This past Good Shepherd Sunday, I realized that, although I am called to be a shepherd of souls, in the Person of Christ, the Ultimate Good Shepherd, I am also a sheep of His flock. And the one thing about sheep is that they are quite dumb and easily led astray. That is why the Good Lord used them as a symbol of the Kingdom.
Recently, I’ve been following a certain podcast which has as its focus the excitement and wonder of crafting a good story, from developing characters to driving the story forward through plot, and communicating that element that is particular to each writer: his or her magic. This duo of writers uses humor and good-natured banter to effectively draw me into their little world of the magic of storytelling. And, boy, was I having fun just listening to them.
Then, they released an episode I was not expecting. Since they were to go on hiatus for a few months, they dug into their archive and shared a past episode.
I listened to the first five minutes of the episode, but as soon as the term “Marriage Equality” was mentioned, I knew that in good conscience, I could not continue to listen.
It was like I was punched in the gut, betrayed by friends. To unsubscribe and rid my devices of all vestiges of their content was my first gut-level reaction. Yet, as I thought about it further, I realized that I will not totally agree with everyone I meet, either in person or on the internet. This can be a lesson to me to accept them as persons, but not to accept their views. After all, Jesus Himself shared meals with sinners and tax-collectors. By doing so, He was not condoning their actions, but using the venue as a means of changing their lives, offering them a chance to repent of their wrongdoings, and giving them hope of a second chance.
In the same way, I can still be a voice offering a different perspective, and try to propose the Truth. It does no one any good to absent myself from the argument.
As writers, we have a powerful “megaphone to rouse a deaf world,” as C.S. Lewis put it. What message we put through that megaphone is dictated by the calling we have received as writers and as Catholics: The Truth! The writer and Catholic in us must go together if we are to rouse a world that chooses to be deaf to the Truth.
Fr. Jim Tucker is a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ, ordained 2006. He’s interested in all kinds of writing, but particularly in learning how to tell a good story. Find him online at The Catholic Creativity Community, and watch his video podcast for kids (with puppets!) at Comments from the Koala.