My daughter and I went camping a couple of weeks ago with her American Heritage Girls (AHG) group. I only knew a few of the families in the council, so I wasn’t sure who I would know on this trip. I did assume, however, that because it was a Christian AHG group out of St. Thomas Catholic Church that everybody would be of the Catholic faith.
It turns out that that wasn’t the case.
After setting up our tents and getting everything unpacked, one of the dad’s and I picked up a conversation and quickly found we shared a commonality of enjoying rock ‘n’ roll music. During any down time, we ended up chatting about various topics. Not sure how it was brought up, but we began talking about church, and he mentioned that he’s not Catholic. I asked how he knew about this AHG group, then. He told me that he grew up Lutheran but his wife is Catholic, so he put it in her hands to choose which church they went to.
We didn’t get into any theological discussions, but just generally dialogued about the faith. He talked about St. Thomas and one particular pastor that he enjoyed very much. We agreed this pastor was great, and we talked about his various homilies and the variety of activities that the parish offers.
At this point, I thought it would be a good time to bring up my testimony.
So I briefly told him my conversion story, and it seemed to catch his attention. After a few more back and forth questions, we moved on to discussing rock ‘n’ roll music and eating some s’mores.
The camping trip was a success, and the weather was perfect. My daughter had the opportunity to bond, and it was enjoyable to spend some time with her away from any electronic distraction. As I reflect back on the trip – specifically, my conversation with that dad – I took this away: When sharing the faith, speak about what and why we believe when appropriate. Share your testimony. But at some point, it’s important to find a common ground and work from there.
I know when I first began learning about my faith, I was excited to share the apologetics – reasoning that backs up Faith. But I’ve come to learn that openness to faith will happen gradually. We need to focus on what is common between people, and from there we can build a good foundation for further, more in-depth discussions. Keep on evangelizing! God bless!