Hello! Well, I’ve missed you all. This is weird now because I’m writing for an audience that is mainly (but not entirely) in NE which is no longer where I reside. It’s very strange.
It’s also very strange, and a little terrifying, that my new team here in Pittsburgh read my blog before they knew me. So, I’ve officially made it big. So hopefully they will still tolerate me while I write about all things PA and Carnegie Mellon.
My first week in town we had a dinner party because this is the East Coast (I know a lot of people will say that Pittsburgh is not the East Coast but I ask you, is it farther East than Ohio? Then, in my mind, it’s the East Coast). It was a really great opportunity for me to meet the women of the Newman Center and impress them with how outrageously large our apartment is (no sarcasm, it’s huge) and for me to do some cooking and demonstrate how grown up I am. But honestly it was a great experience and it was a lot of fun!
So there was a student there and as we all were conversing she told us that she was Hindu and, being unfamiliar with all things Hindu, I asked if she would be willing to share a little bit about her faith. She told us about the religious texts of Hindus, the temples they have, how there is a famous one in Pittsburgh, how they have religious individuals that they also call priest, etc. Okay, so keep this story in your mind.
Later in the week, my team was sitting in the UC at CMU (acronyms abound here) and were handing out free cookies for students who were willing to answer opinion based questions (What’s you favorite hobby? Which one book would you recommend to someone? Who is your biggest inspiration?). One student asked me what I believed and I told her, I believe in the Bible, the Catholic Church, apostolic succession, etc.
We chatted for awhile and then she took her free cookie and left. I then realized that no where in our conversation had I mentioned Jesus or a relationship with Him. So, that’s terrible. Going back to our dinner party, I have no idea what kind of relationship Hindus have with their higher powers.
Of course the Bible, the Church, the hierarchy, the Tradition are all very important things in the Catholic faith, but ultimately without Christ none of it matters. So why are we so quick to leave Him out of this? It’s not because the other topics are “easier” or less controversial. I think it’s because there is an element of scandal in the name of Jesus. He was radical in what he preached (praught?) and how He lived His life and He calls us to imitate Him. Most of us are really terrible at it, so maybe it’s easier to leave Him out of it?
Here’s a verse that has been very much on my heart lately:
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 1 Cor 1:17
As missionaries, we talk a lot about how winning arguments might seem important, but how rarely (if ever) do people convert because they lost an argument. People see joy, hope, love, community, peace, truth within the faith and desire a relationship with Christ.
Truth and love! It always seems to come back to that.
Reason is a wonderful tool, but it is a weak force for deep change in human beings. Faith, hope, and love are not tools; they are virtues, powerful and exceedingly difficult to embody, and much more efficacious than reason for changing lives. “Forming Intentional Disciples” by Sherry Weddell
New goal: bring up Jesus more, not just things about Jesus, but His actual name.