Here’s an interesting posting from the Dallas Morning News, from Father Joshua Whitfield— a priest who agreed to answer a series of questions posed on Reddit from a wide array of readers. It’s an unusual experiment, and it got some intriguing questions.
Hello Father! Practicing Catholic here. How do you deal with those who hold being a Republican above being Catholic? I have friends who will seemingly idolize Trump while calling Pope Francis a “liberal hippie” who shouldn’t be listened to. What would you say to members of your flock who resemble that? I’ve come to the point where I’ve realized I really need to listen and understand before I assess and diagnose. There are real fears and real conviction on both sides, and so I’ve learned as a pastor that I need to spend more time listening, only then can I challenge people with the Gospel. I know that may sound trite, but I think it’s the truth. As an evangelical minister (of a majority left-leaning denomination) I still struggle ministering to members who have been emboldened by fake news. Because I disagree with what they parrot from Fox News and other sources and preach against nationalism, I have lost the trust and authority to discuss spiritual things with some. How has your stance affected your ability to reach your flock? Very good question. I deal with the same issue. First, for me, we need to accompany our people, try to listen, befriend, etc. The difficulty is that often folks come to us simply wanting an endorsement of their own strange conclusions. Not endorsing weird ideas, yet maintaining a relationship — that’s what’s hard. Requires the best pastoral skills we have, and humor. In preaching, I find myself preaching how people can’t hear the gospel. I find myself having to undercut confidence, gently and respectfully.
There’s much more.Check it out.