Recently, I was listening to a relatively new-to-me, but favorite podcast, This Inspired Life with Kristin Sanders. She read a list of 10 tips for a Happy Life, from Pope Francis. One of the things he said was: Stop proselytizing. Respect others, do not try aggressive tactics; in other words, according to the Italian saying, "live and let live." Catholicism should grow by attraction, not by proselytizing.
I agree. Let’s look a little closer at this framework, and let me make one clarification.
I believe that Catholics should keep three things in mind. First, what is the difference between proselytizing and witnessing? Second, I DO believe it is okay to witness about your faith, if it is done in a peaceful way. And third, what does attraction mean?
According to Webster’s Dictionary:
Proselytize means, “to try to persuade people to join a religion, cause or group.”
Meanwhile, Witness means, “Public affirmation by word or example of usually religious faith or conviction.”
Finally, attraction means: “something interesting or enjoyable that people want to visit, see, or do.”
I get the idea that proselytizing is more about someone who is needy, needs attention, or is harshly demanding that someone believe something or think a certain way. If someone is proselytizing, they probably are not doing so in a peaceful way. They are trying to "talk someone into something," rather than asking questions, setting a good example, or living it out simply and talking about one's life without fear.
Meanwhile, someone who witnesses believes you should “live and let live,” but if that faith is a natural outflow of your life, it will bleed into all areas of your life. If an example is set, it is done naturally.
Attraction takes it a step further. It means we give witness to our life, in a loving way. Or in a loving manner.
Think of the blogs and books you love to read. There's a pretty good chance you are attracted by it- the beauty, and the truth- rather than convinced by a reasonable argument that that person is making.
Something to keep in mind, I think. ;)Adding my link to Tuesday Talk