We Aim Too Low
The danger is not aiming too high and missing. It’s aiming too low and succeeding.
There can be a lot of gray hair at church.
(I say this as someone who notices more of my own gray hair every time I get a haircut.)
For those of us who go to church, it can be painful to see a lack of young people. As a result, we might focus on what we can do to “get” and “keep” them. However, as Leonard DeLorenzo of Notre Dame argues, such a focus is not so helpful:
Fear of loss leads to loss. The point of evangelization is to form and free people willing to risk standing before the wounds and sins and violence of this world, to be the healers. If we just try to “keep them,” we will lose them.
A common response to the lack of young people is to try to water things down. If we make it less of a burden for people to go to church, the thinking goes, then more people will show up. If we downplay some of the hard teachings, one might think, then more people will stay.
In the process, we can lose what's gripping.
Watering things down doesn't appear to be particularly effective — or faithful to the Gospel.
Michelangelo once said, “The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”
Aiming high intimidates us, but nothing is more exciting.