Thursday, January 26, 2006
If you haven't done so in a while, visit the Missionaries website. We have signs available to download, and literature to print of that go with each sign. There are instructions on how to print them at a place like Kinkos, mount them and take them to the streets. I would only recommend doing that if you have experience and are well versed on how to talk with people about these issues from a Theology of the Body point of view. If you are interested in learning how, contact us.
Anyway, I wanted to take a moment to talk about the fruitful conversations I had about holding a sign over the March for Life weekend that read "Sex is good. Condoms are not." A few of my friends were agasp when they saw the sign and thought that we were promoting fornication, as long as it is condom free. However, considering who the target audience for this sign is, I found the sign to be extraordinarily effective.
Imagine one of those really tall diving boards. Our goal is to get to the top and to plunge off into the waters of truth and freedom. It is also our responsibility to help our neighbor, as much as it is possible, to reach the top with us. Our capacity to get them to the top has a lot to do with where they are. Some people are already half way up, while others are at the bottom, while others are at home on the couch.
This is an analogy to show that we need to meet our audience where they are and bring them closer to the top. It is not our job to get them all the way to the couch to the top, but to have them make progress. The ultimate job is God's and we are just His servants.
Most of the people on the streets, at least in my experience, are far from the top. I would say that about half are not even in the area of the pool. But we have to meet them where they are and bring them closer to the goal. Nearly everyone can agree with the statement "sex is good" while not everyone can agree with the statement "sex is only for marriage". That is a goal- we must get them to that point. Same thing goes with "sex is good, condoms are not". We have met our audience on common level in regards to "sex is good" and we are challenging them about condoms. This method proved to be very effective on the streets.
We got their attention by showing them that we can agree on this matter, the common demoninator, but they would talk to us about what they did not agree with. We have already established a commonality with the person, and often invoked a positive smile with the provocative sign.
Then came the conversations. We passed out hundreds of pieces of literature and had dozens and dozens of 1-10 minute conversations. Nearly all of them were positive, and I felt that they left with a good impression of our presentation and they were going to leave asking themselves questions. Many of the conversations probed at the true meaning of sex, love, and marriage. Most of what we had to say really resonated with them. Deep down they knew that sex implied a lifelong commitment, it has to be open to life, and it has to be a sacrifice and not fueled by lust. However, I do not think these conversations would have been so fruitful and positive if we started out by thumping a book over their head saying "sex must be reserved for one man and one woman who are married in the Catholic Church"- which, of course would be our end goal.
However, when we took "sex is good. condoms are not." to the March, I think some people were confused. There were plenty of people who understood that our signs were meant to engage the lost, but there were a few who were close to the top of the latter and could not understand our motive. A few people thought that we were promoting fornication.
I hope that we have demonstrated that the sign is very effective for the secular audience, and not intended for those at the March who are on the top of the latter.
Who we are?
Conversion begins in our own hearts,which is why prayer is so important to our ministry. For this reason, everyday of our ten week walk begins with daily Mass. By receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we are given the grace to be the Love of Christ not only to those in our community but also to those we meet in the streets.
We walk throughout the day to be a witness of love. We are grounded in prayer-we pray with our lips, our hearts, and our bodies. In walking an average of twenty-five miles per day, we offer our fatigue as a gift of love to Christ and the people we meet. Our walking is both sacrifice and prayer.