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Countering “Spiritual, not Religious” - 2021-09-19
September 28, 2021
[Countering “Spiritual, not Religious”] Foot traffic was light, but that gave us opportunity for several extended conversations. So thank you again for your prayers for the Boise Catholic street evangelization effort.
As we were setting up the table, two men in their 20s asked what we were doing. “Sage” and “Hunter” were interested in religion though Hunter was agnostic and Sage was “spiritual, not religious.” Sage believed “religions form a barrier to God” because, he said, they were merely manmade. He believed his own pantheism was the real thing. When e. Chuck gently pointed out that his own professed belief was manmade, he broke off from our conversation and went over to talk to “John”, the parking lot attendant, who had been listening in and making occasional wry comments. Hunter, though, then kept e. Chuck engaged with lots of questions. He was shocked to learn of the Incarnation, had never heard of the Triune God, and could not wrap his mind around the reality that God was not just another part of the universe. When he admitted that he was “a little drunk”, it explained his difficulty holding onto any single thought. We don’t know what John and Sage were talking about but, as you will hear, it seems their conversation emboldened John to later share his own “spiritual but not religious” beliefs. Both young men chose a Rosary. We also gave Hunter an “Existence of God” pamphlet and Sage a “Good News”/kerygma pamphlet . We told them we are there each Sunday, and invited them to come back and talk anytime. Please keep these young men in your prayers.
After Sage and Hunter left, “John” drove his motorized chair around to face e. Chuck and express his belief that all the world’s religions point to the same goal and simply represent different paths to heaven, and any disagreement between religions just discourages others from seeking God. He even told us a lengthy allegorical story that he’d made up to illustrate his beliefs . E. Chuck countered John’s assertions by sharing his own allegorical story: Imagine a family in which the parents taught each child separately how to do the dishes. The first was taught to load the dishes in the dishwasher unrinsed, and heaped randomly. Another was told to pre-rinse and load them precisely. Yet another was told to avoid the dishwasher and wash everything by hand. And the last child was told to simply let the dog lick everything clean. But each child was also privately instructed that their way was the ONLY right way, and there would be dire consequences if they tried to wash dishes any other way. Now, when all four kids are sent to clean up after a large meal, imagine the fight that happens. But the conflict is not their fault. The blame lies with the parents who, displaying no love at all, merely used the children for their own amusement. One may claim that all four ways lead to the same thing, clean dishes, just by different paths. Yet, the existence of different paths reveals unloving, cruel parents who are not the least interested in family unity. Such is the god of the “all religions are the same” school of thought: an evil trickster god whose creation is merely a plaything. This is not the God of Christianity, Who is a loving parent, Who entrusted to His children a single and glorious path to Himself, Who sealed His promise with the sacrifice of His own Son, and Who shares His very Spirit with us. All other claims of another way to God do not find their source in Him. May John know he has a loving Father who wants to draw him into the unity of His family, the Church.
A very heavy-set woman in a wheelchair asked for help with her homeless situation. E. Lucy referred her to SVdP, described how their process works, and encouraged her to be patient for the day or two it would take for them to begin helping her. She wondered where a warm place was to hang out during the daytime, when shelters are closed. The evangelist showed her a map of area parishes and encouraged her to go to the cathedral a few blocks away, since its doors are open on Sunday. She declined receiving a Rosary.
A man stopped for a Rosary. Perhaps he did so simply out of charity, since several whole groups of people in front of him had all told e. Lucy no. He said he was familiar with the Rosary, so she encouraged him to pray it daily.
A man pushing a toddler in a stroller told us he had gotten a Rosary from us previously. When e. Lucy asked if he had learned to pray it yet, he said no. So, she encouraged him to find a video on the internet and follow along, in order to get the rhythm of it. He said he would.
As we were all leaving, “John” came back by, and told e. Chuck he couldn’t quite believe there could possibly be “a Truth with a Big T”. But when e. Chuck pointed out the logical fallacy of categorically saying, “there’s only truths with a small t”, he danced around the issue. His belief is based on feelings. E. Chuck encouraged him to bring it up next week.
The weather was gray and mostly overcast, although it stopped drizzling during our session. (Thank You, God!) Predictably for Boise, then, foot traffic was very light.
Still, we gave away 10-12 Rosaries and its pamphlet, 1 Good News/kerygma pamphlet, and 1 Existence of God pamphlet.
Please pray for us again today? Ask God to send people to us with hearts prepared to perceive their need for Our Savior Jesus Christ and His Holy Catholic Church, and that much good fruit for His Kingdom comes of today’s efforts.
God makes times for extended conversations when needed. So thank you again for your prayers and other support for this apostolate. In turn, may God protect and greatly bless you and all those you love!
“Go with the strength you have” (Judg 6:14).