Thursday, June 03, 2004

The Apologetics Lecture

So, as most of you all know, I gave a presentation on apologetics at Epiphany of the Lord parish in Oklahoma City on Tuesday night. It was well attended I thought; about 40 people in attendance, and lots of young couples with small charming children. The lecture took about 1.5 hours and I think it was well received. I tend to put a lot of humor into my presentations because a.) it snaps people out of the torpor my voice creates and b.) lowers defensive reactions when I suggest something challenging.

A particularly funny moment took place when I was explaining how we didn't worship statues. I have an autographed picture of Roxann Dawson which I brought to the presentation. Now, I pulled out the picture and explained to everyone who she is and how I came by the picture. Then I said, "Now, do you think that every night I go to this picture and say, 'Oh, Roxann Dawson, you are so lovely..'' while I kissed the photo and stroked the top of the frame. A few hands went up, but I have their addresses, so I would make sure the doors are locked...You know who you are. I went on to explain, that the picture serves as a reminder of the friendship with the person who got it for me.

I think it was an okay presentation. The problem for me was the submitted question were too random, too all over the map to make a cohesive attack plan. I had a problem with only one person who claimed that he could be both a universalist and a Catholic at the same time. As I tried to continue the discussion, I realized that his enchilada might not be wrapped tightly, and abandoned the cause. But I did strongly suggest that he needs to make sure he understands the Church's teachings before abandoning them. The capper came when he said he was going down to Belize soon to do a mission trip and was suggesting that in the name of the Church he could teach this universalist religion in its place. I almost went "Ehud, the left handed warrior" on his carcass.

Another cheering factor came in that many people bought some of the book I brought. I think I brought about $250.00 worth and sold about $110.00. Hopefully those will serve as the springboard for those people.

While enjoy going out and doing these talks, I really find them draining and a little disheartening. I am someone who is moved by argumentation and logical chains. When someone makes a good argument, it sparks connections all over my brain. In short, it excites me, and usually I can see that excitement in people's eyes and reactions. But when a group doesn't exactly click, and that is largely my fault because I am the one leading this little expedition, I feel as though I have been counter productive at best. I assume that people hear the presentation and think, "well, if that is the best the Church has to offer, there must not be much to it."

I guess what the real problem is, I want an immediate reaction. I want someone to come up and say, "Father, because of you, I want to be the best lay apologist out there." I know well though that that is not exactly how God works in most cases. Usually it is something that has to percolate under the surface and eventually, all things being equal, a person responds.

So, do me a favor, gentle reader. Pray for those who attended the lecture, especially the one Protestant who was probably brought by his parents who are Catholic. He seemed interested and perhaps could be lead back around. Pray that my stupidity didn't misdirect any one there.

No comments: