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Episode 20: The Roots of the Crisis and How to Overcome Them
Jan 31, 2023

As a new year of the Encounter Grow Witness Podcast kicks off, Fr. Pullis and Beth revisit a critical section of Unleash the Gospel: the roots of the crisis. During their discussion, they unpack the ways scientific fundamentalism, moralistic therapeutic deism, and secular messianism have created great challenges in evangelization, but highlight the ways we can respond to those realities, and the unshakable hope that we have in Jesus.

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Shownotes:

(00:40) Fr. Pullis and Beth open with a lighthearted discussion about pets and some exciting new developments in Beth’s home.

(02:56) They shift their focus to resetting at the beginning of the new year by revisiting Unleash the Gospel. Fr. Pullis proposes looking at the roots of the crisis (described in the Catechetical Exposition of Unleash the Gospel) that the Holy Spirit has invited us to respond to in the Archdiocese of Detroit, which they discuss. Through this discussion they shed light on the things that hold people back from living lives of discipleship.

(11:19) Fr. Pullis shares his love for Pope Benedict XVI and how his intellectual gifts and commitment to orthodoxy are fruits of his deeply personal relationship with Jesus. They discuss the importance of a personal encounter with Jesus, and proposing the Gospel through encounter opportunities in our present society.

(15:31) They break open their discussion on the three roots of the crisis identified in Unleash the Gospel: scientific fundamentalism, moral therapeutic deism, and secular messianism and begin to identify some of the marks of scientific fundamentalism, including the notion that faith and reason are in conflict.

(19:23) Highlighting the work of Bishop Barron, Fr. Spitzer, and Fr. Mike Schmitz, they discuss the resources and reasons we have to express that there is no contradiction between faith and reason.

(22:59) Fr. Pullis highlights the need to help young people embrace this reality, focusing on the role of Catholic schools and faith formation.

(24:52) They move on to discuss moralistic therapeutic deism and Beth shares some of her experiences as a youth minister, which led her to see young people who would see a need to be nice and a good person, but saw God as removed from our lives. They discuss how young peoples’ faith is influenced heavily by their parents’ and the very real demand that the Gospel places on a believer’s life.

(32:55) Beth shares how this reality has led her to share more about her own personal relationship with Jesus, describes some of the impact that has had on those she has shared with vulnerably, and how doing so has also affected the way she shares her need for Jesus with her children.

(36:08) Fr. Pullis moves on to the third and final root of the crisis: secular messianism. They discuss how peoples’ faith can become conditioned by a political outlook or social worldview. They talk about where they’ve seen this in both liberal and conservative opinions.

(40:50) Beth shares the need to keep our eyes focused on Jesus in all of this, in the same way that Peter needed to keep his eyes focused on Jesus when he was called out on the water, as the roots of the crisis can seem daunting, at times.

(43:27) They close with a brief discussion on being honest with ourselves about these challenges we face, but to always remain rooted in Jesus, and place our hope in him.

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