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Kerygma

The Synod for the New Evangelization begins tomorrow inRome. John Allen has a helpful FAQ on the Synod here. Ive been reading through the instrumentum laboris, the working document for the Synod and found a passage I particularly liked. It reminded me of Karl Rahners suggestion many years ago that we needed new short formulas of Christian Faith:

The Christian faith is not simply teachings, wise sayings, a code of morality or a tradition. The Christian faith is a true encounter and relationship with Jesus Christ. Transmitting the faith means to create in every place and time the conditions which lead to this encounter between the person and Jesus Christ. The goal of all evangelization is to create the possibility for this encounter, which is, at one and the same time, intimate, personal, public and communal. Pope Benedict XVI stated: "Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. [...] Since God has first loved us (cf. 1 Jn 4:10), love is now no longer a mere 'command'; it is the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us." In the Christian faith, the encounter with Christ and the relationship with him takes place "in accordance to the Scriptures" (1 Cor 15:3, 4). The Church is formed precisely through the grace of this relationship.

This encounter with Jesus, through his Spirit, is the Father's great gift to humanity. We are prepared for this encounter through the action of grace in us. In such an encounter, we feel an attraction which leads to our transformation, causing us to see new dimensions to who we are and making us partakers of divine life (cf. 2 Pt 1:4). After this encounter, everything is different as a result of metanoia, that is, the state of conversion strongly urged by Jesus himself (cf. Mk 1:15). In a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, faith takes the form of a relationship with him and in remembrance of him, especially in the Eucharist and the Word of God, and creates in us the mind of Christ, through the Spirit, a mentality which makes us recognize our brothers and sisters, gathered by the Spirit in his Church, and, in turn, see ourselves as witnesses and heralds of this Gospel. This encounter equips us to do new things and witness to the transformation of our lives in the works of conversion as announced by the prophets (cf. Jer 3:6 ff; Ez 36:24-36).

Some other good resources for reflection on the purposes of the Synod include Pope Paul VIs 1975 Apostolic Exhortation Evangeli Nuntiandi, Cardinal Wuerls pastoral letter Disciples of the Lord: Sharing the Vision, and the USCCBs resource page on the New Evangelization.

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J. Peter --Is this word "kerygma" found in Scripture itself? As I understand its meaning, it sort of tries to encapsulate a kind of speech ('faith is through hearing') that has, well, something like a magical power to convince where (ordinary?) evidence and reasoning don't convince. My question, I suppose, is what sort of extraordinary evidence/speech are the early teachers == and Rahner -- talking about? (I don't always disparage the notion of magic, by the way.)Mushy, mushy.

This encounter with Jesus, through his Spirit, is the Fathers great gift to humanity.A grammatical question: who does "his" refer to here, the Son or the Father?

Ann:Kerygma is a Greek word that is often used in the New Testament to mean preaching or proclamation. Some scholars have used "kerygm" a as a shorthand for the teachings about Jesus found in the New Testament. I don't think there is any suggestion that the speech itself--apart from its source in the Holy Spirit--has any particular magical power.Regards,Peter

Thanks, Peter. I'm sure the early Christians and later scholars didn't think in terms of magic, and as I learned it, Christians should avoid all magical practices. But it seems to me that there is such an emphasis on just proclaiming the Word that the proclaiming aspect (not just the content) was thought to have some special efficacy. But I really don't understand what Scripture means by "faith" either, especially St. Paul. Must do some studying.

Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event..."This weekend in Strasbourg there are a series of meetings about the state of Christianity, broadly interpreted. One of the debates will be about the transmission of the faith, and on the internet there are a few 2 minute videos of witness talks of people talking about what they believe. The president of the youth Christian workers association (JOC) can be heard on http://www.lejourduseigneur.com/Web-TV/Evenements/Etats-generaux-du-chri... about whether there is only one truth, she answers that the common feature of all religions is love, and that love is a universal truth. Then she talks about religion being useful to society because it makes people get engaged in the service of others. All very nice, but not one word about the event of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The president of Catholic Charities can be heard on http://www.lejourduseigneur.com/Web-TV/Evenements/Etats-generaux-du-chri... He talks about how Jesus came to propose a way to change the world. Asked if there is just one truth, he answers that, no, there is not just one truth: we Christians have one truth, but there may be others. The role of religions in society consists in being ethical markers. The priority of Christians is to work for the dignity of human beings. All very nice, but it presents Jesus as, primarily, a great teacher of ethics. There is nothing about the resurrection.There is also a theologian on http://www.lejourduseigneur.com/Web-TV/Evenements/Etats-generaux-du-chri... says that it is through Jesus Christ that she believes in God. Asked whether there is just one truth, she says that truth is like a diamond, and that each person sees a different facet of it. She seems to have chosen not to talk of the event of the resurrection. A fourth speaker takes the utilitarian angle: that religion is consoling and helps people build a society that is more just. To the question: "Is there only one truth?", he answers that unfortunately some people are centered on their self-centered view of truth, and that it leads to intolerance. Again, no mention of Jesus Christ.All those speakers are bending over backwards to be tolerant and open to others, and to present the Christian religion in a way that will be acceptable to atheists, but what about St Paul's words? "If Christ is not risen, our faith is in vain". Why does none of them talk about it? Do they not really believe that event? It's not clear.The resurrection is an event that is hard to believe. On the face of it, it sounds cuckoo. It goes against reason, and as such, it's counter-cultural. They would not be taken seriously if they brought it up. They would be considered fundamentalists. They would also be considered at risk of intolerance, since it would mean that they believe that they have one truth that other religions do not have. So they sweep it under the carpet. I am disturbed by the reduction of the Christian religion to its "love your neighbor" commandment. If that, not the event of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, is the core of Christianity, then why go to church on Sundays if you don't feel like it? Why pray? What's the big deal about receiving communion? Why should your kids follow your footsteps in the practice of our religion? As long as they have good Christian values, the rest doesn't matter much, does it? It's just a bunch of symbolic rituals that feel good to some people - good for them - but if it doesn't feel good, then one should feel free to drop them. That seems to be the attitude. I am disturbed because, in the name of tolerance (or something), it turns our religion into an empty shell. I worry that this has been happening in our churches. So French society is currently presented two faces of Christianity: on the one hand, people who go around doing good, speak of Jesus, at best, as a teacher of ethics, and seem to think that all religions are equivalent. On the other hand, a handful of integrists who say that Jesus Christ, the son of God, is resurrected, but who also say that you go to hell if you miss Mass one Sunday, that you can buy off x years of purgatory by doing this or that, and all sorts of laughable beliefs.The good thing about those two positions is that each is coherent. My own position, on the other hand, lacks coherence. Why believe in such a preposterous event as the resurrection, but not in indulgences? If I really think that I hold a truth - Jesus Christ is resurrected - that other religions do not have, then all religions are not equal, and that is a deeply offensive idea, isn't it? It leads to intolerance, doesn't it? Because my position is incoherent, my efforts to transmit the faith are doomed. So what will happen in the next few generations? Maybe my inconsistent brand of Christianity will disappear; maybe the "love your neighbor and believe in some vague supreme being" brand will become completely diluted and secularized; and then, only the integrists will hold the remnants of the faith, from which one hopes that it can be regained by purifying it of its worthless or harmful excretions. That's my doomsday scenario.

Peter, thanks for posting a link to Allen's FAQ. Was struck by this:"Second, it's also not simply about boosting Mass attendance, regular prayer and so on. It includes engaging broad social and cultural challenges through a distinctively Christian lens. Among those challenges, synod documents tick off secularism and relativism, a 'hedonistic and consumer-oriented mentality,' fundamentalism and 'the sects,' migration and globalization, the economy, social communications, scientific and technical research, and civic and political life."I wonder if the Synod will discuss "fundamentalism and 'the sects'" within the Church as well as without. The great pitfall of liberal Catholics is toward secularization, of course, and this has been talked to death. But ISTM that a pitfall of conservative Catholics is toward a kind of tribalism in which rules and practices are imposed as a mark of the sect, never mind whether they make sense or not. And, especially in recent years, drawing lines in the sands for others deemed "unfit" to be in communion if not outright excommunicated has been popular.I also see that "new" evangelization is aimed at disaffected Catholics, and, frankly, I never feel more disaffected than during self-conscious efforts like "Coming Home."In a small parish, there is a lot of pressure on practicing Catholics to bring their fallen-away relatives with them on these specific Sundays. There is always a lot of neck-craning to see who shows up "after all that time." On the surface level, fallen-aways are greeted with big hugs, and are given a tour of the church building so they can see what's new. While that's happening, the Old Guard circulate whispered stories about why so and so left and churn up reasons why they might be back (they've been diagnosed with a dread disease, their kids went wrong, they're going through financial hard times, their second marriage didn't work out). OTOH, the after-Mass snacks are usually primo!

