I totally get that it can be useful to ban yourself from starting a new romance , especially when you have something specific to focus on pun not intended. When you specifically decide you will only build friendships, you see everyone on an equal pane. It seems like an untended relationship will suffer the same fate as an unweeded garden: And the weeds will grow no matter how hard you try to prevent them. I think the point is to intentionally give up an objective good. Food is not inherently bad. It can be misused e. It is necessary to survive. By voluntarily or mandatorily eating less, you are strengthening your willpower, building the virtue of temperance, and demonstrating that you can sacrifice even a fundamental need.
Plus, it can help cast out demons Mark 9: With a dating fast, the point is definitely not having more time for prayer you could pray with your significant other or intentionally building loneliness or unchastity duh. But you can live without romance. Celibacy for the sake of the kingdom is good.
Is a dating fast a good thing? Thanks to Jen and Morgan for hosting! Check out other responses on their blogs. Your email address will not be published. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. From a purely Darwinian perspective, probably not. However, for folks obsessed with finding happiness through human love rather than through Christ, it certainly could be beneficial. I got that impression from the other posts I read.
I always write my response before reading any of the others. I think it has the potential to be. If someone is going out all the time with the intent to meet someone or if someone is dating constantly so as to be jumping from one dating relationship to the next and nothing really sticks, it might be a good opportunity to revisit an old hobby or develop a new interest.
The thing about dating fasts is that I only hear super-religious people talking about them. But married people have pledged their lives to focusing on their spouse and God at the same time, so there must be something to it, right? My name is Lindsay. So today I got one of these mailers, and threw it away. But now I'm at the point where I took a closer look at the organization, and there's a couple of things which I found that, again, I think might be objectionable. I understand executives are expensive, but it's a little odd to me that 5 people being paid 6 figures are leading an organization of volunteers, while asking them to accept a lifestyle of poverty, charity, and obedience.
The discipleship program asks missionaries to quietly favor students, then ask them to be "disciples. Most schools require that on-campus clubs and organizations allow any member to have an active membership, so there is an ethical question to elaborate on there.
As well, this policy of exclusion is kind of in opposition to the more inclusive message of the gospel. I was able to acquire an electronic copy of the "student leader handbook" which is given to disciples. In it, there is much language that closely ties specific aspects of FOCUS membership to living out a magnanimous Cathoic life. My impression of the underlying message, from what I have read so far, is "follow these practices, and you will be following Christ.
My aggregate opinion of the organization as a whole, therefore, is that it aims to reach out to college kids not to help better their lives by spreading the positive message of the Gospel, but instead to evangelize its own worldview, and to spread its own religion, using Catholicism as a point of manipulation to do so. So, like, am I overreacting? What are other people's opinion of the organization?
I have heard lots of good things about FOCUS and am not necessarily encouraging you to withdraw financial support. However, if you do decide to invest that money elsewhere, I would strongly encourage you to donate to Laboure Society, Mater Ecclesiae, or your Diocesan Vocations Fund. We have so many potential priests and consecrated religious who can't enter due to student loans.
Your personal experience and interactions have led you and others to these conclusions and I am sorry that missionaries and others led you there. I want to clarify a few misconceptions that I saw and try and give everyone both sides of this coin. I won't go over every single comment, but I think some of the bigger points need to be talked about. A lot of what goes "straight into" our pockets also goes straight out of our pockets. Our ministry depends on our ability to be with university students, to invite them to our homes, to invite them to coffee or lunch or a movie or a theme park all of which I have personally done this year and in return respond to students' invitations.
Because of this, we need to have the financial freedom to do all of this and the ability to be generous with the people we work with. We pay to lead students on mission trips, we pay for flights to our conferences and to training. But what about the rest of the money, after the direct costs of ministry are totaled? Are we, in your analysis, supposed to end our time as missionaries with no savings, no money to start a career or a family?
Add to it the realities of student loans and ask yourself how a missionary is supposed to be free to give their time, effort, and money when they are in the red. I assume working in the Catholic Center you make enough money to live on. Why shouldn't a missionary? If you think recruiting a young professional to this work is hard, imagine telling them that the end of their commitment they walk away without any tools to deal with "real life" as you put it. God is generous enough to provide for me, is it wrong to accept His gifts? Training covers evangelization, catechesis, Scripture study, and the practicals of ministry as well as equipping missionaries the areas of leadership, stewardship, time management, and ordered living, as well as a retreat and optional apologetics lectures.
Time was spent outside of those three days for us to actually start going through our personal contact list, sending out letters, making calls, and booking face-to-face appointments. On to your story of the student who got drunk and was not allowed into discipleship. While I hope there was more than a single, isolated incident that led to him not being in discipleship, I will say that the missionaries were justified.
