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By Joe Naiman
Writer 

Sharing religious faith can be done without trying

 

Last updated 5/3/2019 at 1:06am



Sometimes someone can share their religious faith without even trying.

I left my church’s Stewardship Council on good terms in 2015. The parish mission that year was “Forming Intentional Disciples,” and the cornerstone to that mission is enhancing one’s personal relationship with God. That means enhancing one’s own personal relationship with God, not participating in somebody else’s personal relationship with God. I’m not discouraging anybody from participating in Bible study or small church community groups, but the purpose of those is to enhance one’s personal relationship with God rather than serving as a debate society or an audition for a talk show on Immaculate Heart Radio. I am more successful enhancing my personal relationship with God in a professional or social setting where I have to apply my faith than in a study setting.

“Forming Intentional Disciples” included five stages of evangelism. The first of those steps was trust, and we discussed trust at the July 2015 Stewardship Council meeting. I noted that an inactive Catholic once asked me whether her frequent use of profanity prevented her from Catholic practice, and I told her – including examples – that using the Lord’s name in vain was against the Catholic religion, but simple profanity was not. I am not afraid to share my Catholic faith among my friends, but I no longer address applications in profanity-free church discussion groups.

The August 2015 Stewardship Council meeting focused on the second stage, which is curiosity. I began by noting that I was asked to use language more appropriate for a radio ministry than for evangelizing my blue-collar friends. I noted that listeners began tuning into Rush Limbaugh and James Dobson after coming across their comments while changing the radio dial and that Dr. Laura Schlessinger was Jewish when she began her radio show and converted to Christianity after finding that she was better respected by her Christian listeners. I brought up Paul Harvey later in the discussion, and I felt like I was “in my element” while discussing radio. I also felt like that meeting was my Waterloo for the Stewardship Council since I couldn’t discuss radio at every meeting, and later that night I made a comment that maybe a media ministry would be a more appropriate venue for me than the Stewardship Council. After the meeting ended, I told some other Stewardship Council members that the meeting might have been my last, and we agreed that I should pray about my future with that ministry.

My mail one day that August included a package with a Charlotte, North Carolina, return address. Sid Roth, who has a Messianic Jewish radio ministry, had turned 10 first-person accounts of accepting Christ into a book and had a mission to send out 2 million copies. I received one of those copies.

In 1996 Mark Marsoubian had a sports talk show on the Palomar College radio station, and I helped him out from time to time. Mark Marsoubian is now Mark Mancini, and during the last week in August, he invited me to be on his weekly Mark Mancini Sports Stables radio show the following week. I remained a panelist on his show until the Stables transitioned into separate talk shows including the one I hosted. The Lord had presented me a path into radio, and since I knew the Stewardship Council had better applications than radio ministry briefings, I parted amicably with the Stewardship Council.

The Lord had given me a sports talk show rather than a religious talk show, and I figured that if the Lord wanted me to be on a Christian show rather than a secular one he would have provided me with such an opportunity. As it turned out, the Lord gave me the opportunity to share my faith on the sports show.

I made my Mark Mancini Sports Stables debut in September 2015, September is the start of the National Football League season and 2015 was the year the Chargers won four games and lost 12. The Chargers’ problems were the same over the season, so I had to think of different ways to explain their losses. I placed the blame on the offensive line, penalties and administrative management, but I did not fault Philip Rivers.

After one defeat I made the comment that in case anybody thought I was treating Philip Rivers lightly because we’re both practicing Catholics, Jordan Spieth is also a practicing Catholic. I noted that when Jordan Spieth misses a putt I can’t blame his offensive linemen because he doesn’t have any. I noted that Jordan Spieth doesn’t have running backs and thus has to put the ball in the air for the entire distance and that Philip Rivers was having to do the same due to a lack of performance by Chargers running backs. I said that for Jordan Spieth a balanced offense is having 14 clubs in his bag while for Philip Rivers a balanced offense means five other ball carriers or receivers who can advance the ball.

I wasn’t trying to share my Catholic faith; I was trying to explain why the Chargers’ deficient offensive line and running game caused another loss. After the show I realized what I had done, I professed my Catholic faith on the air. The Lord had given me a platform to share my faith, and I had done so without even trying.

 

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