Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Reintroducing Logic and Reason to the Age of Sentimentalism

Proselytize

All of the posts under the "Proselytize" category.

Pokemon Go and Evangelization

Pokemon Go! is currently sweeping the United States and soon, the world. If you don’t know much about this game, I’ll fill you in.

pokemon go

Pokemon Go! is a GPS location-based game, meaning that you download the app to your phone, turn on your GPS, and walk around until a Pokemon pops up on your screen. Many are playing this game and are congregating at important landmarks called “Pokestops.” These Pokestops can be found in parks, cemeteries, statues, famous or odd landmarks and most importantly, churches. Pokestops are also not one time events either, but rather they are constant, meaning that if your church or chapel is already a Pokestop, it will continue to be so.

I know a bit about this because Pokemon Go is built off of another game made by Google called “Ingress,” in which you capture and defend these same landmarks from competing players on the opposite team. In Ingress, players on either the Blue or Green team go around and capture portals and try to defend them from the opposing team, making them stronger by linking them to other portals of the same color. Over the course of three years, Ingress players have submitted hundreds of thousands of landmarks to Ingress to add them as portals within the game.

Ingress, while prevalent in many urban areas and even suburban areas, never took off to achieve the same popularity that Pokemon Go has achieved in as little as 12 days. Everyone of all ages seems to be playing it. In fact, just going around town on my bike the other night, I must have bumped into at least two dozen people playing it, and I admit, I was too.

Is it a silly game? Yes. But it is an interesting concept, especially to those of us who played Pokemon as kids. I know I wanted to be a “real life Pokemon trainer” and go around and catch Pokemon, and now I can. It’s also amazing to see how many of my co-workers are playing and has encouraged us to spend time away from our desks for some good old fashioned camaraderie.

But going back to Pokestops, I think that we have to admit that Catholics have been given an opportunity that we haven’t had before. People are coming back to churches. No, not to pray, but to play. They stop outside the Church to visit the Pokestop and get some gear to continue playing the game. These Pokestops have a 5-minute window where the player must wait before activating it again. We need to realize that while yes, from all outside perspective we are dealing with something rather silly, but at the same time, people are no longer afraid to step near a church anymore. So what are we going to do about it?

We need to consider approaching these kids, teens, young or older adults and invite them into the Church. Protestants will take advantage of this game and invite these players to their church for worship or prayer or what have you. Heck, they may even play with them! But what are we going to do? Are we going to give them glares and tell them to get off of Church property (mind you they don’t have to be on the property, just within the 30-yard range) or are we going to give them something to fill that void? Are we going to bring them closer to Jesus Christ in the Eucharist and help guide them into the Catholic Church (or back to the Church for those who have left)?

There is a very real possibility that this might be our only chance to approach them and teach them about Jesus and salvation on our steps. I can tell you that I have already seen three teenagers outside of my local Catholic Church playing. I was running late for confession, so I did not stop to chat with them, and they had left by the time I had confessed, but they sat on the steps of the Church. We shouldn’t be afraid of messing up evangelization either, as we can at the very least strike up a friendly conversation with them. Invite them to come in and pray. Invite them to Mass. Offer to show them what Catholics believe and why. Each and every person is different, and thus there is no “right” way, as what may work to bring one person into the Church might not work on another. And Jesus never said that we had to convert them, but to plant the seed.

This game has made people far more comfortable with the churches than ever before, and we better get the most out of it, because Jesus wanted us to become fishers of men, and He wants to catch them all.

Image courtesy of Catholic Memes

Image courtesy of Catholic Memes

Kill Them With Kindness

Its a phrase that you’ve probably heard once or twice. Maybe even more than that. I’ve found this phrase to be pretty popular among the pro-life movement, though lately it appears to be gaining some traction among the neo-Catholic movement as well.

Preborn-Baby-18-Weeks

But, when you think of it, does it work? Oh, sure, it works from time to time, but it isn’t at all a reliable evangelization strategy. Why?

Because kindness will never, ever get a person to completely change their mentality of life and join your side. And even if they do, because this person is simply joining due to kindness, what is to prevent them from leaving once that kindness has dried up? How about once someone with a differing ideal is kind to them?

It doesn’t make logical sense, because it is rooted in emotionalism. Emotions, as we know from our Catholic faith are good. The problem with emotions though, is that they get in the way of logic and reason from time to time. Emotions can be shallow and look out only for the good of the person at that moment.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being kind to someone. But this isn’t to stop us from correcting them when they are incorrect in their belief. An abortionist is murdering a baby in the womb. Last I checked, we don’t take murderers or rapists and “kill them with kindness” in hopes that they might one day stop their evil ways. We arrest them, try them and lock them away so that they can amend their lives.

It is a ridiculous concept to me that we should allow a sinner to continually sin and just “kill them with kindness”. Jesus did not always do that and for good reason. It doesn’t always work. There are times when He was kind to those who came to Him, but He always reprimanded them and offered correction. It was then up to the sinner to change their lives and be converted or to continue their wicked ways.

Lest we forget, once in awhile Jesus flipped tables and whipped people.

Flipping Tables

 

Reprimanding the sinner is a spiritual act of mercy. This is regardless of whether we look at the pro-life movement or just proselytizing our fellow neighbor. “Killing with kindness” does not correct the individual, nor explain to them why they are wrong.

If you want to “kill them with kindness”, I suggest waiting until they are at least interested in hearing what you have to say. Then kill them all you want.

Proselytism Vs Evangelization

We’ve heard Proselytism is “solemn non-sense”. We have also been told to go out and promote the New Evangelization. We are told we are to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to evangelize our brothers and sisters, both within the Catholic faith and without, but, when we do preach the faith, strongly and firmly, we are told we might offend others and we should choose our words wiser. We can’t be “touting our faith as better”. So, what is going on here? First, I want to explain the difference between Proselytism and Evangelization.

Canyon_of_the_Little_Christians

Let’s define the terms.

Proselytize: to try to persuade people to join a religion, cause, or group.

Evangelize: to try to convert (a group or area) to a different religion (especially Christianity).

What is the difference? Absolutely nothing. Both have the same definition, really. Proselytizing is the same as Evangelizing. I don’t care if proselytizing has “taken on a negative connotation” these days. Instead of trying to appear hip and cool with the rest of the world, we teach the rest of the world what a word actually means, you know, kind of like we are attempting to do with marriage. Marriage has taken on a negative connotation these days, maybe we should forego this word?

Both these words attempt to persuade/convert to a different religion, and in this case, that religion is Catholicism, the religion Jesus Christ started (but don’t tell anyone, it might offend them).

This is something you can trace back from a secular (historical) view. Protestantism started with Martin Luther, formally breaking with the Catholic Church, and starting his own church. From there, others broke from Martin Luther and founded their own church. Kind of get the picture? Proselytism and evangelization are in essence, the same. exact. thing. Both attempt the same, to bring the person to your faith, with the intent they convert.

Really, there is no point to evangelize if the intent is the person stay where they are. Faith requires conversion, even if you are already a part of that faith. We need to continually convert because we are not perfect.

I say, go forth and proselytize while you evangelize. And if the New Evangelization leaves out proselytizing, the actual intent of bringing said person into the Catholic faith, then count me out. I’ll stick with the Old Evangelization.

Jeff November 5, 2013 3 Comments Permalink

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