The beginning of Cardinal Wuerl's letter was pretty interesting, I thought. But one thing is missing for me. The letter puts on one side those who are evangelizing and on the other side those who are being evangelized. It talks about bringing anew the good news to the world, that suffers from so many problems. But it is one-sided. Isn't evangelization something mutual, and do we not have something to bring to one another? Perhaps, in the case of the young woman of the young catholic workers' association that I mentioned above, a new evangelizer can try to awaken in her some sense that her Christian heritage is about more than universal love; but the new evangelizer will surely also have a chance to undergo some kind of conversion as well, from being in contact with her enthusiasm for whole-hearted service and self-giving. I imagine an exchange, not a one-way communication.Cdl Wuerl talks about consumerism and individualism in the world, but the people I see as people who naturally ought to be practicing Christians, in my mind, are the many people I know who are generous, idealistic, loving, selfless, who might give their lives for others, but who scoff at the idea of an incarnated God; who were raised Christian and "defected", so to speak, yet fully internalized are are living the commandments.

I guess I'm "fallen away" in that I don't go to church anymore, but I still believe in Jesus/God. From my pov, what might help evangelization ... - the church needs to resolve the serious discrepancy between what Jesus taught in the gospels and how the church actually operates. I think this is one of the main reason people leave the church, not inadequate catechesis. - Perhaps the other reason people leave is a lack of spiritual nurishment at church. I agree with Karl Rahner that the most important thing is a relationship between individuals and Jesus, and that's best fostered through an emphasis on spirituality (like retreats) not by an emphasis on church doctrines.

Crystal, it is true that the new evangelization magazine, published by Notre Dame, and that Fr Imbelli posted about a couple of times, puts its focus away from dry doctrines and more on the good news, surely a good move.As to the way the church operates, we lament it often here. I wonder if we can just put it in parenthesis: if the masses are energized, they can act, and the hierarchy doesn't much matter. Today at my church our communion refrain said: "Christ has put his body into our hands", and those rich words stayed with me all day: he did it during his Passion, he does it in the Eucharist, and he does it by giving us, as his body the Church, the task of continuing his work. The church hierarchy is meant to help us with that, but if they do not, it doesn't absolve us of our task. It makes it more challenging, that's all.But I have done enough of hogging the thread.

Amen, Amen, Amen, to what Claire wrote. The great distinguishing center of Christianity is that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, that Christ died for our sins, and that he was raised on the third day. It's only Christianity that proclaims all this, and it is a great tragedy that it gets ignored in so many of the quarrels that mark the Church today that usually focus on decidedly secondary issues. "Woe to me,' St. Paul said, "if I do not tell the good news," and his words should apply to the Church, too, that is, to all of us.

"The resurrection is an event that is hard to believe. On the face of it, it sounds cuckoo. It goes against reason, and as such, its counter-cultural. They would not be taken seriously if they brought it up. They would be considered fundamentalists."Claire -- We're not considered counter-cultural to believe that God created the whole cosmos including all those billions and billions of stars that Carl Saga loved, and He made all the billions and billions of wonderful things found on this apparently special little Earth. And He made and maintains all the natural, physical laws we find here. Is it really unbelievable that He could re-create something He created before? That He could make a dead person enter into life once again? He has already shown that He can give life. Why is it hard to believe that He might give it back? What is there about that that is against reason? I realize that many people are thrown by this teaching, but I just have never found it to be one of the difficult ones. To me it's like thinking He can't do what He has already done. Why do so many people find it unacceptable? (I grant you that some other dogmas seem against unreasonable.)Or is there something about the very notion of dogma itself that is unbelievable?

