"The Church exists to evangelize.” These words from Evangelii Nuntiandi express the very nature of our mission. But what is evangelization? And how ought we to express Christ in the culture around us? In this episode, Bishop Robert Barron answers these questions and offers advice on exactly how an evangelist can move into the culture and plant the seeds of Christ. Evangelizing the Culture is the second of the eight principles of the Word on Fire ethos. Finally, a listener calls in to ask how he might evangelize his lukewarm parents. 

Topics Discussed

  • 0:17 – Intro and Bishop Barron's new award
  • 2:15 - What does it mean to "evangelize the culture"?
  • 6:40 - How can evangelizing the culture solve the problems of the Church and the culture?
  • 11:50 - How can we see Christ in our surroundings?
  • 15:24 - How do engage the culture without falling into sin?
  • 18:45 - Why was Tolkien so effective at evangelizing the culture?
  • 21:30 - How does the Church community (including the saints) serve evangelization?
  • 23:15 - What's the proper approach for drawing the world to Christ?
  • 24:38 - Question from listener: How do we re-evangelize our parents who grew up in the faith but now lack a relationship with Jesus?

Bonus Resources

Jesus boldly proclaimed, “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. In order to be His disciple, one must make Jesus Christ the foundation of life and proclaim His Lordship in every area of life. Much like the rose window in Chartres Cathedral, a well ordered soul revolves around the great center, which is Christ. In this episode, Bishop Robert Barron begins a series called The Eight Principles of the Word on Fire Ethos with this key principle, namely, "Christocentrism". Bishop explains how we go about making Christ the priority of our lives, and why we must know who Jesus is in order to do so. The listener questions asks why the Sacred Heart of Jesus is so important in Christian devotion. 

Topics Discussed
  • 0:17  - Introduction, Bishop's recent trip to Mundelein Seminary.
  • 2:00 - What is Christocentrism?
  • 5:53 - Is it possible to be too obsessed with Jesus?
  • 7:20 - Why is it important not to domesticate the real Jesus?
  • 8:45 - How should we read the difficult truths Jesus spoke?
  • 10:45 - How do we make Jesus the center of our lives?
  • 15:22 - Question from listener: Why is the Sacred Heart of Jesus is so important in Christian devotion?

Bonus Resources

Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation has certainly emerged as the most talked-about religious book of 2017. There is a widely-felt instinct that something has gone rather deeply wrong with the culture and that classical Christianity, at least in the West, is in a bit of a mess. So, do we need the Benedict Option now? In this episode, Bishop Robert Barron discusses the upsides and the pitfalls of employing the Benedict option during these difficult times. The listener question wonders how Christians should engage the political arena. Topics Discussed
  • 0:17  - Introduction, New announcement regarding Pivotal Players: Volume 2.
  • 3:42 - Has something gone terribly wrong in our society?
  • 4:36 - What are Bishop Barron's thoughts on the Benedict Option as a proposal?
  • 6:30 - Who was Saint Benedict and how can he help solve our modern problems?
  • 8:50 - How is Noah's Ark a good symbol for the Benedict Option?
  • 11:23 - What is the identity/relevance dilemma?
  • 13:55 - How does St. John Paul II relate to the Benedict Option?
  • 18:10 - Should the Church pull back on political engagement?
  • 22:05 - Should Christians pull out of society and live in separate communities?
  • 24:30 - Is homeschooling the best option for Christian children?
  • 28:15 - Should we avoid occupations that will force us to compromise our values?
  • 31:20 - Should we avoid technology as Christians?
  • 34:33 - Question from listener: Should Christians be active in the political arena?

Bonus Resources

The Case for Christ is a film adaptation of Lee Strobel’s best-selling book of the same name, one that has made an enormous splash in Evangelical circles and beyond. It is the true story of a young, ambitious (and atheist) reporter for the Chicago Tribune, who fell into a psychological and spiritual crisis when his wife became a Christian. In an attempt to bring his wife back to atheism, Lee used his considerable analytical and investigative skills to debunk the resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus didn’t rise, Strobel realizes, all of Christianity crumbles like a house of cards. In this episode, Bishop Robert Barron walks alongside Strobel through many of the common claims against the Resurrection of Jesus and explains why each lacks credibility in the face of real historical evidence. The listener question wonders how he might overcome objections from his loved ones as he joins the Church. Topics Discussed
  • 0:17  - Introduction, Bishop's recent Confirmations.
  • 2:40 - What is The Case for Christ about?
  • 4:36 - Is it wrong to ask hard questions about your faith?
  • 7:10 - How is historical evidence used in the evaluation of the Christian faith?
  • 9:00 - What's wrong with seeing the Resurrection as a symbol of myth?
  • 12:30 - Is it possible that the witnesses of the Resurrection were hallucinating?
  • 16:30 - Is it possible that Jesus didn't die on the cross but simply fainted and was fully revived three days later?
  • 20:24 - How do the claims against the Resurrection hold up against the historical evidence as a whole?
  • 23:35 - How do people become convinced that the Resurrection is true?
  • 25:41 - What was the converging moment for Lee Strobel?
  • 27:24 - Question from listener: What do you do when your friends and family don't support your decision to join the Church?

