As others filed in, Fr. Rich inquired about the book in my hands, thinking I'd purchased it on site. I explained that I'd taken it from a church library in the process of being purged and had it autographed. As I opened the book to show the author's signature, my right hand trembled uncontrollably. I had no idea how nervous I was to talk with him. He noticed and moved on rather quickly.
He explained to us that he named his lecture long before he developed its contents because that's marketing's timetable. Here's the blurb (click to enlarge):
We began with a hymn by Bernadette Farrell which I didn't really know (lyrics). He cited the contrasts between ourselves and Abram: he had no Bible, no catechism; he barely knew God but obeyed. He walked everywhere; we drive down the street. He started in Genesis 12 and pointed out that God always takes the initiative.
He quoted 1 John 4:10 to demonstrate God's initiative:
"In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us ..."I had a Bible but he said that his Powerpoint slides contained all the verses cited in his lecture. Besides, the mini pull-up desktop wasn't large enough for my notebook and a Bible.
He moved on to Genesis 18, the promise of Isaac and he gave an informally dramatic reading of the exchange between Sarah and God over whether she laughed at the promise or not. Later in the same chapter, he read the exchange between Abraham and God as Abraham pleads for Sodom and Gomorrah. He said that he grew up liking Noah, probably because the story had lots of cute animals. But now he sees that Noah sold everyone out and should have pleaded for people's lives like Abraham did!
He admitted that Genesis 22 is one of the more difficult chapters in the Bible to take. He displayed several instances of famous paintings and shared that Caravaggio's is his favorite because the artist "gets it right" in terms of emotion. He said it's an instance of Abraham finding out that God is different from the Canaanites' gods and he referred us to Micah 6:8 for what God expects of us:
You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.He quoted Lewis which I knew well:
"Remember, I had always wanted, above all things, not to be 'interfered with.' I had wanted (mad wish) 'to call my soul my own.' I had been far more anxious to avoid suffering than to achieve delight. I had always aimed at limited liabilities."He said we need to be more open to God's calling.
Here are workshop descriptions of the other options for the morning session (click to enlarge):
Of course, Dr. Schubert (#6) was a close second choice. All these presenters are well-known in the diocese and I believe Fr. Bausch's reputation extends beyond the diocesan borders because he's published books which have not always garnered favorable reviews.
To my best recollection, I've never met Fr. Bausch. I've never heard him lecture. I know people from St. Mary's in Colts Neck who are his devotees. I give him the benefit of the doubt and respect his professional accomplishments, but I've never myself consciously been a fan of his.