Here's the scenario. You're in your favorite coffee shop, perhaps reading the paper, perhaps studying, but essentially minding your own business. You've noticed a young man sitting by himself who appears to be reading but is in fact watching every new customer who walks in the door. He glances at them, sizing them up, and usually returns to his faux reading. You can't quite make out the book: Tony Jones or Doug Pagitt or Shane Claiborne, or a slimline Bible. It's definitely Christian. He's dressed in the latest hip-Christian clothes: pullover sweater, ratty dungarees, Tom's.
Finally, you leave the table for a refill. He stands at virtually the same time and follows you to the counter. There is nothing in his hands. As you wait your turn, he speaks to you.
"Hi. What are you studying over there?"
"Really? Where do you go to school?"
To continue speaking would be a huge mistake. You've been targeted by the Faith Predator. As ecclesiological lines have continued to blur, there is a group of young men and women who believe they are "called" to coffee shop evangelism. Is nothing sacred? Can't I get a cup of coffee without being proselytized? No. Not when the Faith Predator targets you. The conversation may start innocuously, but it won't take long before the FP will attempt to draw out your metaphysical views. You won't be handed a tract; mercifully, the FPs loathe tracts as much as the non-theist, but the conversation he is attempting to generate functions just like a tract.
It's time to Catch a Faith Predator. You'll need a friend with an inexpensive digital video camera and your own quick wits. That's all. The FP approaches. You allow the conversation to begin. Just as the FP is about to offer the Big Question, the one that steers the conversation to your "relationship" with Jesus, your friend turns the camera on and points it at the FP.
"What are your intentions?" You ask.
FP (looking confused): "Intentions? Uh...I...uh was just starting a conversation."
You: "Really? Sure you weren't up to something else?"
FP: "No. No. Really just a conversation."
You: "You weren't trying to get me saved? Weren't trying to engage me in a conversation so that you could turn it back to my soul?"
FP: "I swear. I just wanted to be friends."
You: "Then why are you reading an emergent Christian book? Why did you bring that? Explain yourself!"
FP: "It was recommended to me. By a friend. That's all."
You: "A real friend or a coffee shop friend? You're trying to be missional, aren't you? You've been reading about generative friendships and now you think it's okay to molest people on their way to get a refill. Tell the truth!"
FP (hiding face from camera): "Ok. I'm sorry. I...I've never done this before. I swear. What happens now?"
You: "You leave me alone and let me drink my fuckin' coffee, and don't do this again. Understand?"
FP (sniffling): "I do, I do. I'm so sorry."