It’s been nearly eight months since I started up this new blog on WordPress. During that time, I’ve written about sixty posts. It’s hard to know what will catch people’s attention, and because I get very few comments, I’m not always sure what speaks to people and what doesn’t. But one of the most interesting things that has happened is with regard to a post I wrote rather early on, last September, called “Which Team Are You On?” (click to have a look). It was a post put up rather hastily, based on a homily that I’d preached that day, in which I used talk of “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob” as a means of illustrating a point about that day’s readings. To date, it’s the most read post on my blog, with visits to that page nearly every day! I don’t know if the people that end up there leave disappointed, but it’s got me thinking about something I already think a lot about–how to get the message of Jesus out to people who wouldn’t normally hear it, or be receptive to it. I’m willing to get on the Team Edward or Team Jacob bandwagon, if that’s what it takes!
This has got me thinking that somehow engaging “trending” topics on Christian blogs might be a more effective means of evangelization than a lot of the myopic infighting which takes place via many blogs. Sure, many of those blogs get lots of hits, but mainly those are from people who want to get into the fight! And perhaps we should be thankful that those who don’t normally hear the message of Jesus don’t end up there, because they might get a poor representation of what the message of Jesus is really about. But I digress . . .
I’m starting to think about how such a discovery might lead to a more effective strategy for reaching, for want of a better word, the “unchurched.” What other topics might garner such traffic from a more “non-religious” crowd? Stay tuned, as soon I might try out some different strategies, to see how they pan out (sifting for gold!). And I know I said I don’t get many comments, but I would welcome comments, e-mails or feedback from anyone who knows of such strategies that are working, or may have some ideas about what might work.
I’m becoming increasingly convinced that the future of the Church lies in evangelization, which will require us to go in new and creative directions (and perhaps some arm-twisting for us often reticent Catholics), so that we can be sure we’re not just preaching to the choir, but also to those who belong to other “teams.”
“I’m becoming increasingly convinced that the future of the Church lies in evangelization,…”
I stumbled onto your blog tonight (this morning – whatever) and must say I enjoy your incites and turns of phrase. Being a product of Diocesan priest-teachers rather than Jesuit I can’t necessarily relate to your laments about various misrepresentations of your order.
Back to the quote from your post on 6 April: I guess my initial response is “how ironic!” In the Creed at Mass pray that “…we belive in one, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church…” The irony to me is that so many of us (I am as guilty as anyone) lose sight of the fact that Evangelization is not so much the Church’s future but its nature.
I lack the formal education and the rhetorical skill to go around “preaching” at/to a priest, let alone a professorial one like you. (btw one of my dearest Priest/friends just finish a stint at the North American College in Rome and came to my parish after a similar assignment at the Seminary in Emmitsberg MD) In fact that little incongruity in your blog has spurred me to reflect on how I can better evangelize both the churched and unchurch in my life. How am I imaging Christ with my wife? (pretty crappy of late), our two young girls? my teenaged daughter? the (much) younger men I play b-ball with? etc. As the old hymn charges me, Do they know I’m a Christian by my Love?
In closing I recall a quote from that great non-Jesuit, St Francis of Assisi “preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.”