New Evangelization

Peat Bakke at Flickr

A new evangelization takes evangelists, Gospel power through the foolishness of preaching. Simplicity of the gospel under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is the fragrance of life that leads to life. It hardly takes higher education, only the education of the heart. Power, life, resurrection, are the true means of a re-evangelization. We don’t need a new message, but the central message of Christianity burning in the hearts of God’s children will do. Christians can get so caught up in being Christian they forget or lose sight of the basics, thinking they have graduated if a doctrine is comprehended. The only problem with this is that we will never comprehend this single statement, “Jesus Christ is Lord!”  Did you here me, shall I say it again?  “Jesus Christ is Lord!”  Say it in your mind, “Jesus Christ is Lord!”  Say it until it becomes mystery.  Say it until your heart is full.  Say it until it burns in your humanity.

The gospel is simply this–lifting up Jesus Christ, declaring with your lips what confounds your heart. A testimony of love, born in your heart by the Holy Spirit. We don’t need a new word.  There is no other word.  What we need is a new love, a new heart, a renewed vision, a greater vision to see the Lord high and lifted up.

We must under go a personal evangelization, a revelation of Jesus Christ that bubbles up to overflowing in our very being. What we need more than proper Catechesis is a proper revelation.  A heart full of heaven is being properly formed not by proper ethics through reason, but rather heaven itself leading us into all truth. The mere fact that dissidence is so present amongst the faithful has more to do with a lack of heaven, or sanctifying grace going from glory to glory, than a poor religious formation.

The power of the Holy Spirit burning in the souls of God’s children is the substance, even essence, of our sanctification.  No amount of formal education can take precedence over this. No rule-keeping, no mental orthodoxy, no amount of sacramental graces made available. I deeply approve of all these things, as God’s gifts to us. But without the Holy Spirit taking up dominion in our souls, we will forever be wanting.

The gospel received as power is the responsibility of the body of Christ. For far too long has the Church floundered in it’s commission and command.  It seems to me the Church is so busy with structures that we forget what the structure serves.  The structure is not an end, or the goal.  If the structure gets in the way of being the container of the eternal eminent presence of the living God, than it becomes counter productive for which it has been made.

I could have a facility that is 10,000 square feet with 100 bathrooms, but if it creates an atmosphere where my family never sees each other because of the immensity of the building, it becomes impractical. If Catholic colleges create an environment that at times is anti-Kingdom than what service does it render? If my theology professor is telling me God is female, Jesus was a great man clouded in mythic stories that relate universal truths, and that all paths lead to the pearly gates, what does this silly structure serve but hell?  Even more alarming than the ideas proposed is this person that speaks them at all.  Who are you? Who gave you authority when you know nothing of what I have seen–a blind guide, talking about things they don’t understand because they are void of the Spirit of the living God?  And how did they find themselves in such a formidable position? Granted by other blind guides and a bureaucracy that exalted pedigree over and above the Spirit of the Lord.  If structures that are dysfunctional take the place of Kingdom and they are called Catholic, it is to our shame, and we are doing a disservice to the Kingdom of Christ in whom we must all give an account. Let the wheat grow with the chaff of course, but cast off structures that are counter-productive in containing the wind of heaven.

We are so steeped in modernity, education and aptitude are the measurements we use. Christ and all the Apostles would have been shut out from the formal structures we have in place due to the lack of pedigree they had. In the name of governance we have very little place for the gifts of the body to move.  All is built around formality and education.  If a prophet ever came forward, surely more times than not they would be ignored unless they were wearing a collar or had the right credentials.  Is this how the Kingdom of heaven works in such a closed system?  Can God not move beyond our frameworks?  Yes, He can.  It is a sad day when God must move in spite of them and not because of them. When the Church becomes a sort of world-wide social justice, earthbound, ethical warehouse we have missed the purpose why it even exists at all! If we miss Pentecost as the fuel of the vehicle than the vehicle has no real use, at least for which it was made.  Enough with tinkering with the machine, we need the fuel to burn.

In fact I think they like tinkering, like a guy that loves His car, ever fixing it up.  One more stripe, new rims, whatever.  St Francis brought fuel.  We need fire, more fire to consume the house with the love of heaven!  Only one filled with heaven can give heaven away.  The presence of the Lord in the people is the new evangelization.