggesting to us.
Brian: It’s rare to meet people like you who are concerned about this ethical issue. Most people aren’t bothered by this at all.
Mark: This might sound odd to you but I believe that one day I will have to give an account of my life to Jesus and I’d much rather be like George Cadbury than Hetty Green.
Brian: Sorry I’m not with you Mark. Hetty who?
Mark: Have you never heard of Hetty Green, Brian? She lived in a very secular, materialist story. She was incredibly wealthy but stunk like a skunk and was one of the meanest people ever to have lived. I’m anxious to avoid her mistakes. Call me old-fashioned if you like.
Develop your own speech acts using your favourite heroes and villains. You could use Susie Hart, Pastor Pete or Bob Lavelle as your heroes. The key thing is to find heroes and villains that you enjoy talking about. Develop your own bespoke speech acts that communicate your Christian faith in a non-cheesy way.