There is no such thing as a perfect disciple and there is certainly not a single perfect missionary, FOCUS or otherwise. What we require is a willingness to grow and an authenticity of action from our student leaders. It can be even more damaging. Ours is a very relationship-based ministry and if you have negative experiences from a specific person or missionary, I hope you can be understanding.
If anyone wants to talk candidly about fundraising, the dating fast, formation, whatever else, please pm me. They come off of a FOCUS high from feeling the sense of working for a higher cause and feeling the divine purpose in their work to not being able to cope with a job that doesn't involve some form of active ministry. They feel an anxiety that they can't possibly be doing the Lord's will because they're not out and about talking about Jesus with everyone anymore.
It makes for a poor adjustment to the real world and some seek another ministry job which may be what God is calling them to but we also need faithful Catholics in the secular world and secular jobs. My roommate from fourth year university suddenly makes so much more sense to me. She had just come off a year with NET. Sorry for taking so long to reply, I have not had the chance to sit down and respond until now, and I also wanted to give this some thought and prayer.
So You Wanna Go On A Dating Fast?
Ultimately, I think there is a disconnect with our different views on fundraising. What does the bible say about fundraising support for ministry? Before that, Luke Jesus says that those who labor for Him are worthy of support, who am I to tell Him I am not? Am I supposed to be bound by money and squeezing by on juuuuust enough to do this work? What about emergency savings? What about being able to afford a plane ticket to visit home? This year, four female missionaries in California had their apartment broken into: That obviously wasn't in their planned monthly budget.
I had a student who was financially written-off by her parents this year and had to pay her own tuition. Because I had saved, I was able to help her out. He does not call us to be at the bare minimum. He calls us to live lives to fullest, to be excellent and free to serve Him. It is a dangerous mindset to say that the bare minimum should be what we aspire to. And I can tell you honestly that most missionaries are under-funded, or at the goal, not over-funded to this cap.
True, I do not punch a time clock or have a 9 to 5 schedule, but that doesn't mean my hours are less. Had a horrible break-up and show up to my apartment at Come on in, I am here for you. This is a job I take incredibly seriously and lasts year-round.
The entire school year, summer training, the national conference during Christmas break, spring break mission trips, summer mission trips leave a few short weeks of the year to visit family and even then, we are asked to spend a certain number of hours visiting with our mission partners and giving them our time.
Back to the student rejected from discipleship. Again, I don't know the details, but from what you are saying about an isolated incident, then that is unfortunate and not how we are supposed to handle those situations. We certainly do not look for perfect students to be in discipleship, because there wouldn't be any.
We all make mistakes, missionaries certainly included, and if this situation was handled this badly, I hope you can approach the missionaries at your campus about it. Our philosophy is to walk with students and strive for holiness, deepen both of our relationships with the Lord, and hold each other accountable it goes both ways!
Again, if you see that the missionaries at your campus seem to be neglecting students, please please please approach them about it. There may be more to it or they may be letting some things slip, but regardless, they should be aware of the damage they are causing. This point is a dangerous point, most especially in the context of Matthew 6: If you ask people to donate to your cause, then pocket any amount of that money for your future, there is a dishonesty there.
I, as a donor, am wanting to contribute to the mission, not necessarily to your personal life goals which may or may not be in alignment with what was discussed. If you want to fundraise for your future, then please be up front about that - but do not appeal to people's Catholicism to pay your student loans. We are all sinners. To discount an individual's capacity to lead based on the status of being a sinner is pompous, judgmental, and immature.
Now I know you backpedal on this point in the very next sentence. However, all you have to go off of is that this kid got drunk on his 21st birthday, and you've already affirmed the other missionaries' decision, and passed judgment that this kid is not good enough to be a disciple. I hope you see that this is indicative of the kind of favoritism I worried about in OP. Thank you for replying and for your bluntness. I actually think that Mattew 6: If that were the message, then no Christian should save money. Jesus is telling us of the extreme generosity and love that the Father has for us.
He desires to take care of us completely and to let go of our anxieties. How freely can we give our lives to Him if we are tangled up the stress and anxiety of the world? I know that I seek first His kingdom and He provides completely for this mission He called me to. However, Jesus also says that the worker is worth His wage! If I may be blunt as well: This is God's money. All things come from Him and it is admirable that you have been giving and tithing. If you choose to end your support of FOCUS, you obviously have the intention to still give, and rightly so.
Further, if you do withdraw from those missionaries, they will be fine. The Lord will not abandon them. I am not trying to convince you to stay with them, but please recognize that these missionaries are worth their wage and it is right for them to live freely enough to give their time and work. Favoritism is a necessary reality of discipleship. We are open to all students, but the amount of time it takes to intentionally invest and train student leaders is significant. Jesus had many disciples, only twelve apostles that He invested in more, and of those, only three Peter, James, and John that He invested in even more example, the Transfiguration.
First, I understand that my income is not my own. It is why I donate to charity. It is why I don't have a savings account. It is why, in times of adoration, and in times of prayer, I continually desire to live a simpler lifestyle, so that I may even further use my time, talent, and treasure to improve the communities I am a part of, provide intentional community to those near me who are suffering, and to show that our incomes and material things do not have to control us. This is a fundamental aspect of my own mission, and a fruit of my own conversations with God.
Sure, I still suck at it. I still buy things I don't need. I'm still a sinner. Too often do I look around in the corporate world I am in, and see not only the rich fool Luke Reading this post, I see compromise. That's not how this pig flies. Please also realize that as someone with an income, I am continually seen merely as a vessel of income by those who are looking for help in their own goals, agendas, and missions.
That is to say, I do experience objectification at the hands of those same charities that claim to love and respect the dignity of the human person. So, just as an fyi, take care when pointing out to donors that their money is not their own but God's. While technically correct, it will come off in the wrong way when also trying to dictate to them how they should use it. I know you said you're not trying to convince me, but it's obvious from the second half of that same sentence that you are. But, let me step back for a moment from all of the nitty-gritty of our conversation, and ask a simple question:.
I could tell by your original post and your desire to know more that you take your tithing very seriously, and what you have just shared shows that even more. I am sorry that you have felt used or felt as if you are just a means to an end in the eyes of charities that you give to. I want to also stress that even though I believe that fundraising should not have a "bare minimum" approach but a complete confidence in the generosity of God, I do believe in living simply, in being a good steward, and in being overly generous, especially in months when a mission partner sends an extra gift.
The second half of that sentence was added for the sole purpose of explaining the mindset and attitude of fundraising and I'm sorry if that sounded like a pitch to you. As a more specific mission statement: To invite college students into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church and to inspire them and equip them for lifelong Christ-centered evangelization in which they lead others to do the same.
Thanks for the post, I had no idea that FOCUS "sold" their missionaries - I thought that was the whole point of the missionaries fundraising. This may be hearsay but from what I've been told,. Honestly I could probably understand that, young Catholic guys are a rather precious commodity and might require more of a push to recruit, since for every five enthusiastic Catholic woman there seems to be one Catholic guy, and he's considering seminary. In theory what they do works just fine.
It's meant to be very grassroots, spreading parties and bible studies through word of mouth, theoretically "open" to everyone, etc. It's also meant to get those with natural leadership skills to take on leadership positions, to spread out like a divine pyramid scheme haha over the campus. They didn't advertise them on Facebook, on Campus, etc. Spreading things through word of mouth can work great at first, but if you quit intentionally pushing the spread you're eventually going to top off and it'll become its own, massive clique.
Everyone going to have their own brand of Catholicism, and whether or not FOCUS succeeds depends on what brand the individual missionary is hawking. This isn't a bad thing, it's just how it is, and applies to any similar group. Just so you know, most Catholic charities use similar techniques to go get donations. They use every tool in their box to shake every last penny out of their supporters because that's the only way they can survive. It's not unreasonable that a top level employee would make six figures, that's the way you attract and keep the level of talent you need to be successful.
I prefer to donate to groups that either directly support vocations, directly support the vocation of a friend, or donate directly to my parish, diocese, or alma mater's endowment. I have given to a couple different Catholic charities that don't use that kind of technique one of which asked for time, talent, and treasure in that order of importance, which I think is awesome , and FOCUS is the only one I've seen so far that behaves in this way.
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Maybe I just haven't seen many Catholic charities, but it just isn't right imho. I understand executives are expensive, but it's a little odd to me that 5 people being paid 6 figures. They also all have large families -- 9, 7, 6, 5, and 5 children, respectively. I found the rest of their website completely creepy, though, to be honest. It immediately turned me off. I'll agree that the compensation for executives living in Denver is standard. Heck, it might even be on the low side.
Some of my boss's boss's boss's bosses or whatever are in Denver, and probably make at least twice that. But the difference is that they're not leading an organization that requires subordinates live lives of intentional pseudo-poverty. I'm another person who has had overwhelmingly good experiences with FOCUS, too, and I'm not sure I quite get the problem with the executive compensation here.
These executives are never going to be at the same stage of life or have the same low-level experience as the recent college students. For the organization to run well, you need to incentivize good leaders to work there.
