Thursday, February 10, 2011

Faith and Understanding

I found myself very interested by Kolvenbach’s descriptions of propaganda in social justice. In Part A: The service of faith he explains how for centuries “The Society had been officially and solemnly charged with “the defense and the propagation of the faith” (25). In other words the congregation was being depicted as a strict group who constantly tries to impose their religion on others using propaganda. Kolvenbach quickly follows this point by explaining how more currently (1995) Jesuits have made it their mission to prove this proclamation wrong. He explains that “the Congregation wanted our preaching and teaching not to proselytize, not to impose our religion on others, but rather to propose Jesus and his message on God’s Kingdom in a spirit of love to everyone” (26). I think that this point is very important to recognize regarding the Jesuits and the Catholic faith. Faith is not something to be forced upon someone, rather it is a choice that someone makes in their life based upon what they feel spiritually. Being raised Catholic I have often felt that I was forced into this religion, but once I took myself out of that mindset and looked at my faith as a whole I realized that I was not living in a world where I had no choice in the matter. I realize that my parents raised me Catholic because they saw something in that religion that enhanced their lives and made them better people. As we are taught in Church, faith is about spreading the word of God to others, meaning sharing something you love and believe in with others so that they may hopefully find a similar connection to it.

In Part B The promotion of justice Klovenbach makes an excellent point that reminded me a lot of Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. He wrote “a general congregation is not a scientific academy equipped to distinguish and to define, to clarify and to classify” (27). This statement reminded me of the District Commissioner in Achebe’s novel, “They had built a court where the District Commissioner judged cases in ignorance” (174). The District commissioner clearly failed to realize that faith is not about imposing religion, which is probably why his plans to convert the whole Igbo tribe failed. Mr. Brown on the other hand followed Klovenbach’s idea of the “service of faith” more closely. He took time to talk to the Igbo’s and listen to their religious views and share his own so that they could find commonalities or agree to disagree. In Klovenbach’s words Mr. Brown followed a path where he “chose to inspire, to teach” (27) rather than force. I believe that choosing to inspire and teach faith to others is what helps bring more followers into congregations.

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