Exploring the interplay between ortho-doxy (right belief) and ortho-praxy (right action)...

...and encouraging a life where these intertwined thoughts and deeds simply happen... by default.

10 October 2005

the gospel blimp: a review

I've just finished a book called, "The Gospel Blimp, by Joseph Bayly." It was published in 1960, but it's amazingly relevant to Christians today.

The story begins with a group of typical, white, middle-class, protestant Americans having a get-together in one of their back yards. The discussion turns to evangelism, and after some time, an idea is floated that would change their lives for the next few years: a Gospel Blimp. The proposed Blimp would be visible to the whole city and would carry a simple Christian message. They look across the fence and notice the neighbors smoking and drinking beer as usual. This all-too-familiar sight provides the necessary motivation and soon all agree to commit to making the Blimp everything it needs to be to evangelise their city. They especially pray that the next door neighbors would be the first to be saved through the blimp.

Over the next few years, the group sees International Gospel Blimps, Incorporated (I.G.B.I) grow and develop far further than they ever expected it to grow, finding support from many Christians. Prayer meetings, publicity personnell, PA systems, lighted signs, the works. The I.G.B.I. committee experiences ups and downs, family trouble, interior conflict and resolution, sacrifice, success, tradgedy and a host of other twists and turns. Possibly the worst of these is that the couple with the next door neighbors eventually leave the committee altogether. That doesn't hinder the commitment of the rest of the committee. They press on.

Eventually, the story closes when the couple that had left invites the committee over to their house again for a BBQ. Also invited to the BBQ were the next-door neighbors. Only they had become Christians. The various committee members are eager to hear the long-awaited story of how God used the Blimp to touch their hearts and draw them to faith. The committee is shocked when the neighbors said that God hadn't used the Blimp to save them. They instead had been deeply moved by their neighbors recently increased involvement in their lives. Their love and care for them through some tough times had been a huge witness to the love of Christ. Toward the end of the BBQ, one of the committee members thinks he will take this golden opportunity to invite the new Christian husband to the Blimp hangar the next morning to help others with their work on the Blimp. The neighbor has to decline because he has plans with a couple of his neighbors to go bowling.

I recommend reading this book in it's entirety, because I think it vividly portrays how many sincere, genuine Christians can be a bit misguided in their efforts. An essential ingredient for Christian witness has always been and will always be love. Selfless love. Even if you have to miss a few Gospel Blimp prayer meetings, or not be involved altogether.

-Dale

5 comments:

Chris said...

impressive, good emphasis on what we need (love) not what we want (fancy evangelism methods e.g. blimps). Also the form could be conventional but if it truly shows God's love then it would even be more effective than the fanciest evangelistic method nowadays. Impressive work, God bless ye! Thanks for doing bydefault, i've found it really honest and meaningful!

Anonymous said...

wow, u gotta love that last paragraph, v. touching, oh an dale... dont be sad that not alot of comments are posted, it doesnt mean that people aren't reading and being inspired by what ur writing, i've read and been challenged by every one of your bydefaults and this is the first comment i have made, so thank u and keep up the gud wrk!!!

JAH said...

It is strange that we need to do big and tiering things so that we have an excuse to show people Jesus love. Just being there for people is powerfull.

James H said...

Hey Dale.
No need to read it, I know what happens now.
Very well written though & I do enjoy your blogs so keep it up.
Cheers Mr Pastor.

Chris said...

i really like the idea of just being there and be a good listener is enough.