Off Tract

Handing out tracts; a time honored Christian tradition. This is how a lot of people first come into contact with Christianity and Christians. I remember being handed a very similar, if not the same track, some time ago. I also remember thanking the person who placed it in my hand and then trying very politely to dissuade them of any further conversation. It was downtown Baltimore, at the Inner Harbor.

Now, I didn’t just throw it away, as so many claim to do (there was no trash bin handy and I try not to litter). I folded it up tight and shoved it in that little watch pocket that Levi’s have. A couple of weeks later I found it (maybe I should wash my jeans more?) and out of curiosity I read it. Then I threw it away.

I question the effectiveness of this type of evangelizing. I also question the theology as well as the ‘science’. What do you think? Were you or anyone you know ‘saved’ by a tract someone handed you? Of do you think that it might have the opposite effect? Do tracts do a disservice to the Great Commission?

By the way, this is a Chick tract (as if you didn’t know) and freely available on their website.



  1. #1 by logiopath on August 10, 2008 - 11:23 am

    Okay, here is little Tract Higher Criticism

    One pet peeve involves what we’ll call textual incoherence–what Dr. Edgington might call a lack of cohesion. For example, a tract that has a list of ills that might plague Christians. In another column, is a list of verses that remedy all of these maladies. However, the verses don’t match the list of ills.

    Another pet peeve is that Chick Tracts, while widely accepted among more radical Christians, are anti-semetic, anti-Catholic. However, the drawings and text are quite entertaining, to say the least.

    One time, whicl barreling across the country, I picked a Spanish language tract out of a pile. I got out at a rest stop, and the first person to cross my path happened to be a person who was obvioulsy Latino. Coincedence? I don’t think so.

    Once upon another time, I was in Charlotte, N. C., out on Passover with the idea of disrupting services and setting those Jews straight. I ended up in a conversation with a guy from The Family (aka, The Children of God, or a cult that practices swinging as a part of their practices-although they deny this publically). While on this island, in the middle of Independence Avenue, I was nearly squished by a screaming fire engine.

    When first having adopted being a Baptist, I grabbed several of each tract from the ract. I took them home, thinking my friend and I (yeah right) were gonna convert everyone in the mall. The tracts remained hidden on the top shelf of my closet for a couple of years. When I was going to toss them out, I had a horrible moral dilemma–but I eventually did the sinful deed.

    Then there was the time I was passing out Spanish language tracts at work, with the approval of my friend Bud the Manager. I had my targets locked in–I gave the tracts to a group of six, including a guy my age who is a devout Roman Catholic (come’on, Padre, you too).

    The worst tale of my evangelical efforts was the Box-O-Witness I sent to my Jewish Aunt. I wrote her a letter, explaining how I wanted to tell her of Christ, for years, but was afraid of offending her. In a Priority Mailer I sent a book, a copy of The Jesus Film, and an assortment of other goodies.
    She sent the box back, with a nice letter explaing that she was a Jew, and would always be so–that she knew I was doing my duty–and she had made her peace with God, as she perceived Him.

    Another adventure had me passing out invitations to the March for Jesus, May 1998 addition. I went up and down the main drag, Grand Avenue, in the beach communities of Grover Beach and Arroyo Grande, CA. Part of this adventure took place late at night.

    The Swami of the Local group of some Eastern religion was locking up the shrine for the night. He was just about to get into his little Chevy, when I came around the corner. He must of thought I was going to rob or kill him. He must have sensed me–when he came out of the side door of the storefront shrine, I pounced, “Jesus loves you” (or some such statement) came out of my mouth. I extended my hand–tract-in-tact–and the guy went from a look of terror to a smile in a matter of seconds. What a witness! Actually, it was a little business card from the church, which was like a mini-tract.

    I realize these stories are boring. I guess I just can’t tell a story like you, Chris.


  2. #2 by Christian Beyer on August 10, 2008 - 1:19 pm

    Boring?! Keep ’em coming.

    And knock off the snide insults thinly disguised as self deprecation. I’ve had your number for some time, buster.

    What happened to the Hispanic guy?

  3. #3 by logiopath on August 10, 2008 - 4:00 pm

    The first Hispanic person was just passing by.

    The second goes like this–the two younger ones were brothers who who became supervisors. The older guy is their father (although he I don’t believe he is the natural father of both). Anyway, all were Roman Catholics, the dad was quite devout. The brothers were somewhat fickle. The older one had inconsistent morality–the younger and I did not get along, and was always staring at me, as If I was slacking. The father was dedicated and is a “one church, one mother (Mary), one Pope (Peter) kind of person.

    As to the other? Knock off the snide insults towards you? Waa-Waa. Towards myself? You’re right. I do this to hide the frustration between my desire to teach college level courses, earn a Dr. and live scholarly ever after. Unfortunately, the higher-education community (with a couple of exceptions) doesn’t see things my way, so far. My frustration is exacerbated by people who are teaching college courses (and upper-level high school classes) who don’t match my wit, so to speak. My response is sarcasm and phony self-deprecation.

  4. #4 by logiopath on August 10, 2008 - 4:00 pm

    But thanx for the encouraging words, Bub.

  5. #5 by Jack on August 13, 2009 - 12:21 pm

    I found this article and a strange phenomenon has occurred. Although I disagree with some of the stances that are taken within the Chick tracts and am disturbed by some of the conspiracy theories espoused within them about the Catholic church, I can’t stop reading them. I can’t help it. I don’t know what it is. I just find these little cartoons extremely entertaining.

    • #6 by Christian Beyer on August 13, 2009 - 3:18 pm

      Have you ever had a painful cold sore in your mouth and you just can’t stop running your tongue over it, no matter how much it hurts?

      But seriously, what do you find so interesting about them? Is it the same kind of interest that might be generated on the carnival midway or Ripley’s Believe it or Not? Like the way I can’t help but read the headlines of the scandal rags in line at the grocery store.

  6. #7 by Alex on August 13, 2009 - 10:02 pm

    I love how the lizard uses old english.

  7. #8 by Christian Beyer on August 18, 2009 - 10:02 am

    Could we think of this as “Elizardbethian”?

  8. #9 by Jack on August 19, 2009 - 9:22 am

    Oh no you dii-nnt!

  9. #10 by Christian Beyer on August 19, 2009 - 10:32 am

    Ricky? Is that you? I’m thinnin’ that it is.

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