The other evangelism I've become aware of of late is tech evangelism. There is much talk these days of "digital immigrants" and "digital natives", but I think it's time to coin the term "digital missionaries" (and as may be apparent from the above, I don't use that word in a positive way). I touched upon it recently when I wrote about mad Mac-o-philes (though I realise that post implied that all Mac users were fundamentalist evangelicals, which is not true. Just some of them, though seemingly a large proportion)
Of late I've been moving in newish circles of people (I mean this in the online sense of that phrase), many of whom are passionate about the use of technology in education (education is, in case you didn't know, my professional field). Now for the most part this is great - people who are trying to improve the learning experience for students, trying to help them learn more effectively and making use of many of the tools that exist. But there are a few who seem to make it their mission to criticise, belittle, patronise and ridicule those who are not using aforementioned tools (even if those people are in places where they really can't). It drives me mad. And, it has the effect of making me want to NOT want to use the stuff they peddle, just as i-vangelism has the effect of making me NOT ever want to own anything made by Apple. [Yes, I do recognise that this is my problem not theirs].
Now possibly someone will pipe up and suggest that as I keep a blog, I am - in a sense- evangelising too, but I really don't feel that I am. I obviously have opinions (as does everyone else), and I'm happy to share those opinions and bore everyone to tears with them, but whether anyone is swayed in any way by my opinions is entirely up to them (and in fact I actually presume that no-one ever is). To give an example, I am vegetarian. I've just done a search of the entire blog and I have mentioned this fact twice. Just mentioned it. No "why you too should be a vegetarian" or anything like that. We (vegetarians) are always being accused by meat eaters of being evangelical - I've never seen this, but I think the perception exists. As it goes I think there are pressing reasons why a greater number of vegetarians would be a good thing, but I'm still not really interested in telling or even suggesting to people that they should follow me on this path. I figure people think about it, (because I assume the vast majority of people have brains, and thoughts, and can weigh up various options) and make their own decisions. Whatever I happen to think of that decision is irrelevant.
I have pondered the possibility that I am using "evangelism" to mean "going on about things I don't like" and "just sharing my opinions" for "going on about things I do", but I'm pretty sure that's not it. After all, I am in favour of using technology in the classroom in a well thought out way (and in contexts where it's possible), I just don't like it when people try and make it seem that people who don't are somehow inferior and, worse, professionally incompetent.
I have the strong suspicion now that people are going to use the comments section to highlight places where I have been evangelical - but at least if that happens I might be able to more clearly define what constitutes evangelism and what doesn't. Since I think I probably haven't yet, even though, to coin a phrase, I know it when I see it.