Sunday, September 9, 2012

Turning Skepticism Into Openness

“The body, and only the body, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine.” – Pope John Paul II, TOB 46:6

We used Up as an example in our talk because they are the cutest Disney couple ever!
A few weeks back the wonderful couple that taught us NFP asked us if we could step in to give the pre-cana talk on marriage and sexuality. They are part of the Air Force and were moving to a base in California. We of course jumped at the chance to help spread the word about NFP.

Pre-cana is the Catholic Church’s version of marriage prep. The marriage at Cana was where Christ performed his first public miracle when He turned water to wine at the urging of His mother. A fitting name for marriage prep, don’t you think? Today I felt like I was turning skepticism into openness, or at least attempting to.

After we agreed to give the talk, we went and sat in on one. It’s hard coming from an environment that is so pro-NFP to one that is literally hostile to the idea. Our teaching couple got up there and shared their hearts out, but mostly what they got in return were closed minds and skeptic hearts. I was a little terrified at what we were going to face when it came our turn.

I’m an editor by trade, but I don’t always take criticism well. I can dish it out, but I can’t take it. I know, total hypocrisy, but that’s the honest truth, and I’m working on it (just don’t go editing this now). At the end of the pre-cana session the couples listening get to give us feedback. I think some of the people need a new definition of feedback. Feedback should be constructive, not destructive.  But, there were a few shining, hopeful statements in the bunch, which is ultimately what we are after. Maybe this is God’s way of making me better at taking criticism?

Anyway today we gave our first pre-cana talk! I literally worked on it every evening for the past week because I wanted to appeal to both those couples open to NFP and those using contraceptives. To do that, we used the quote at the top as the basis for our talk. We talked about how ultimately this talk wasn’t about sex; it was about respect of your body, your spouse’s body, and the body of your marriage when you become one flesh in the sacrament (Ephesians 5:28-31). I hope to have a blog post about more on that later.

Anyway, there were only five couples this time. A really small class, but we were thankful for that since this was our first go at it. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, our notes weren’t visible on the screen that showed our PPT slides. So we had to wing it a little bit. I think it helped, but it did run us over our time about 15 minutes. Oops. The couple that hosts the pre-cana came up to us afterward though and said they would increase our time allotted in the future because they loved the points we were making. Yeah!! Sorry future pre-cana people!

The highlight of all of this is that out of the five couples, two couples said they were really interested in taking the class and would be looking us or another local teacher up in the near future! Another couple said they would be looking into adoption since we spoke about infertility issues and the amazing options out there for couples that are loving and morally sound. Not sure what the thoughts of the other two couples were, but we should get our evaluations soon … finger-crossed!

This will probably be a never-ending process of modifying our talk for pre-cana, so if you have any thoughts or suggestions for us about what would appeal to you if you were in the seats, leave me a comment. Ben and I would greatly appreciate it!


Angelic_PAX said...

Hey Karina,
Great job you guys are doing at spreading the NFP gospel! Do they incorporate Theology of the Body? We were only required to take the "To Trust Again Class" since I was married before. So many people these days are getting "back" into the church and may not have been avid church goers before they decided to "tie the knot." Theology of the body is a good way to get them "roped" back in.
We went to SC for a week, picked up a church bulletin while we were there and I noticed they print in black & white about cohabitation and separation thereof if you are considering marriage. I thought "kudos" for this church! Anyhow, those were just my thoughts. So proud of you two! - Shelly

Karina and Ben said...

Thanks, Shelly. We did try to include some points of TOB into our talk, but there is so much to choose from! Hopefully we can work even more on making that a central theme throughout instead of a few slides because really NFP is all about respecting the body.