Saturday, September 10, 2005

Evangelism on college campuses

Last night we at Columbia held a bit of an orientation event for our freshmen. One of the girls had been talking to a (newfound) friend of hers down the hall of the Orthodox (Jewish) persuasion when she noticed a rosary and proceeded to launch into a fairly typical "Jesus was a rebel" diatribe, which greatly upset the frosh in question, who didn't know how to respond.

I myself, however, wouldn't know how to respond either, though for different reasons. My first response would be to create a new opening on the posterior of the offender, but that wouldn't help very much at all, since I doubt she would listen very much to what I was saying and her argument was proceeding from ignorance rather than knowledge in the first place. I suspect that a rather long and informational conversation would be the best course of action, but would that work? Pretty much any response I could think of would set off an interreligious incident.

The affair, and a lovely article in a campus publication, got me thinking about campus evangelization in general, and how poor a job we do at it. I'm not sure where to begin really. The Socialists badger people all day with their newspapers and when they get noise complaints it's a free speach issue, but when someone gives a sermon about pro-life issues in Mass I get complaints that it was inappropriate. I suppose there are members of the congregation who don't feel that Mass is an appropriate place for preaching.

Something needs to change, it seems. More open dialog, more knowledge.

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