“Just go through him.”
Really, the strategy is a widely-employed one, manifested in most mainstream sports, largely for the purpose of leveraging our size, speed or skill against otherwise unprepared competition. If your opponent can’t handle the moment, take the ball to the lane and force the foul. Lower your shoulder and render the opposition between you and the net one less. Drive your volley through his body.
At its foundation, this concept of driving your athletic output through an opponent’s attempt to stop you is itself conditional upon the unpreparedness of your competition. If they’re off-guard, two points and a layup goes your way. But if they’re ready to face what you’re sending their way, you’re likely to draw the charge.
Still, the best offensive strategies call for the synthesis of aggression and accuracy, the capacity to go through an opponent, whether they exist prepared or otherwise.
If only it was this simple when we hang up our jerseys and hit the rigor of the real world. Suddenly, left to a field of play that calls for evangelization as fevered as any offensive schematic, your go-to move is no longer afforded to you.
When it comes to spreading the Gospel, there is no “going through” an opponent.
Imagine for a moment that your next serve, jump shot, RBI, 5K or corner kick was executed for the purpose of building up the competition. This mentality proves the difference between a team of athletes and a team of disciples: one goes through an opponent; the other works through them.
The same ideology which yields so much success on the court will, and has, fostered so much failure for the Catholic cause over time. That is to say, the surest way to win a match is to work the ball through your opponent. And the surest way to lose the world’s next prospective believer is to deliver the Gospel at much the same pace.
Put simply, there’s no template for individual conversion. Evangelization, especially in a contemporary age typified by an aggressive, do-now “go through your opponent” outlook, needs to look more like falling in love, more like the planting of a seed, more like an open doorway.
One similarity remains between the aggressive on-court directive and its off-court counterpart: whether the world has its feet set or its eyes wide, the game plan is still the same. Whether the next recipient of your Gospel is ready with a rebuttal or a smile, your job is simply to recognize opportunity.
“Just go through him.” On-court, the advice is good as gold. But when trading a jersey for the real world and an open mind, you’re going to want a strategy which allows for selective offense. You’re not going to want to blow past your fellow man when faith is on the line. So long as it’s the Gospel at stake, there’s always some assembly required.