Ron continues his narration. Early in their marriage, Ron and Deborah are “basic Sunday-go-to-meeting Methodists.” In 1973, attendants from a Bible church invite them to a discussion group in their home, where Ron and Deborah discover that the hosts believe them to be “unsaved.” Deborah is deeply offended by this, since she has always considered herself a Christian, but after weeks of pestering, Ron and Deborah both decide to pray the “sinner’s prayer” and become evangelistic Christians, swept up in the “Jesus wave” of the 1960s.
Though it describes where they started, Ron’s description of this period their Christian faith is largely negative, pointing out the manipulative elements of Christianity while notably absent of any of the positive changes their faith will later have in their lives. In doing so, the book again rejects a simple, optimistic portrayal of faith and instead gives a more nuanced picture.
Looking back, Ron recognizes that in their newfound evangelistic zeal, he and Deborah alienated many of their old college friends by assuming they knew what was in the hearts of other people and aggressively trying to convert them. Ron regrets this, stating that, “All I can do is tell the jagged tale of my own spiritual journey and declare that my life has been the better for having followed Christ.”
Ron and Deborah’s initial approach to evangelism, assuming that they understand the hearts of others, reflects his later view of the homeless as well. In the same way that Ron makes assumptions about the “unsaved,” he will also make those same assumptions about the homeless, rather than first getting to know them as people.