Although we frame the word 'hipster' and stick it on the wall to admire as the most coveted of 'coolness' levels, I believe it is far to easy, at least for myself, to often forget about the day to day life of Catholic living.
So while it's easy to wear Pinterest worth outfits and sip a latte while reading the newest Life Teen article, what does it look like to put that into practice?
To be honest, it's kind of scary.
It means having to put yourself out there, trust God totally, and having to realize that some people may not agree with you. Or, perhaps even realistically in today's culture, most people won't agree with you. It means having to be informed about not only what you as a Catholic believe, but why you even profess that to be true.
It means having to be in love with God.
There is a growing trend to glamourize the Catholic life by making it appealing to the masses. Pun slightly intended. We amp up teen ministry as to make the Catholic faith seem appealing, trendy and worthy of cutting time out of our busy schedule for. Value is placed on emotions and charismatic feelings so that people will 'feel' right about the Church.
Rebecca Harding Davis, an American writer from the late 1800s wrote, "We don't often look into these unpleasant details of our great struggle. We all prefer to think that every man who wore the blue or gray was a Philip Sidney at heart." We shy away from openly talking about our temptations, the word accountability can seem like a crazy concept to us, and we dance around solid truths so as not to offend anyone.
It's time to rub our face in the dirt of the earth and face the facts. There is so much need for authentic faith in our world. The reality is that over 80% of Catholics no longer identify themselves as Catholic by the time they hit their 23rd birthday. That's huge.
If you put statistics like that into any other situation, it's alarming. If you're traveling and your airline has a 20% chance of landing safety, what are the chances that you aren't going to fly on that airline? If you have a university with a 20% retention rate, things aren't going to well for them. If you have a 20% chance of passing a class, things aren't looking up.
So why are we content and living with this statistic? We watch each year as Catholic students walk onto a campus Catholic and four years later walk of the stage with a diploma and their faith far behind them.
The subject of objective truth is so controversial you would have thought we were talking a crazy conspiracy - but that's how the concept of absolute truth is taught.
Making Catholicism 'cool' isn't going to solve the problem. We have to make Catholicism real and, even more importantly, a blatant presence in our daily lives.
What does that look like in 2014? First, living our faith. And not just the parts that we're comfortable in. It means putting yourself completely in God's hands and letting Him write your story...without you editing as you go along.
It means lovingly guiding those who are in a state of confusion concerning the teachings of the Church. Saint Josemaria Escriva once said "Don't you long to shout to those youths who are bustling around you: Fools! Leave those worldly things that shackle the heart - and very often degrade it - leave all that and come with us in search of Love!"
The Church has incredibly beauty to her teachings. All of them. And most of them aren't discussed. Why does the Church believe what She believes about contraception, homosexual marriage, social justice, morality, truth and authentic love? There is a reason for each belief, and none are culturally accepted.
Yet Saint Toribio said, "Christ said, “I am the Truth”; he did not say “I am the custom."
Are haters going to hate? Heck yes.
In fact, Christ gave us ample warning about what we are going to face. John 15:18-21 says, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me."
What do we do about this all this hatred? Shake it off?
I vote rejoice in it. With the situations in the common culture today, what an incredible opportunity in which to reach out and show the true Catholic life. Is it always a conversation? No - your life could be the only Bible people read. Yet that doesn't offer us an out or cop out excuse for not talking about our faith. Is someone talking about how behind the times the Catholic Church is? Lovingly have an authentic conversation with them. Don't shirk away from a tough conversation. Use those conversations to fall even more in love with a God who wants to see you find the easiest way to Heaven.
And the way that is the sturdiest bridge between here and the next world? The Catholic Church.