I love this new Pope! Not because I agree with everything he says or does – nor should I. I’m not even Catholic.
A kid in a wheelchair – did you see that?
A Muslim women – what do you think of that?
A prisoner – is that like a normal thing or … that just him?
It started on the day of his election. I got a call from an Australian radio station that wanted to have me on to get a non-Southern hemisphere perspective. [you can hear the audio segment below] I thought it was pretty random at the time (they had seen my blog-post earlier that day where I said it would be a game-changer).
It was not to be an isolated incident. Not a week goes by that someone doesn’t ask me about the new Pope.
Last week I was watching a football game at a sports-bar. A couple from out of town sits down next to me. A little chit-chat reveals that I am a local but not originally from here.
How long have you lived in LA? 4 years.
What brought ya? School. I am a student.
What do you study? It’s called Practical Theology – it’s like a mix between sociology and religion.
Oh yeah? What do you think about this new Pope?
This is literally 2 minutes into the conversation.
On the TNT that will come out this evening, our third caller asks about the Pope and Marxism … we never get to the fourth call.
[ side-note: On our 2013 Review show Tripp's pick for moment of the year was during that game Au Contraire Mon Frere where he (in contrast to Tony Jones) said that the new Pope was the real deal.]
I have irreligious friends on Facebook that will email me an article about the Pope and ask what I think.
Why do I bring this up? Well, for over a decade I trained and loved being an ‘evangelist’ and ‘apologist’. I loved giving a reasonable presentation of the faith. I trained others in how to ‘give an answer when asked about the hope that is within you’.
Though I have emerged as a different kind of thinker, the delight of a stranger asking a question about something related to faith never goes away.
Here is the thing: I have spent hundreds of hours preparing to answer questions that people just don’t ask anymore. In apologist circles we were talking about the shift we were experiencing before the events of September 11, 2001. Since then, it has been monumental. The world is very different than it was 40 – even 30 – years ago.
In an age of Facebook, smart phones and global terror … people are just not that interested in the stuff that I was trained to answer. They are asking a different set of questions.
That is why it is so notable that somebody – every week – is going to ask me about the Pope. So it seems to me that it would be a good investment of time – if you are someone who, like me, is evangelistic or apologetic at all – to keep an eye on the activities of the Pope. I might go as far as to say that it would be a better spend of time than watching another ‘debate’ between creation and evolution …
Who knew that a new season in the Catholic church would open doors for Protestant ministers? I get to both talk about all the good things that he does which provides an opportunity to distinguish my own expression of the faith in issues of women’s ordination, human sexuality, and economic matters.
I would love to hear your thoughts, concerns, corrections or questions.