Friday, August 20, 2010

Ask A Catholic A Question & Houston Chronicle Blog

I talked to the producer of Houston Belief, a website about faith in Houston, while giving a talk earlier this month. She now has a column up about Catholics, evangelization, and Ask A Catholic A Question.

'Ask a Catholic a Question'

Marcel LeJeune, a lay Catholic leader, urged hundreds of young Catholics to fulfill their role as evangelists when he spoke at a church in West U earlier this month.
It's a topic that can be particularly intimidating for those who are used to keeping religion talk out of polite conversation and who fear that discussing their Catholicism will just stir up negativity and criticism of the church.
LeJeune, who directs the Catholic campus ministry at Texas A&M, told the crowd:
You know that conversation comes up at work.
"We need to fire the pope! We need to impeach him!"
Do we have the gall to stand up and say "Well, that's not how the church works...?"
It's a universal call to be an evangelist. There's no way to get out of this.
But sitting down and sharing faith may not be as easy for them as praying the rosary. One by one, they stepped to the mic and asked questions: How do we approach these conversations with people of different faiths? What should we do if we are being evangelized to by Protestants? Should we really be doing this at work? And what if I'm not confident enough in my own faith to go out and say these things?
Pope Benedict's approval ratings have dropped to the lowest level in his papacy. The church gets widespread criticism for not ordaining women, its stance on issues like abortion and contraception and of course, the priest abuse scandal. These things can be hard to talk about with anyone, particularly the growing number who have taken a decisive stance against the Catholic Church.
Although LeJeune teaches that not everyone has to become a door-to-door Bible guy or street-corner preacher to share the Good News, at A&M they take somewhat of an open-air evangelism approach, setting up tables and inviting students to ask a Catholic a question. This way they get the chance to clarify misconceptions about the church or lament together about the things the church isn't doing right.
It's just that simple. Ask a Catholic a question. The group made T-shirts that say, "I'm Catholic, Ask me a question."
Well there's a good idea: Instead of getting defensive when others don't understand and criticize your religion, give them an opportunity to learn. Complaining or shouting back cuts short any chance you had to change their mind or share the Gospel message.
If you want to know more about Ask A Catholic A Question, you can go here.

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