Bonus Resources

The Netflix original series The Crown, which has to do with the last months of the reign of King George VI and the first years of the reign of his daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, demonstrates how societies must be grounded in God-given moral values for them to flourish. In this episode, Bishop Barron brings to light the theological underpinnings of the show, which serve as an encouragement for anyone struggling to pursue God's plan for her life. The listener question asks how Bishop Barron is able to discover spiritual themes in popular media. Please Go to iTunes and Leave us a Review! Topics Discussed
  • 0:17  - Introduction and a reprisal of Bishop's “Simpsons” visit.
  • 3:10 - What makes The Crown such good TV?
  • 5:20 - How was the Queen's coronation a call from God to carry out her duty?
  • 8:40 - How would compare the English monarchy to our American democracy?
  • 13:30 - How is it that God anointed her to be queen when she clearly had circumstance put her there?
  • 15:10 - How does God's plan for our lives tend to upset the comfort of our lives and our relationships?
  • 20:22 - What advice would Bishop give to priests who are ordained to fulfill God's mission?
  • 23:00 - Why are Americans so attracted to the idea of monarchies? Is there a biblical nostalgia in that somehow?
  • 25:38 - Question from listener: How does Bishop Barron draw out Christian themes from popular media?

Bonus Resources

 
Thomas Joseph White's book The Incarnate Lord discusses the importance of Jesus' identity. The classical tradition of Christology understood Jesus ontologically, that is to say, in terms of his fundamental being or existential identity; whereas modern and contemporary Christology tends to understand Jesus psychologically or relationally. The transition from an ontological Christology to a consciousness Christology has conduced toward all manner of relativism, subjectivism, indifferentism, and the attenuation of evangelical zeal. In this episode, Bishop Robert Barron unpacks these theological concepts and explains their consequences in familiar terms. The listener question asks about the Jesus Seminar of the Westar Institute. Topics Discussed
  • 0:17  - Introduction, Chesterton, and Bishop's recent trip.
  • 3:00 - What is Christology and why does it matter?
  • 4:55 - Why does high-level theology matter?
  • 7:28 - What is the major difference with modern Christology?
  • 10:58 - Who is Jesus?
  • 13:20 - What are the ramifications of reading Jesus with a psychological priority rather than an ontological priority?
  • 15:00 - How is the emphasis on Jesus' ontology make Christianity unique compared to other religions?
  • 18:20 - What was the theological priority of the early Church?
  • 19:45 - What are some of the insights we learn about Jesus from Saint Thomas Aquinas?
  • 25:15 - What books does Bishop Barron recommend for studying Christology?
  • 27:00 - Question from listener: What does Bishop Barron think about the Jesus Seminar of the Westar Institute?

Bonus Resources

What words might you use to describe the priesthood? Priests often describe their own lives as happy, bold, exciting, studious, Spirit-filled, and love-oriented. While these adjectives are certainly accurate, the priesthood must also be described as heroic, for priests die to themselves and give their lives utterly to Christ and His people. In this episode of the Word on Fire Show, Bishop Barron explains the radical self-gift demanded by the priesthood as well as the lavish graces God pours back into the life of each priest. The listener question asks how parents might nurture religious vocations in their children. Visit HeroicPriesthood.com to watch our Emmy-nominated short film after this episode!