Ann, it's the details. For the Creation, we don't know how it happened, the Bible story of Creation is purely symbolic, and the idea of God creating the cosmos is fairly abstract and vague enough that it has no trouble being compatible with physics. For the resurrection, we have accounts of the empty tomb, and of women and men who saw and touched a man who was Jesus resurrected. If you said that all that was symbolic, it would be relatively easy to understand it in a way that might be compatible with science. But if you trust those accounts basically as written, then you have the challenge of believing something plainly unbelievable.

IN A SMALL PARISH, THERE IS A LOT OF PRESSURE ON PRACTICING CATHOLICS TO BRING THEIR FALLEN-AWAY RELATIVES WITH THEM ON THESE SPECIFIC SUNDAYS. THERE IS ALWAYS A LOT OF NECK-CRANING TO SEE WHO SHOWS UP AFTER ALL THAT TIME. ON THE SURFACE LEVEL, FALLEN-AWAYS ARE GREETED WITH BIG HUGS, AND ARE GIVEN A TOUR OF THE CHURCH BUILDING SO THEY CAN SEE WHATS NEW.WHILE THATS HAPPENING, THE OLD GUARD CIRCULATE WHISPERED STORIES ABOUT WHY SO AND SO LEFT AND CHURN UP REASONS WHY THEY MIGHT BE BACK (THEYVE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH A DREAD DISEASE, THEIR KIDS WENT WRONG, THEYRE GOING THROUGH FINANCIAL HARD TIMES, THEIR SECOND MARRIAGE DIDNT WORK OUT).Jean, I laughed when I read this not because it is funny but because it is true. I think it behooves us to recognize that Catholic practice moves far beyond weekend Mass attendance. If Mass is not moving us in the direction of compassion for and generosity with others who are fallen away," then who is this Christ we are united with? Intrusive curiosity and snarky judgments are hardly the hallmark of a follower of Christ. I have come to appreciate the spiritual works of mercy as an approach to evangelization of any kind because they never cease to be challenging while always going in a good direction. Instruct the ignorant; counsel the doubtful; admonish sinners; bear wrongs patiently; forgive offences willingly; comfort the afflicted; pray for the living and the dead.

Claire -It seems to me that this objection is based on an assumption that the particular laws of science are the only set of laws that can possibly operate in this world, and this implies that no physical thing that we know can possibly behave otherwise than as the physicists tell us they must behave. But this assumption is not required by any a priori reason nor, the religious believer in miracles would say, neither is it guaranteed by any known empirical fact. In other words, "There is more in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy". Granted, physics *as such* does not allow us to go beyond physics, but physics isn't the whole story of what is possible, and, believers would say, physics is not the whole story of what is actual.

Bernard Lonergan's wonderful chapters on history in his Method in Theology refer to Carl Becker's view on pre-conceptions in the historian: "Miracles are excluded because they are contrary to the laws of nature that in his generation are regarded as established; but if scientists come to find a place for them in experience, there will be historians to restore them to history" (p. 222). Four pages later Lonergan has this: "... I may remark that the uniformity of nature is conceived differently at different times. In the nineteenth century natural laws were thought to express necessity, and Laplace's view on the possibility in theory of deducing the whole course of events from some given stage of the process was taken seriously. Now laws of the classical type are considered not necessary but just verified possibilities; they are generalized on the principle that similars are similarly understood; they are a basis for prediction or deduction, not by themselves, but only when combined into schemes of recurrence; such schemes function concretely, not absolutely, but only if other things are equal; and whether other things are equal, is a matter of statistical frequencies. Evidently, the scientific case against miracles has weakened" (p. 226)

Thanks Ann and Fr K. Yes, physics models our experience, but it also has dreams. It is always a great victory when an experiment confirms what had been imagined by theory. I suppose that a singular one-time extraordinary happening, as it falls outside the scope of experience, might also then fall outside the scope of models. But this is far from the topic of New Evangelization.

"Intrusive curiosity and snarky judgments are hardly the hallmark of a follower of Christ."Maybe not, but it's a hallmark of being human who lives in a town of less than 2,000 souls. Everybody knows everybody's biz and has an opinion about it. I think that poses special challenges for Christian charity. Maybe the Synod could talk about that.I prefer the corporeal acts of mercy. Jesus can have my hands and heart. My brain ... I'm not very good at obedience or deep thinking, and I'm afraid I'm becoming one of those awful generic Christians Claire and Fr. Komonchak are warning us about.

