“Evangelize” is Not a Four-Letter Word

All my life, even before I was an atheist, I felt uncomfortable with the way many Christian people try to share their faith with others.  I found the door-to-door peddling of Christian leaflets to be obnoxious, and kind of insulting. I ridiculed people who would say things like, “Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?” When I first moved from Detroit to small-town Kentucky with my parents in 1997, I thought it was weird and kind of hilarious that some (very nice) people came to our door to tell us about their church’s “tent revival.” They had heard we were new in town and just wanted to extend an invitation, but I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.

I had a few not-so-nice names for people who tried to spread the word about Jesus, like “Bible Thumper,” and in some cases, “Jesus Freak.”

To be perfectly honest, one of the things I first liked about Catholicism was that it didn’t seem too heavy on the push to evangelize people. I knew that no one was going to ask me to go door to door handing out rosaries or anything. People didn’t call out “Praise Jesus!” or “Amen!” during Mass, so certainly no one was expected or encouraged to walk around saying these things to others outside the church.

However. . .

I was kind of wrong about two things.

First of all, obviously I was being a big jerk about judging people who try to spread their love of their faith to others.

And second, I was mistaken to think that Catholics don’t or aren’t called to share our faith.

I mean, Jesus told His apostles to do it, so yeah, probably I should too.

But how? I’m not ever going to be that person who goes door to door. I will never go up to a stranger and invite her to pray with me. Geez, I’m getting kind of clammy just thinking about it.

I’ve thought and prayed a lot about this, because I think it’s important, but I cannot be an “in-your-face evangelizer.” My introverted heart just couldn’t take that. Happily, my Church does not demand that of me.

So what’s a girl to do? I try to show my Faith by living it in my daily life. I go to Mass every Sunday and on holy days of obligation, whether I’m at home or traveling. I talk to my children a lot about our Faith, and then, as every good parent does, I let them do some of the work for me when they proudly and sweetly say things like, “I want to be a nun when I grow up!” or “Who’s your saint?” to people whom often have no idea what they’re talking about (Kidding!). I try to live my Catholic Faith confidently, but not in a pushy way, and to teach my children to do the same.

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And then there’s this here blog.

I write about faith and the Faith here a lot. But it is not easy for me. Every single time a thought comes to my mind for a post that has something to do with Christianity or Catholicism, I get nervous. Every. Single. Time.

I put it off. I resist. I fear that people might think things like, “Wow, she’s ‘found Jesus’ and now she won’t shut up about it,” or “Here’s she goes pushing that Catholic stuff on us again,” or “Man, I really miss the days when all she used to write about was potty training and trying to get her kids to nap and other everyday-motherhood stuff.”

If you feel that way, I’m sorry. But probably not really. Because I love the Catholic Faith and Jesus, and it is part of my everyday stuff now. I misunderstood it and ridiculed it and scorned it for so long. Now I can share with others the beauty and mysteries of the Church, and that’s something I feel is right for me to do. Even though it makes me nervous.

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Coincidentally, during the weeks that I’ve mulled this post over, a new thing came up that I wanted to share. You might have noticed that I have a new image/button on my sidebar. I chose to put it there as part of The Credo Project, put together by Molly, and Kendra, and Bonnie. From Molly’s post:

This is “The Credo Project”. We are a group of bloggers who love the richness and fullness of our Catholic Faith. We want to help our readers grow in their own walk with God and share our own journeys and experiences.

If you click on the image, it will take you to the website Catholics Come Home, which has lots of information for people who are interested in becoming Catholic or in returning to the Church.

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10 thoughts on ““Evangelize” is Not a Four-Letter Word

  1. this was a great post. I found your blog through reading Kendra’s. My kids are 16 – 24, so sometimes I wonder why I still read your and Kendra’s blogs, since many times it’s about your young kids…altho. that is fun reading 🙂 . But many times there are great posts where I get a lot of either good info, or spiritual enrichment, and today was one of those days. Just had to share that with you.

    • Thank you Katherine! It’s nice to have a reminder that sometimes people want to read about something other than my kids! Haha!

  2. I think the way you evangelize through your beautiful space (PS Love your new photo – So beautiful!) is lovely. It’s authentic, encouraging, and shares beauty. Thank you for what you share on here and for your perspective!

  3. I’ve thought about this topic a lot, how to evangelize without being pushy. The idea of going door to door or inviting someone to pray with me is terrifying to me and my introvertedness too! I like the idea o trying to live out our faith, but I feel like I’m so bad at it. I need a reminder like a tattoo or something, lol, to make me remember to be a good example of a Catholic.

  4. In my case your evangelization seem to work 😉 I stumpled over your blog some time ago, and I was very inspired by your conversion story. I can relate to parts of it, since I too have moved from atheism and a superior attitude towards people of faith, to theism and later on christianity. I think you write about your faith in a beatiful and non-pushy way. And reading your blog has changed my wiew om catholicism. I live in a protestant country, so I grew up with a lot of prejudices against catholics, but now my wiew of the church has changed a lot. By the way, I can recommend Susan Cains book Quiet on introversion which contains a great chapter about introversion and faith, and on how introverts can find it difficult to thrive in very outgoing evangelizing churches. Not that these churches do things the wrong way, but introverts often need a more quiet, thoughtfull way of worshipping. Anyway, I find your blog very inspiring, even though i fail at making blog post comments most of the time. (Sorry for grammatical errors, English is not my native language)

    • I’ll have to check out that book! Thank you so much for your comment, Anna. It means a lot to hear that others find these posts interesting and maybe even helpful 🙂

  5. Yeah, as Catholics we do kind of run far away, fast, when seeing anything that screams “evangelize/convert/hey.look.at.me.join.my.church.” Thanks for pointing out that it isn’t ALWAYS a bad thing to share our faith with others. 🙂

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