At the NCCL conference in Buffalo, Dr. Tim Hogan presented a keynote, Encountering Who? The Gift of the Cultural Hurricane: How to build Bridges that Empower Parents and Transform Catholic Families. A facilitated conversation with evangelization leaders followed asking the question, “What are the gifts in the cultural hurricane and how can we respond?”
The conversation began with leaders from Texas and Florida, those who live in areas where hurricanes occur. They recalled their experience of hurricanes, sharing it is not the destruction of the hurricane remembered, but the gift of gathering, the communal aspect resulting that is life-giving, significant and remembered before during and after the hurricane.
From this starting point, the group reflected on and began answering the following question: “If a real hurricane can bring about communal gifts, can a cultural hurricane bring about similar gifts?” Collectively hospitality, hope and healing were discovered to be the gifts of the cultural hurricane.
The following is a synopsis of our discussion on the cultural hurricane and some suggestions on how we might respond in our faith communities.
Hospitality: Discover who may be excluded or marginalized and welcome them.
Hope: Consider offering hope in Jesus Christ in response to the challenges people and families face.
Healing: Find opportunities for healing and restoration.
Dr. Tim Hogan describes the cultural shift as a hurricane. But unlike a hurricane, the shift of the culture did not happen in one day, nor could anyone expect healing and restoration to occur quickly. We can do it by starting a conversation, searching for one gift present, and responding one step at a time in a hospitable, hopeful, and healing way. Be not afraid and remember the words of Jesus, “I am with you always.”