Topics Discussed

  • 0:17 – Intro and Bishop attends a table reading for The Simpsons
  • 3:33 - What is the "Heroic Priesthood" and, how is each baptized person is a priest?
  • 5:50 - Why do we still need ordained priests?
  • 9:25 - How is the priesthood uniquely heroic?
  • 11:28 - Did Bishop Barron ever have second thoughts about becoming a priest?
  • 12:30 - How did Bishop Barron decide to become a priest?
  • 14:30 - How is being a priest rebellious?
  • 15:30 - Why is celibacy absolutely necessary in the priesthood?
  • 17:55 - What are Bishop Barron's favorite things about being a priest?
  • 22:10 - Do you have to be a scholar to become a priest?
  • 26:00 - What advice does Bishop Barron have for those considering the priesthood?
  • 28:12 - Question from listener: What advice does Bishop Barron have for parents who want to nurture religious vocations in their children?

Bonus Resources

Truth, beauty, and goodness are the three transcendentals that draw people to belief in God. As important as rational arguments and beautiful artwork are for preserving and sharing the faith, Christian goodness has proven to be an explosively powerful means of evangelization over the centuries. In this episode of the Word on Fire Show, Bishop Barron explains the history of Christian moral goodness and discusses how this unique way of charity continues to bring people to Christ. Finally, a listener asks who inspires Bishop Barron.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:17 – Intro and Bishop meets William Friedkin
  • 3:33 - How is Christian moral goodness unique and attractive?
  • 6:57 - How did the early Christians evangelize through goodness?
  • 9:58 - Does our Christian goodness remain distinct amidst our modern culture?
  • 11:50 - What did the medieval Christian goodness look like?
  • 13:51 - How was Saint Francis one of the greatest evangelists of all time?
  • 16:04 - How did Saint Teresa of Calcutta become the most powerful evangelist of the twentieth century?
  • 17:54 - How did Saint Gregory the Wonderworker encourage evangelization?
  • 20:25 - As Christians, how do we remain charitable even when we don't feel motivated to be radically good?
  • 22:17 - How do we evangelize with goodness today?
  • 24:38 - Question from listener: Who inspires Bishop Barron?

Bonus Resources

Lent is a time where Catholics go "into the desert" and confront all the sins that keep us from perfect communion with God. We offer Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that we might be strengthened for our journey into the Divine Life. During this trial (and all trials), Catholics can take heart in the certain joy of Easter, the great Christian hope of the Resurrection. In this episode of the Word on Fire Show, Bishop Barron explains the hope on offer in Christianity and discusses how we can cling to this unique hope regardless of our circumstances. Finally, a listener asks how to cultivate an emotional connection with God.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:17 – Intro and recap of the 2017 LA. Congress
  • 2:30 - How would you define hope?
  • 5:25 - What's the difference between hoping for something and placing your hope in something?
  • 7:20 - Why is it important to put our hope in God?
  • 10:0o - What about putting our hope in romantic love and family?
  • 14:00 - If we put our hope in God, can we expect to get what we want from life?
  • 15:40 - How does putting our hope in God change us?
  • 18:20 - How is the Christian hope different from other religions?
  • 19:55 - How does having a spirit of detachment allow you to find hope in Christ?
  • 23:14 - How living a hope-filled life comes down to loving others as Christ loved us.
  • 24:38 - Question from listener: How can one cultivate an emotional connection with God?

Bonus Resources

Is it ever necessary to label ourselves? Is it ever ok to label anyone else? Not according to internet celebrity and spoken-word poet, Prince Ea, whose viral video entitled "I Am Not Black, You Are Not White" claims that labels are the root of all social ills and that our identity is entirely separate from our physical reality. The video has reached over 100 million views on Facebook and over 11 million views on Youtube with an overwhelming approval rating (300 to 1 like to dislike ratio). The most liked comment on Youtube reads, "They showed this to us in school." In this episode of The Word on Fire Show, Bishop Barron critiques each segment of the argument posed by the young poet and explains the philosophical history behind this radical, yet widely accepted argument. The listener question asks for a book suggestion that encourages teens to return to the Church.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:17  - Introduction, Bishop Barron's recent happenings
  • 1:58 - Segment 1: "Our bodies are just cars", Bishop's response
  • 6:18 - What are some of the dangers of bifurcating our selves and our bodies?
  • 7:40 - Segment 2: "Who we truly are is found inside", Bishop's response
  • 11:50 - What is the difference with the Catholic perspective on bodies and labels?
  • 15:10 - Segment 3: "Every war has started over labels", Bishop's response
  • 18:15 - How are labels used in the book of Genesis?
  • 21:30 - Segment 4: "Until we stop thinking so small we won't be free to see each other as we truly are", Bishop's response
  • 26:39 - Listener Question: What book would Bishop recommend to bring teens back into the Church?
Bonus Resources