Thanks, JAK and Claire.Claire --It seems to me that this *is* something for re-evangelization to consider, at least it is if there are people who find resurrection to be a problem, and I think many do. Why do so many people think this? I suspect it's because they've been taught to think -- by scientists -- that matter and its laws are the only thing we have evidence for. There, I think, is the crux of the problem -- believers think there is evidence, for instance, of a spiritual strength called "grace", which is not matter in motion, and which is even predictable from the promises of Jesus. Consideration of the evidence of spirit has to be fundamental.

JAK --From what I"ve read physics is in bad shape at the moment. The dominant physical theories of the day are actually contradictory. Also, physicists are faced with having to abandon their preferred assumption that only one principle (the matter which they have already found) explains everything (a non-scientific premise, actually). They also have reason to think that the laws of nature are only probabilities, but to say that science is only probable removes it from the scope of science in the classic sense ("universal, necessary knowledge. . ."). And if science is really only contingent knowledge, then it is the same lowly kind of knowledge as (gasp!) religious belief. Given the great problems in the foundations of science, it seems to me that the time is ripe for dialogue between science and religion. This makes it a job for re-evangelization. Further, because the influence of the scientists -- and their current preferred philosophy, scientism -- is so thoroughly dominant in Western universities, and because the Western universities dominate the thinking outside of the universities, I think that the questions of the nature of science and of the existence and power of God should be strongly addressed within the re-evangelization effort. The Courts of the Gentiles have already established some contact with the seculars. If the minds of the typical scientists can be opened, then their former students (former college kids) would be likely to follow their lead . The heart of the matter is Hume. The influence of his empiricism, skepticism, theory of "truth", rejection of miracles, rejection of God, and emotive ethics must finally be dealt with in language the seculars can understand.

Jean --I don't know about your obedience, but don't give me that "I'm not capable of deep thinking". I know better, dear one.

Ann: You wrote: "They also have reason to think that the laws of nature are only probabilities, but to say that science is only probable removes it from the scope of science in the classic sense (universal, necessary knowledge. . .). And if science is really only contingent knowledge, then it is the same lowly kind of knowledge as (gasp!) religious belief."Well, of course, the contemporary sciences do not pursue the classical goal of science as "certain knowledge of things through their causes," but that's hardly news, is it? Contemporary sciences tries to understand what Lonergan calls "verified possibilities," that is, possibilities that need not have been realized but that, de facto, have been realized. These would be events that need not have happened (i.e., no necessity) but in fact have happened, contingently, but really.

Jean, I don't want to condemn! Not at all! Those are not "awful generic Christians"! See my 11:22am comment. You know what Paul says: "If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. [...] And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." It would not be befitting for me to condemn.As to those Christians, I am disturbed by their lack of testimony in words and, possibly, their lack of faith. Cdl Wuerl lumps that together with materialism, consumerism, individualism, etc., but I find it most disturbing when lack of [words of] Christian faith goes together with acts of Christian love. It ought not to be so.Pope Benedict wrote: "The Church's deepest nature is expressed in her three-fold responsibility: of proclaiming the word of God, celebrating the sacraments, and exercising the ministry of charity. These duties presuppose each other and are inseparable." What does he mean, "inseparable"? It's wishful thinking. I see those being separated all the time. It's disturbing, and it feels like it ought not to be, but...So, please understand that I am not "warning against generic Christians". I did not say "Woe to them" (sorry, Fr K.!). I really, really do not want to condemn. I only want to understand.

JAK --True, the scientists don't set out on an Aristotelian path to establish the four causes of phenomena, but they did pretty much retain the criterion of necessary knowledge that he established. (I don't doubt that if some of them had known it was an Aristotelian criterion they would have abandoned it.) It was Hume who showed so clearly that empirical knowledge is non-necessary, but that lesson took a couple of hundred year to really sink into the scientific community. They seem to have relied too much on their mathematical certitude as characterizing their findings as necessary. But with the the new findings they now realize very clearly that their conclusions are only probable. This is why scientist now realize (since Kuhn, anyway) that scientiic revolutions are always possible.None of this is a matter of stupidity on thier part. But scientists were not trained to question theri own epistemological assumptions. (I might add that the first philosopher to go down Kuhn's route was the Catholic physicist and historian of medieval science Pierre Duhem, who influenced both Kuhan and (!) Quine in this matter. He realized before all them that. as with the empirical experience described as contingent by Hume, so were the findings of scientific experimentation also contingent.

