I’m part of a group of men who have been studying Pope Benedict’s two volume work, “Jesus of Nazareth”. We’ve been on chapter two of volume two for the past few weeks.
One of the interesting topics concerned the “time of the gentiles”. Israel would be saved, but only after the time of the gentiles had been completed. This is covered in three of the four Gospels. It is not necessary to be concerned with converting the Jews now ( however it’s not discouraged!).
As I commented during our last meeting, “God understands human psychology – the gentiles, who were put off by all the formalism and hypocrisy of Judaism, eagerly accepted the “free ride” provided by the Holy Spirit. This increased the negative reaction of the Jews to Christianity. But eventually, the Jews would become envious enough, of the joy and peace enjoyed by the Christians, to open up to the truth.”
That was then. But we have a new situation today. That ancient “Graffiti artist”, Satan, has done an “excellent” job of coloring anything Christian as distasteful, and thus made any direct evangelization impossible.
I was born in 1930 and although I had no religious education I was interested in reading the Old and New Testament, but definitely not in listening to anyone speak about it.
Today, he (Mr. Graffiti) has come up with such “slimy” disgusting colors that approaching the new gentiles at all directly is impossible.
LOVE is inventive! We need to come up with some new tools for evangelizing these beloved new gentiles.
We need to write a new “Bible”. (but PLEASE don’t call it that!)
Get hold of a recent (miraculously) converted new gentile with some writing skills. They’re all provided with the whole spectrum of talents – God is still very generous! Then start feeding him some religious ideas to be translated into acceptable terminology for them.
1. LOVE. Take the attractive idea of the love between a young man and woman. How they would like that love to survive the ravages of time, temptation, loyalty, etc. How the man would risk his life to protect his loved one.
2. DEATH. Take the “instinctive” distaste for death, and the desire to live forever young. Now introduce some of the information about the experiences of people who were able to observe their bodies being worked on by paramedics even though covered by a sheet and some of whom went up to have wonderful meetings with “spirits” and returned with a new view of life.
3. HIGHER INTELLEGENCE. Take the exciting new discoveries about DNA and display the evidence thus revealed for a higher intelligence. Make this evidence easily understandable in case their background in “probability calculations” is a little weak.
6. FEAR vs. PEACE
Got the idea?
After this book becomes a best seller, perhaps our “Plot” could tactfully be revealed and a study guide could be published which would connect each of the above subjects with the original ideas.
I’m available for consultation. Feel free to “steal” the idea. I’ll get my commission upstairs.
c.c.: Pope Benedict XVI