I’ve always wanted to put into words how to properly evangelize, but there were two things holding me back: 1) I didn’t know how to do it; 2) I wasn’t listening to people who did.
I always knew there was something about people I knew riding high on their TruthHorses that I hated, but the closest I could come to expressing this personal distaste was saying something like, “We need to stick to the truth, sure, but we need to make it look attractive at the same time or no one is going to listen.”
But I knew that wasn’t really an adequate way of putting it.
Then I heard others talk about how all we needed to do was live Christian lives. I knew that “witnessing” to the truth was what was most important (you know, walking the walk, practice what you preach, etc.), but that never seemed to encompass Christ’s command to “go into all the world and proclaim the good news” (Mark 15:16) either.
I’ve been learning more and more about how to do it right as I see virtuous people spreading the faith successfully, but I still didn’t know how to put into words what exactly it was they were doing. Then I read a little snippet a friend shared the other day that summed it up beautifully. Thought I’d share it here.
The best evangelical strategy is one that moves from the beautiful to the good, and finally, to the true.
The pattern is more or less as follows: first the beautiful (how wonderful!), then the good (I want to participate!), and finally, the true (now I understand!). A young man watches a skillfully played game of baseball, and it awakens in him a profound desire to play as well as those whom he admired; and then the actual playing of the game teaches him, from the inside, the rules and rhythms of baseball. A completely inadequate way of drawing a kid into the world of baseball would be to start with a clarification of the rules or with a set of drills. Rather, show him the beauty of baseball, and he will want to play, and having played, he will know.
-Fr. Robert Barron
Really accurate and succinct way to put it. Witness and preaching; action and word. Both together, but, whenever possible, in that order. Beauty, then truth.
So we all better get down to business sharing the beauty of the Church. Come back soon for a post on sharing the beauty!