P. S. I don't think you'll find any philosophers of science these days who thinks that science is about "verified" possibilities. One of the axioms of the Duhem-Quine-Kuhn position is that there is an infinite set of possible explanations for any given phenomena, and because it is impossible to eliminate all but one of all those possibilities it follows that the so-called "verified" conclusions of science have not really been established/verified at all. And that is why the scientists have been reduced to tears. Lonergan was really quite naive about these things. Try William A. Wallace, O.P. instead.

Claire,I agree with Ann that the encounter between science and religion is important to the New Evangelization. The dreams of religion have drifted far from the dreams of science, and we need to bring them together to critique one another.Ann, I have to disagree with you on the relation of resurrection to science. Death is a reality emphasized in virtually every religion. It is the horizon from Genesis to Revelation, and science probably has just taken over this entrenched idea rather than being the source for it. Resurrection is an answer to the question of death, and disbelief in Resurrection has more to do with common experience than scientific skepticism.Still the comparison of scientific and religious views of death and resurrection are at the core of explaining faith to those who are raised with scientific rather than the classical worldviews that dominate Christian thought.

Jim, you're right, but it's above my head, so I'm just listening.

Ann: read the first five chapters of Insight and tell me that Lonergan was "naive" about science. And who are these tearful scientists? Not, I suspect, the winners of the Nobel prizes in the sciences that are being awarded these days. I don't think they're being given out for unverified accomplishments...

Claire, didn't mean to offend or misread your post. I wouldn't say my actions are in any way divorced from a sense of God and the tradition of the saints. But what God prompts me to do for love of Jesus does not include proclaiming the Word to anybody. I wouldn't have any idea how to go about this. What would I say? "I know Jesus loves you and wants to help you, so here I am to do my bit as a half-assed, reject Catholic." Boy, that would be a ringing endorsement for the faith.

I think the fight between faith and reason comes down to recognizing that the line between knowledge and mystery keeps moving, and we need to keep redrawing it in the right place. For the past couple of hundred years, science has expanded the boundaries of what we know, radically moving the line between knowledge and mystery. So much of what was once unknown (and often explained by faith) is now understood. As knowledge builds through time, we can expect that this will continue. Nevertheless, no matter how much knowledge expands, mystery still persists. The line between knowledge and mystery just moves. The strange core of unknowing at the heart of existence remains. Love still mystifies. The transcendent still awes. We celebrate the mysteries of faith precisely because as mysteries, they dont make sense; such celebration is a witness to the reality of mystery. The religious celebration of mystery also gives us a way to refresh reasons inputs: to continually renew the intellectual formulations we create about life using reason. Logic needs inputs; recognition, aided by faith, keeps those inputs fresh.

Jean: Surely is it pointless to "proclaim the Word" in indiscriminate ways. But, always being on the lookout for opportunities to communicate your faith in ways that might be heard - I'm sure that you do that, for your son for example. But none of the people I quoted early on, in those 2 minute public videos about their beliefs, made any mention of Christ's resurrection even though they were all Christians. You might ask: in that tough format, what could they have done? I saw one attempt this weekend to speak in a tough setting, a bishop who was visiting the parish and who preached on marriage: he started by apologetically acknowledging that it was a difficult reading, and that many in the congregation would probably disagree with what he was about to say. He reassured us by saying that, if so, it was no big deal. He added, I think with some slight anxiety, that he was going to try to give us his own perspective. He then proceeded to interpret the readings, staying close to the texts, occasionally stumbling a bit as he was clearly saying things in his own words. Humility and honesty: with those tools, he managed to stave off my allergic reactions to anti-abortion-anti-gay-marriage scripts. He didn't convince me, but he, how to say it, softened my heart... perhaps, with enough desire to "proclaim the Word", those people who were videotaped also could have found a way. I could imagine that in the right context your "ringing endorsement :) " might reach its target! As for myself, as long as my children are staying away from the church, evangelization is a top priority for me. It's on my mind all the time because of them. With little idea how to go about it, I mostly try to stay attuned to opportunities that might arise, like the unworthy servant of Luke 17... but once they are back in the fold, the sense of urgency will surely disappear.

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