Kevin Garnett, Jesus, Bob Dylan and Descartes.
Really? I squinted to get a better look at the young guy standing in front of me. It sure seemed like he was wearing a black shirt and a white plastic collar. And it sure seemed like he had just tied these four men into one meaningful and relevant conversation. For real: Kevin Garnett, Jesus, Bob Dylan and Descartes. Had he really just done that?
I remember that I felt a little impressed, and that my heart jumped as I got a little intimidated about feeling a little impressed. But I at least think I managed to raise one skeptical eyebrow in his direction to express my thinly veiled awe/disdain.
If he did just do that, I thought, is this guy a real priest or seminarian or whatev, or is he just some hipster posing as one? And just what in the hell is going on here?
Apparently he was real, because that guy is a priest today (I promise, I served his ordination Mass). Even more oddly, I discovered he was only so unique in his ability to tie together Christ and Church with sports, philosophy, politics, pop-culture, etcetera. The guy had a seemingly endless number of more or less quirky “brothers” who could pull together these strings of ideas and hook them to Jesus with varying degrees of facility. And I was sold.
Looking back I think it’s fair to say that I became a Jesuit so I could get closer to God. And I think it’s fair to say that I was able to get close to God because somebody somewhere could talk about God in my own language, the language of Saturday Night Live and the Milwaukee Brewers and Springsteen. And those somebodies were Jesuits. For me, slow learner that I am, it took Jesuits talking to me in my own language about Jesus before I could even imagine getting to know Him myself.
I mean, look, I’m a thief. Being a Jesuit? Stole it from my buddy Dan. Getting close to God? Took the idea from my best friend Jeff. Starting this site? Take a look around the web, it’s everywhere (seen Simmons’ www.grantland.com, anyone?). And there are great people out there trying to share the good word in their own ways (and to them I say thank you).
But the point is this: it can feel easy to blow off God these days. Or put it another way: it can feel difficult to figure out why or how God might make a difference. It’s easy to have 1,000 Facebook friends who don’t ask anything of me. It’s harder to have a few good ones who do.
So I’m laying our cards on the table, and they are these: this site is about Jesus, politics, and pop-culture, it’s about the Catholic Church, sports, and Socrates. It’s about making the case for God (better: letting God make the case for Himself) in our secular age.
Last thing. I’ve rarely been more grateful to be a Jesuit than during the process of putting this site together. It’s been a privilege for me to have read and thought through and prayed with the pieces you’ll find on the site. I hope you all will feel similarly.
So, on behalf of all of us at the Jesuit Post I want to welcome you. We hope you like the site. We hope it makes you laugh sometimes and cry sometimes and pray sometimes. We hope that it will help you think about God and the Church a little differently, a little more deeply, a little more often.
Paddy Gilger, SJ