These amounts do seem standard or low, and they probably all do have large families. I have been leading a bible study and in discipleship for 2. I love the organization, but I do see issues with it. I feel like the organization on an institutional level is problematic. People can buy into the idea of being a cog in the machine and mindlessly and lovelessly just repeat "win build send.
I have a ton of respect for the missionaries, the gig is tough! In my experiences though my campus has been blessed with an incredible group of missionaries throughout my time. The guys in particular have been incredible. The missionaries I have worked with have taken the approach that the organization provides and dialed them to the individual students.
It isn't a one size fits all approach when it is done well. As far as the second bullet point I can only speak for my campus, but the exclusive events are these things called "upper rooms" where it is kind of a rallying call to get people to reach out and start bible studies and discipleship.
Everyone is invited, but you only hear about it if someone thinks that you should be there. I have been inviting my whole bible study to everyone despite the fact that none of them lead bible studies themselves or are even super involved. People won't get turned away or anything. Its more of a thing that would not be helpful for people if they aren't in the right place. This of course brings up the question of who gets to say whether X person is ready to be challenged in this way or not, but on my campus it leans towards almost everyone getting invited especially if they show interest.
FOCUS is great on the human level but problematic on the institutional level. The exclusive events aren't really that exclusive and anyone who wants to can come to them. They also take place at like 7 am on a weekday so a lot of students don't come anyway because thats really early haha. This was mostly just splurting words out. That's the central conflict I'm getting too - on the ground level, I've only seen good things, and the missionaries I know are great.
It's also very difficult to get a financial breakdown of what goes where, which makes the whole thing more murky. I had a good time, and they all seemed like really enthusiastic, friendly people. I left feeling really good about FOCUS--even taking some of their literature about becoming a missionary with me though I was ultimately turned off by their two year "dating fast" requirement. I said yes because, well, she would be there, and so would the missionaries I met, and it all seemed like it would be a good, fruitful time.
The retreat's theme was revealed to us only after we got there. We'll listen to some theology lectures, do some quiet reflection, discuss in small groups--you know, normal retreat stuff. First of all, they made us fast all weekend. Now, fasting can be a great exercise of will and a great sacrifice to strengthen your prayer.
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And it probably would have been if I had time to prepare myself mentally. But they didn't tell us beforehand that we would be fasting, along with our spartan living conditions we were in an elementary school sleeping on classroom floors and that was the first thing that upset me. But the biggest thing was the next day, Saturday, which would be the longest day. In the morning, the first thing we did was have a lecture--pretty normal, I was still having a good time at this point--and then we went into Eucharistic Adoration and Confession.
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I was looking forward to making a good confession, so I was one of the first to go. And honestly this was the worst Confession experience of my life. The priest dwelt intensely on my sins with this look on his face like he was exorcising demons out of me. Some of my sins were sexual, and he made me recite the names of the women I had sinned with so he could pray a special prayer to "break the bonds" I had with these women.
So I left the confessional feeling pretty gross and insecure, and went back to Adoration. It was a two-hour silent Adoration. That's a long time, but nothing I couldn't handle. I read scripture and prayed, but still felt really upset about the way the priest treated my confession. After the two hours, we broke for our meal soup and bread.
Now that's just intense. Before the priest exposed the Eucharist again, we were told that we would be really diving into the Charismatic Gifts of the Holy Spirit. As in, the FOCUS "prayer team" was going to come around individually to everyone over the course of the next three hours, lay hands on them, and try to achieve the Charismatic Gifts--speaking in tongues, mind reading, causing people to weep uncontrollably or laugh. As this went on I was bewildered. When those three long, weird hours were over, they invited those who "felt called" to stay and meet individually with whichever FOCUS missionary the "Spirit was calling them to" so they could talk about their spiritual state or something, I don't know, I didn't do that.
They sent the rest of us to bed. It was like 7: We weren't allowed to stay up and talk.
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We had zero time to process what the hell just happened, and I couldn't discuss it with my friend. Now, I'm a religious studies BA who has studied cults, and honestly this was showing all the signs of it. They had the charismatic leaders, the altered state of consciousness brought on by lack of food, they manipulated us emotionally through those intense judgmental confessions, and prevented us from communicating with each other. I went on that retreat, and I felt the same way.
I did love all the adoration but I didn't get a Charismatic Gift or anything like that though several did. Also, not everyone buys into it. My discipler, who was one of the FOCUS missionaries on the prayer team, was from Louisiana and he didn't believe in all that either so he just prayed over everyone in Creole and no one could tell a difference. I've had a similar thing happen to me.