In certain quarters of the church, people say we are fighting evil or battling a corrupt culture. Especially men’s movements have adopted the warrior image — including a crusader with a bloody sword — to depict the duty and role of a Catholic male.

This overwrought imagery defies Christ’s teachings and his way of life. It also weakens our chances of evangelizing in Oregon.

We know that those who employ military images don’t mean it literally. They won’t be stabbing their foes. Theirs is spiritual warfare. But even that way of thinking is problematic since Jesus used love and surrender to work the greatest victory in the universe. The battle is already won. Our task is to take up the cross, not the sword.

Note that nonviolence is immensely powerful. Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. employed it to topple empires. Filipinos changed their government by it in 1986. Jesus used it to work our salvation.

Holy Names Sister Mary Ryan, a veteran Oregon educator, once told me that the only thing she ever saw turn a troubled child around was love. In early years in the classroom she had tried discipline and righteous anger. The tough path fails.

Love is the course we must take with culture. We have what the world wants and we need to offer it with energy, honesty and peace. If we are pugnacious, that is a poor example that will chase Oregonians away.

Yes, Satan must be opposed. But the best way to do that is through honest love and even laughter. St. Gemma Galgani and St. John Vianney laughed in the devil’s face, refusing to lower themselves to his brand of brutishness.

Let’s allow St. Michael to fight demons. Our task is to bring the world to Christ via improbable love.