5 Easy Steps to an Epic Fail as an Evangelist – Part 1

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Maybe you’re one of those Catholics who doesn’t give a prickly pear about the salvation of souls, but I care deeply about evangelization. We’re not Jehovah’s Witnesses, after all; there’s no maximum number of souls that can enter heaven. It’s our divine mandate to preach the Gospel and “baptize all nations”. Unfortunately, it’s not unusual these days to witness gross insensitivity on the inter-webs, the sort that leads people away from, rather than into, the arms of the Church. Here are a few simple points of advice on how to avoid losing converts and alienating people when you evangelize. (Make sure you read to the end 🙂

 

Correct Those Who Misbehave

Few words are as unwelcome as the words of correction. Who wants to be corrected, right? So what if someone is acting inappropriately? Did Jesus chastise the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the adulterous woman, or the woman at the well? Nope! And what happened with all those Pharisees and Sadducees that Jesus rebuked? I don’t recall the Gospels recording a positive response. I mean, what do people think correction is, a spiritual work of mercy or somethin’?!

 

Repeat the Church’s Teachings

Come on now…Why would you do this? What do you hope to accomplish by telling people that Mary was a perpetual virgin, or that she was preserved from the stain of original sin from the moment of her conception? Who needs to hear that? And who needs to know that man has the free choice to participate in the sanctifying grace of God? Do people really need to understand why both natural law and divine revelation indicate that contraceptive acts are intrinsically disordered? Think of the millions of people who might be in a pew on Sunday if only they never had to hear these things.

 

Exhort People to Seek Help

Who doesn’t need help? I need help. Everyone of my friends need help. People know they need help; the last thing they need is to be told they need help. Tell a guy he needs to get help and all he hears is you standing there judging him. That’s not what you want, right? That’s not an effective way to recruit disciples, right? Oh, and that’s not to mention the arrogance. How do you know who needs help, or what kind of help they need, or to whom they should go? Have you been graced with some special book about human salvation?

 

Pray for the Salvation of Evil Men

Speaking of salvation, why do so many people insist upon praying for the salvation of despicable people? Is it even possible these days to spend 5 minutes on social media without coming across a pro-life crusader asking people to pray for the conversion of Donald Trump or Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards or another such figure? Do you really believe that the tens of thousands of people who see that think you’re being kind? All those would-be converts see a holier-than-thou Christian trying to impose their values and beliefs. They see you standing in judgement of people who are trying to do the best they can and abide by their own consciences. Is that so bad? They merely want salvation on their own terms.

 

Write Facetious Lists

Really now, this might be the worst of it! Have you seen these sites that like to use “listicles” to grab your attention, and then they serve up a heaping pile of tongue-in-cheek lines that are easily mistaken for serious criticism? Do you realize the harm they do? Even Christians read these articles and erroneously conclude that the authors are spending their time at Mass judging the hearts of their fellow congregants just because of errant genuflections and hand gestures. These kinds of articles makes all Catholics look bad in the public eye and lead to comments such as, “I don’t want to go to church, it’s full of a bunch of hypocrites”. It may well be that they have driven hundreds away from the Church with just a single article.

PS — It’d go a long way if those list-writers would just explicitly indicate that they were being sarcastic or facetious. Is that really too much to ask?

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