Early last month, the "hardest working man in Catholicism" (we just gave him that title), Brandon Vogt, launched his newest web project, StrangeNotions.com, which aims to engage atheists in civil, fruitful and high-minded dialogue about the existence of God. He built it, and they're coming.
About a month ago, did you feel something in the universe shift? An almost imperceptible force nudging humanity toward a greater end? Do you know what that “strange” presence was?
Brandon Vogt making the Internet more civil … for atheists.
In early May, the busiest young evangelist we know launched his web project two years in the making, Strange Notions, to address this growing threat to Christianity and the culture. But he did it not by going on the attack, he did it by welcoming atheists into the fold.
“It needs to be focused on dialogue,” he said in a telephone interview earlier this week. “It needs to provoke discussion.”
Pointing fingers and regurgitating rote ideas online were taking the conversation nowhere, Vogt noted, but creating an online model of the ancient Greek Areopagus, a place of learning and idea exchange, could become more provocative. Contributing Catholic writers, theologians and intellectuals post a new article daily on the existence of God, and civil, well sourced and “high-minded” commenters are invited to join the discussion. Vogt has organized the resources well, with pages for recommended reading, for example, as well as a well-organized list of topics and starting points with drop-down menus. And then, of course, the “MUST READ” page, which leads to a list of commenting rules and tips. The Internet comment box is a notoriously unkind place, but Vogt’s specific but not intrusive rules aim to keep it respectful. It was a wild idea for such an untamed medium...
Yesterday, some of the Word on Fire team traveled with Brandon Vogt to Peoria, Illinois, for a special Mass celebrating Archbishop Fulton Sheen's recently declared "venerability." So, what exactly does that mean? Today, Rozann Carter takes a moment to reflect on the term and to share some photos from the event.
If I weren’t Catholic, I might think that was a sinister term (not unlike “notorious,” a term that I mistakenly used to describe St. Therese’s “Little Way” at one point in my time here at Word on Fire. Oops.). If I didn’t know better, my first impression would be that venerable could be used to depict the wily ways of a character off of one of the earlier, more kitschy versions of Batman. I’m thinking someone with a cape…
Well, at least I had the cape part right...