Editor’s note: Today, we welcome Chad Torgerson to the New Evangelizers blogging team!
Today’s job market is extremely competitive. Landing a job requires years of experience, excellent references, and, of course, some form of higher education. Unfortunately, this need for higher education has spilled over to the Church, where it seems we need a Masters Degree in Theology just to join.
As a convert to Catholicism, I was not new to Christianity; in fact, I considered myself a well-studied Christian – but I was in for a rude awakening. I had a lot of questions about Catholicism, and it became difficult, at times, to get straightforward answers.
The local Catholic bookstore was a great resource, but when I wanted to learn the basics about how a saint becomes a saint, I was overwhelmed by shelves and shelves of reading. Looking online for answers about transubstantiation led me to as many bad sources as good sources. Where to begin? There was so much to learn and understand!
Grabbing a few titles, my journey to Catholicism began. I am a pretty avid reader and able to read at a high level; however, what I was reading was pretty deep. Many of the titles I had chosen seemed like graduate-level theology, but I needed Catholicism 101.
Finally completing the RCIA process, I decided that I would do my best to share the faith in a way that anyone, regardless of their education level, could understand.
As evangelists, we will not win over souls by hitting them over the head with theological texts. Instead, we need to get better at teaching the basics of the faith in ways accessible for everyone. No one will believe in what they cannot understand.
Some Catholics fear the “dumbing down” of Catholicism. They are afraid of losing the richness and depth of Catholic theology for the sake of making it easier to understand, but no one is trying to dumb down Catholicism. We must realize, though, that we need to get better at teaching the basics of Catholicism before we teach the depth.
Growing up, it’s safe to say that most of us did not learn algebra, geometry, and calculus in kindergarten – we began with basic arithmetic. Before we could learn the quadratic formula, we had to learn that 2+2 =4. This same method should apply to our Catholic beliefs, as well. Before we learn about the depths of Marian doctrine, we need to learn about Mary, the Mother of God, who loves us with all of her heart.
Taking a page from the Evangelical Christian playbook, we need to reach people with the basic beauties of our faith. Evangelicals have found great success in a simple, easy-to-understand message, and we need to find a way to package Catholicism similarly. Then, once we have won over souls for Christ, we can begin to help develop and form that knowledge into a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith.
When you share your faith, begin with the basics. Whether it is to a Protestant seeking answers about the Catholic faith, or someone searching for Christ for the very first time, teach them the beauties of Catholicism in a way they can understand. At times like these, people are seeking answers. Let’s show them the path to Catholicism: no experience necessary.
Copyright © 2012, Chad R. Torgerson