Tuesday, May 12, 2009

David vs. Goliath

The New Yorker (I'm not a regular reader, but saw it linked at Uniwatch, and I wonder why I never get anything done...) has an interesting (and long, 8 pages) article on David vs. Goliath, as applied to life.

In the article, the question is posed: do we 'fight' on Goliath's terms, or David's?

When David ran forward to challenge Goliath, the terms of the battle changed; and as such, David took a distinct advantage, which helped bring about his victory.

As I read it, I'm thinking about many things: vocationally related, we're trying to attract vocations on the terms of the culture, not on the terms of the Church. When we do so, questions such as celibacy and permanence of ordination arise, because they are terms set by the culture, for better or worse.

When we talk about doctrine in the Church, there is a constant struggle over whether or not it is popular/popularist. But Church doctrine is TRUE, not a matter of popularist opinion.

So, how do we 'take the fight' to the Culture on our terms? I'm thinking outloud here, and really interested in furthering the discussion.

How can we be David versus the Goliath who rules today?


Adoro said...

I think we really need to focus on what's important. The Church as become too "ad extra", to borrow a V2 term, wheras we really need to focus on what's really important...God. We have to do it in our liturgies, we have to stop trying to get people involve through "doing stuff" and work harder at making Christ the focus. Everything else flows from that.

Just read something earlier today about the fact that parishes aren't focusing on the sacraments anymore, but activities. No wonder there aren't more vocations; only God can draw them, and no one is paying attention to God.

We have to stop trying to "engage the culture" and actually LIVE our own. People will be attracted to that, whether they realize it or not. The Church has ALWAYS been a sign of contradiction in the world; when did we stop trusting her?

Fr. Bud Pelletier said...

I can second Adoro's comments, and her blog post about seeking God. It has caused me to think, and think hard about the fact that sometimes we're too focused on the numbers. How many do this or that and especially how big is the collection.

If we try to be like the prevailing culture, we'll get beaten every time. If we try to be entertainment, movies and TV do it better.

We do have a home field advantage, but we've allowed others to tell us we're boring and uncool. And we've bought into it.

Adoro said...

Thanks, Father. I actually attended a talk (given by a priest, actually) last fall. It was on the numbers issue, and the need to start ignoring the numbers.

He gave an example: they were putting on an event, had a band, etc., promoted it, invested TONS of time and money in this thing, and they had a speaker come who had decided to have a child even though the dr's told her that the baby had a certain genetic defect. She had the baby, didn't regret it one bit.

Well...20 people came to this event. They were floored.

BUT! At the end, this priest who was telling the story said that the speaker was surrounded by people, and he didn't want to get involved, but wanted to step in if it was a heated discussion. Another person clued him in to what was going on:

A young woman had been debating whether to have an abortion. She also found out her baby had this certain genetic defect, and she was being PRESSURED by have an abortion. She happened on the band's website, that had a link to this other woman's story. She read it and decided to go through with the pregnancy. Then she learned the woman was coming to speak at this particular event.

So she went, and she was able to meet up with the speaker, and thank her for helping her to decide to have her baby, who, I think by that time was a few months old.

And that's when this priest, who HAD been worried about numbers realized that it wasn't about the numbers, but that one single person who needed to be there that night. He thought it was ALL worth it because of her and her alone. (Although obviously the other 19 people also benefited greatly!)

It's definitely not about the numbers.

Adoro said...

gosh, that story STILL makes me cry!