3 Things Evangelization is Not

Millennial writer Mike Jordan Laskey writes:

Evangelization is not proselytism….

On the flip side, evangelization is a long-term process. It’s relationship-building, invitation, dialogue, truly caring about other people, and modeling Christian love through concrete actions. It’s living with a sort of deep joy and hospitality that make people say, “I don’t know what she has, but I want to be around her.”

Does evangelization include talking about Jesus? Sure, absolutely, but only in the context of trusting relationship.

Evangelization is not saying “God bless you” instead of “Bless you” when someone sneezes….

The troubling belief running underneath this complaint is that evangelization is some sort of anti-PC battle we have to fight….

The idea animating evangelical activity is that the life of faith is full of so much beauty, meaning, community, learning, grace and more that we can’t help but want to share that with others. We can’t let superficial social interactions in our pluralistic society preoccupy us.

Evangelization is not targeting people who are already committed to other traditions….

St. John Paul II talked about a “new evangelization,” one that seeks to engage Catholics who have drifted away or whose faith has become hollow and lifeless. That’s fertile ground for evangelization. And we can evangelize folks who aren’t committed to any faith community in particular, people who are seeking something more in their lives.

Jean Vanier, 1928-2019

Jean Vanier—the founder of L’Arche, a leading Catholic intellectual, and living saint—died this morning. Vanier’s profound Christian witness and commitment to replacing our throwaway culture with a culture of love, solidarity, and tenderness are the heart of his remarkable life and legacy. To learn more about his life, you can read the following:

His obituary in the Washington Post

His obituary in the New York Times

His obituary in The Tablet

This Reflection by John Allen

Jean Vanier, who changed lives of intellectually disabled, dies in Paris

Vanier on the Throwaway Culture vs. a Culture of Encounter and Relationship 

How Jean Vanier Learned What Love is All About

10 Rules for Life by Jean Vanier

His Appearance on On Being with Krista Tippett

Pope Francis’ Prayer Intentions for May 2019: For Unity in Diversity in Africa

“The ethnic, linguistic, and tribal divisions in Africa can be overcome promoting unity in diversity. I want to thank the religious sisters, priests, laity, and missionaries for their work to create dialogue and reconciliation among the various sectors of African society. Let us pray this month that the Church in Africa, through the commitment of its members, may be the seed of unity among her peoples and a sign of hope for this continent.”

Vanier on the Throwaway Culture vs. a Culture of Encounter and Relationship

Watch Jean Vanier explore the real nature of freedom, authenticity, solidarity, encounter, joy, and love. He addresses the throwaway culture, rooted in our obsession with individual success and power, and explains that we too often forget that we are part of one human family. And he discusses the importance of establishing a culture of encounter—getting close to people who have been rejected and breaking down the wall that separates the rich and the poor.

Fr. James Martin Interviews Mary Karr on Faith in Focus

Fr. James Martin, SJ interviews poet and memoirist Mary Karr on her conversion story, her vocation as a poet, and the role of Ignatian spirituality in her daily life. In addition, millennial Catholic Ashley McKinless—co-host of the podcast Jesuitical, which just recorded its 100th show—talks about Christus Vivit, Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation. You can read highlights of Christus Vivit here and here. Finally, British Robinson, president of the Barbara Bush Foundation, discusses the radical shift in her career and what motivated it.

CRS President: The Fear of Starvation Drives the Central American Exodus

Sean Callahan, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, writes:

Perhaps even more than the threat of gang violence, fear of starvation is motivating the current wave of migration to the U.S. southern border. The surge is coming largely from rural parts of Central America, especially Guatemala, where drought has killed the corn and beans people grow to eat. Their coffee bean harvest brought them the lowest prices in 12 years.

It’s critical to understand the specific root cause of this latest exodus from Central America. When we do, we can see how counterproductive the proposal is to cut off all foreign aid to the region. Without this relatively small bit of assistance, even more poor rural families will succumb to desperation, and will migrate north. They will do whatever it takes to survive. Hunger does that.

This past autumn, I visited with farmers in the dry corridor of Central America, so-called because prolonged droughts and subsequent flooding increasingly plague the region. In Guatemala, where lack of rain is at crisis levels, farmers showed me their maize and bean crops which had grown to four or five inches, then simply wilted and died. Most farms in this region went more than 40 days without rain during the last growing season….

For years, both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have understood foreign aid is a cost-effective and wise investment. In fact, Congress cast bipartisan votes twice to ensure assistance continues at a level that protects and saves lives, and reduces migration pressures. I urge Congress to stand fast again.

We are one humanity struggling with hostile forces both natural and financial. Let us extend our hearts and our aid to our neighbors in the Americas.