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Feast of Christ The King-November 25,2018

A little more than a month ago, there was an opinion piece that was published in the New York Times entitled “It’s Getting Harder to Talk About God.”  The piece was authored by Jonathan Merrit, and he started out by observing that more than 70% of Americans self-identify as Christian. He went on to point out that despite the large numbers of the population who assert that they are followers of Jesus Christ, only 7% of them talk about spiritual matters with any regularity. Digging a little deeper into the research, Merrit found that a paltry 13% of regular church-goers had a spiritual conversation about once a week.

When I reflected on this myself, I was pretty shocked, to be honest… but then again, not really.  I consider myself to be in a position in which I regularly find myself having conversations about faith, God, Jesus, baptism, discipleship, etc.  However, I confess that when I step outside of Church circles, I could probably count on the fingers of one hand how many spiritual conversations I’ve had with people in the past year.

I guess not talking about our faith or our spirituality has become the thing, now.  Outside of very careful and particular relationships, people rarely talk about God or religion.  Many people avoid it because they either don’t want to be offended, or they don’t want to give offence.  It seems that when spiritual conversation is engaged, there comes an inevitable tension. Sometimes the tension spills over into an argument if people have felt hurt  or wounded in religion.  Then there’s always the chance that you could find yourself in a conversation with someone who insists on pushing their own agenda, or of exercising moral judgment, and who is ill-equipped to simply be involved in a conversation.  Whatever the reason for not having spiritual conversations might be, and there are many, I’m certain, the reality is that such conversation is in decline.

It seems to me that when we fail to be able to even have a conversation about God and how we navigate that relationship we have with God in the course of life, then the conversations of people of faith is necessarily impoverished.  How can I speak of being blessed?  How can I speak of gratitude?  How can I speak of grace?  How do I celebrate new life coming to the family?  How do I speak of the grief of losing a loved one?  How do I share the simple gift of daily joy and laughter? How do I speak with any sense of meaningfulness or import about the course of my life?

And if I can’t speak of the goodness and faithfulness of God, if I can’t acknowledge the difference Jesus makes to me in my life, then what significance can this Sunday’s Feast of Christ the King possibly have for me?

We’ve just finished celebrating the wonderful national holiday of Thanksgiving.  It seems to me that if we were able to being to give voice to that for which we are grateful in life, we might begin to develop a real language for speaking about God and our relationship with God.  I say this because the appropriate human response to God is gratitude - gratitude for every grace and blessing that is ours at the divine hand of goodness.  Developing the habit of naming that for which we are most grateful in life, and sharing that gratitude with others, could well bring us to a place where might grow to be a little more comfortable sharing with others those things that are most significant in our lives.  And surely, when people who are of faith begin to share with one another - and with others - that which is most significant in their lives, will they not end up sharing something of their faith and their experience of God, even if it doesn’t involve “God-talk,” as such?

 

Comments

  • Erlinda Remollino

    Hi Fr. David, I agree with you on the above issue. I felt the same thing too, but hoping for a change. Sometime last year, I brought my 17 year old niece to her cousin in Valencia. On the way, as I was driving, she asked if she could change the station I was listening to. I said go ahead and I noticed she changed it to an AM frequency. I heard some gospel music and some commentaries which I really did not understand as I was focused on my driving. After I dropped her off, I changed back the station to FM frequency but noticed she had it on 930AM. Several months ago, while reading our church bulletin, I saw the ad for Relevant Radio and noticed it says 930 AM. I got curious and tuned in to that station. I was immediately impressed with everything I heard and have changed not only my car radio station but at home as well. Patrick Madrid show in the morning really amazed me and I have learned a lot of our religion from the question and answer I have heard. So, I told my husband about it and he started listening to it as well. We discussed the issues all the time and we both love it. I mentioned it to my sister in law and my aunt, then to my sister and now we all speak and discuss various issues relating to our faith by listening to Relevant Radio. My point is, so much issue are out there in social network, yet we only have this one radio station that we, Catholics could listen to. The 70% of Christians don't have much to talk about God and the goodness of God because their ears only hear and their eyes only see, what is in the social network which occupies their mind from morning to evening. Maybe if there is more Catholic presence in social media, things will be better. Just a thought.