How do you minister to non-religious people in a secular world?
#1
I'm struggling with this issue as I grow in knowledge of my Catholic faith and practice. My enthusiasm for my Catholic faith is causing me embarrassment.  Social media has connected me to people I grew up with but haven't seen in years. I have conversations with school classmates who were raised in the 1960s, some of which had Jewish or Christian parents, I keep forgetting that many of them have rejected whatever biblical principles they were raised with. So when they pose a question asking for help in dealing with a social or personal problem, my response tends to reflect a God-centered, biblical point of view.  In social situations, this gives others the impression that I'm a social pariah, out of touch with the rest of the world. I realize I haven't helped them at all. This frustrates me.

Here's an example. Classmate #1 admits she doesn't know what forgiveness is or how to forgive, but thinks it is a necessary skill she should have and can't fathom how others can forgive unimaginable mistakes.  She says she's not ready to take on the world, just practice it on a small scale.  I knew she had Greek Orthodox parents. I responded:  if you still have a bible in your house, it's worth looking through it because some of those passages will speak to you--and I gave an a example or two.  She ignored my post.  Classmate #2, a secular optimist, pops up with a cheerful altruistic quote: "Forgiveness frees you from the prison you build around yourself."  Now classmate #1 responds affirmatively to that. Suddenly, the thread takes a different spin, with classmate #1 concluding: "Yeah, I must learn not to be so hard on myself. I got too tired to finish jogging, and I should forgive myself for it. I need a lesson in chilling out, and jogging will help me learn to do it.. I get deep thoughts I get when I'm exercising..."

Realizing my gaffe, I erased my earlier post and re-posted a link to a common-sense, non-religious website that gives steps in how to approach others before asking forgiveness, how to apologize, and how to forgive and forget.  I wish I had done this in the first place and not made myself look like a social moron. I failed. Honestly, I think I need to quit evangelizing and just approach others from a helpful non-religious point of view because that's where most people are at. It's probably best to reserve religious discussions for people I know are religious. Am I on the right track here?
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#2
I don't think answering in always in a non-religious way is to go. I think you need to gauge people in figuring how to approach them about the faith. Obviously you don't want them to think you're a nut otherwise you won't be able to accomplish anything. But there is nothing wrong with the post you made. People aren't always going to go for the bait.
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#3
Just be honest and sincere. I see no need to adjust yourself. You can skillfully adjust the delivery of your message for the listener, but just be honest. Answer the question in the best way you know how, and if people can't take that, then that is their problem -- as long as you aren't a bull in a china shop. People who have been in a dark cell for years will find the light of the sun too much, and hurtful. Just help them slowly to stay in the life-giving sunlight, and through your helpful statements little by little to have them see the sun for what it is. Some of these people may still be in the cell, and they are fighting you saying, I don't want the sun, I love my cell. These people may never be able to be helped. Most of all be sincere and honest. Don't be shy with your Faith, but also be wise with your words, so they are well placed for each person.
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