EG 129: Creativity Trumps Comfort

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdaleneIn sections 127-129 of Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis is concerned about person-to-person contact in the cause of the Gospel. This kind of contact necessarily implies the communicator/listener is ready to think on her feet. That he won’t be hidebound by methodology. Evangelizers must be listeners. Out the window with programs, apologetics, and such. Onward with the Gospel message:

129. We should not think, however, that the Gospel message must always be communicated by fixed formulations learned by heart or by specific words which express an absolutely invariable content. This communication takes place in so many different ways that it would be impossible to describe or catalogue them all, and God’s people, with all their many gestures and signs, are its collective subject. If the Gospel is embedded in a culture, the message is no longer transmitted solely from person to person.

Pope Francis seems to be going against the grain with this thought:

In countries where Christianity is a minority, then, along with encouraging each of the baptized to proclaim the Gospel, particular Churches should actively promote at least preliminary forms of inculturation. The ultimate aim should be that the Gospel, as preached in categories proper to each culture, will create a new synthesis with that particular culture. This is always a slow process and at we can be overly fearful. But if we allow doubts and fears to dampen our courage, instead of being creative we will remain comfortable and make no progress whatsoever. In this case we will not take an active part in historical processes, but become mere onlookers as the Church gradually stagnates.

Does this make sense? How does the Church differentiate between the possibility of accommodation and the need to adapt in minority situations? Do such calls to inculturate apply to subsets of the West? On university campus, in business, or in government? What exactly does that look like?

What do you make of comfort being presented as the opposite of creativity?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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