Just watched an interesting video, from the marketing perspective by Tom Peters, a noted writer on business and management practices, best-known for In Search of Excellence (co-authored with Robert h. Waterman, Jr.) In this video, Peters basically says that the language we use matters when we are trying to put out a message. "If you want an energetic place, use energetic language," he says.
What does that have to say for the way we speak in church and about our Catholic faith? Do we express the "Wow"? Or, do we express that we are the tired, the overworked, and the somewhat discouraged? Do we have an affect that invites, or one that puts off? Do we tell our faces we have the joy of the Lord?
Father James Martin, famously in his latest book , Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life and his presentations on it, urges Catholics to drop the sad-sack attitude and realize that our faith is filled with joy. He reminds us that Jesus was all about joy.
So, if Jesus was about joy, why DON'T we show it more often in parish ministry? Are we too bound up in worrying about whether people learn to follow the rules? Are we feeling vaguely discouraged in our ministry because of overwork, lack of sufficient staff, low salary and lack of affirmation? Most likely many of us are the latter these days. Still, there is no substitute for helping people find the joy of a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is the main part of our job description. We were not hired merely to see that the trains run on time, but to be part of the mission of the Church. "The Church," as we are told in Evangelii nuntiandi 14: "exists to evangelize."
So, how do we do that well. Father Robert Barron, in a video just posted this week, points out that too often Catholics present our faith as being all about morality and sexual ethics... and we fail to remind people often enough that first it is about Jesus. In doing so, we hamper our efforts to evangelize.
So, knowing all this, how do we put the "Wow" back in our message? I would say it must be a conscious choice. It all goes back to the FISH Philosophy which originated from watching the fish-throwing folks in the shop in Seattle:
So, today, can you make a pact with yourself and the Lord to choose YOUR attitude? To find ways to express the "Wow" that is the Good News of Jesus Christ?