Roman Catholic 
Diocese of Ogdensburg


The Office of New Evangelization exists
To support parishes in forming
Joy-Filled, Intentional,
Missionary Disciples of Jesus Christ
So that On Fire with the Holy Spirit
They will be witnesses that
transform the culture around them.

Book Review: Messy and Foolish

messyfoolishMatthew Warner sent me a copy of this little book, Messy and Foolish: How to make a mess, Be a Fool and Evangelize the World. It is a very practical little book, although it doesn't so much answer the HOW question but rather the WHY and WHAT question: What is evangelization and why should we evangelize.  Of course the "messy" in the title refers to Pope Francis' admonition to the young people on the beach at the last World Youth Day to go out and make a mess: to not just continue to do the things we have always done, but to break out of the mold and be creative in our evangelize efforts.  And the Fool is St. Paul (look it up: First Corinthians chapter 4), the Evangelizer Extraordinaire.  
What I liked about the books is that is is short, with short chapters that pack a punch.  The book is divided into three parts: defining the problem; what foolishness looks like (living the faith radically.  Being rooted in Christ) and then in a very general way, how to begin going about evangelization.  I could see, if there are good bulk rates available, and likely through Dynamic Catholic that may be an option, to offer this book to parishioners or a young adult group as an initial "think about this" type book and follow it up with a book discussion.  It would be one way to identify folks who have a heart for evangelization, and possibly recruit them to form the core of a parish evangelization team. 
What I didn't like the book is the price point. The book retails for $19.95 and even with the 25% discount currently offered through Dynamic Catholic it only drops the price down to $14.96 For an individual hardcover book it might be a reasonable price, but looking at it from a parish perspective and wanting to distribute the information widely it is probably too expensive unless it becomes part of the Dynamic Catholic book program. We will keep an eye on the website and update this post if that happens.
Still, if you are interested in getting people excited about Evangelization, this is a good book.  It offers inspiration to go out and use your gifts, to try something new and to live radically in order to witness to the beauty of the faith.  It does so in straightforward language without the usual theological jargon.  By signing up to the email list you can also receive a free study guide, hear messy and foolish interviews.