The criminal-tragic tale of two fugitives suspected in the murder of a prison guard in my home state last week ended on a tip from a cab driver. He had dropped off the pair at a motel, without making a connection between them and the ongoing national manhunt. Then he got to thinking about them.

"The cover story they gave me didn't really seem to 'wash' too much," Mike Wagers said. "I could kinda see through that. But I had no indication that these guys were really dangerous or they were on the run."

During the 115-mile trip from Kentucky into Ohio, there had been some conversation. What Wagers called their "cover story" was the explanation they somehow felt compelled to give about hiring a cab for such a long trip. They told him they were on their way to an Amway convention.

"They didn't strike me as the Amway type because, to be honest, they weren't very pushy about their product," continued Wagers. "And I've dealt with [Amway distributors] before, so that was my only real suspicion."

Now don't any of you who sell Amway products get defensive! I have no quarrel with people who sell Amway or Chevrolets or widget baskets promoting their products. Sure, the word "pushy" has negative connotations. And some people cross that line with their sales pitches. But, the way you create a market for a product is advertising. Promotion. And word-of-mouth ads are the best of all.

Wonder if the claim some of us make to be disciples of Jesus ever sounds hollow? The name "Christian" seems like a bad fit? If anybody ever thought about it later and mumbled, "I'm not sure that person's claim 'washes' with me!"

Christians almost certainly hurt our cause when we are too abrupt and pushy in our evangelistic efforts. I don't like in-your-face recruiters. Intrusive sales people. Or brassy Christians who think the gospel justifies rudeness. But is it too much to expect that we speak well of our faith? The church? And Jesus?

Disciples (i.e., students) of Jesus are always learning about him. Making the effort to imitate him. And it's unthinkable to me that we would never get his name into conversations or tell people the difference it makes to know him. Give him credit for something good that has happened to us or through us. Explain why we think or act a certain way in terms of commitments made to him.

I wonder if our claim sounds hollow?
If it shocks a cabby that Amway dealers aren't talking about their wares, it should certainly stun people when Christians have nothing to say about Jesus.

Honor Christ and let him be the Lord of your life. Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about your hope. (1 Peter 3:15 CEV)