Few people are mincing words as we get through week four of the "Crabby Catholics Come On Down" series at my parish.
We have very few "standard" attendees, who're mad about everything. They may very well be permanent curmudgeons and/or iconoclasts and not very reachable. But at least we've shown a face of interest and encouragement to them. The rest came because they feel out of touch with the church, and want to get into it more deeply, more truly. With that assortment, voices finally got raised last night, which I think is good. When people are interrupting and talking louder, they're more confident of their opinion.
The noise level rose on the topic of our roles as Christians in responding to the coarsening and indecency of culture. The view was split between a group that holds that if you live your life in purity and peace, others around you can't help but be influenced, and the good moves outward, like ripples in the water. The other group agreed of course with personal holiness, but held that you primarily have to speak up, to write to broadcasters, to boycott products and companies, politely but passionately.
We didn't resolve anything, but everyone learned. We're coalescing as a group.
Some really arresting and memorable quotes and statements came up last night. Did you ever hear this one? Possibly Mahatma Gandhi (I'll look it up later or tell me in the comments box):
First they ignore you.
Then they laugh at you.
Then they attack you.
Then you win.
1 hour ago