I just finished reading Nudging Conversions: A Practical Guide to Bringing Those You Love Back to the Church by Carrie Gress. It is one of the many books available from the Dynamic Catholic book store and it is a good, quick read. While I didn’t run across anything that really jumped out at me, Mrs. Gress does a good job identifying some basic principles that I know I often forget. Take, for example, this piece in the introduction: “Our culture is currently plagued by a tyranny of niceness, where being pleasant is mistaken for authentic love…These pressures make the effort of evangelization particularly difficult because of the premium placed on niceness and not ruffling feathers.”(p.14) She follows this by offering sound advice on the need for authentic Catholicism, a sincere prayer life, and the community aspect of the faith that is so necessary.
One area in particular that I appreciated was her focus on using the right medium to evangelize and echoes Rhetoric when she says, “Where we spend our time usually is where our heart is. Finding a medium that can reach that point of interest is a good step in the right direction.” (p.44) Allowing the Holy Spirit to work through you requires a great deal of discernment and, sometimes, that even means that there are situations we need to step away from physically. Yet, this is not stepping away from praying for the salvation of the person nor ceasing to offer up sufferings for their sake.
At the core of her message is the power of intercessory prayer and how we work with the Holy Spirit; we aren’t the one who actually brings forth fruit. This is why much of her advice is modeled after the way Jesus asked questions; and how that deeply impacted those He interacted with. So too, she notes the following: “There are two trends happening among those converting. The first is that Catholics who know very little about the faith are leaving it for community offered by Protestant churches. Meanwhile, well-educated Protestants are joining the Catholic faith because their research continually points back to Catholicism.”(p.73)
I recommend this book for those who want to begin nudging their own families and friends towards the truth of the Catholic faith.