NOTE: This is Video #4 in my new 5-part series “Why It’s Time for a Catholic Dumbledore’s Army (and Why You Need to Join)”! Watch the video above or read the transcript below. And sign up to get the rest of the videos at CatholicHogwarts.com!
Welcome back to this free video series on “Why It’s Time for a Catholic Dumbledore’s Army (and Why You Need to Join)”!
I’m Brandon Vogt, bestselling author of seven books, including Why I Am Catholic and RETURN. I also work for Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.
Let’s quickly recap what we’ve learned so far in this series (and by the way, if you missed any previous videos, just click the videos on this page to go back and watch.)
In Video #1, we learned how Harry Potter saved the entire wizarding world by creating Dumbledore’s Army. It was a brilliant strategy.
In Video #2, we saw why we Catholics are in the same position as Harry and his friends: we’re in a battle, we need practical skills, a leader, a community, all that stuff, but we’re just not getting those things from our parishes and institutions. So we need to learn them ourselves. We need a Catholic Dumbledore’s Army.
Then in Video #3, the last video, we learned how Harry Potter and Thomas Aquinas both followed the same pattern to become masters in their crafts. They learned three things. In Harry’s case, the three things were good spells, the opponent’s curses, and the counter-curses. For Thomas, it was Catholic beliefs, the best objections to those beliefs, and how to answer those objections. Same pattern in both cases.
But all of this raises an obvious question, which we’ll discuss in this video: won’t all this stuff take a long time? Won’t it take a long time to form this Catholic Dumbledore’s Army, and then to learn and practice all these things?
Well, what if I told you could master any hot-button issue and discuss it like Dumbledore, in just 15 minutes per week?
Now, I know that’s a bold claim. Fifteen minutes a week? That sounds crazy, so let me unpack it for you and show you how.
First, let’s go back to my conversion again. In the first video, I explained how after becoming Catholic, I was faced with so many challenges and objections, many of which I just couldn’t answer. I was frustrated and scared.
So in response, I spent many hours reading. I easily read 50 books during my conversion period, which meant conservatively, at five hours per book, I spent over 250 hours reading and studying. Two hundred fifty hours! I thought that’s what it took to get up to speed on these issues, to confidently handle the toughest objections and questions.
I followed the same pattern, over and over. I would be confronted with a tough challenge, whether it was atheism, same-sex marriage, abortion, or science, questions I just couldn’t answer without sounding nervous and confused.
Then after I failed to answer, my next move was to absorb as much as I possibly could on the topic—I gorged myself on books, blogs, articles, podcasts, videos, whatever I could find.
You might call it the Cookie Monster Solution—num, num, num, num, num—just shoving everything into my mouth. I wanted to inhale and absorb everything I could.
But as I discovered, and I’m sure you can guess, that strategy didn’t work. There were two major problems with it:
First, it just took a ton of time. In order to get clear and confident about any one issue, I had to read maybe five books per issue, which meant I was spending 25 hours trying to get clear about each subject. And those books were in addition to the other stuff I was absorbing—videos, podcasts, articles, and more. So that’s one big problem—it just took way too much time.
Here’s the second problem, though: it led to information overload. You know what this is like, right? I was taking in so much stuff, and most of it I really didn’t need. But my hope was that, over time, the really valuable stuff would just float to the surface and stick in my mind.
But how many of you have tried that strategy? You know exactly how it works out, right? It doesn’t!
What I came to realize was that 95% of what I was reading was irrelevant, at least when it came to my conversations with friends and family. I just wouldn’t use 95% of that stuff in those discussions.
But that still left me with a problem: how could I identify the 5% I actually needed? How could I separate the 95% of fluff, the 95% I didn’t really need, from the critical 5% that I really needed, the 5% of key facts, tips, and strategies that really made a difference in my real conversations?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the other 95% is pointless or uninteresting. I’m not saying don’t read books or don’t study.
It’s just that relative to this particular goal—being able to confidently discuss thorny religious and moral questions with your friends and family—most of the information out there just isn’t going to pay off. It’s interesting, but it’s not a good investment of your time.
I’m guessing when it comes to the tough issues of our day—same-sex marriage, transgenderism, faith and science, atheism, the sex-abuse crisis—you desperately want to get up to speed so you know what to say and how to say it, but you also don’t have 25 hours to spend researching every topic, right?
You don’t have time to read 50 books on these topics—you just don’t. You’re busy and you have so many other things going on.
So what you need is someone who has already done the hard work for you, someone who has absorbed all that information and has determined exactly what you need to succeed, and gives you just that, without any fluff. You need someone who can help you identify the key 5% of ideas, and boil it all down to a few simple things you need to know, in just a few minutes a week.
In other words, think back to Dumbledore’s Army: what you basically need is someone like Harry Potter, someone who is maybe just a few steps ahead of you in this area, someone who has already studied, who has already tried these things out in the trenches to verify what works and what doesn’t, so he can share exactly what you need to know and not waste your time with additional facts and theory.
Well, here’s the good news: for Catholics, this actually exists.
It’s called ClaritasU, and it’s the online movement I founded a couple years ago. After having all these epiphanies about Harry Potter, Thomas Aquinas, the 5% and the 95%, I yearned for something like a Catholic Dumbledore’s Army, some community, some movement where I could learn all this stuff, practice it, try it out, and prepare myself for the battles and conversations I was having.
But such a thing didn’t exist. So I did what Harry and his friends did: I created it!
Think of ClaritasU as a Catholic Dumbledore’s Army, the thing we’ve been talking about during this whole video series. It’s designed to make you a clear and confident Catholic, and to do it fast.
ClaritasU filters out the 95% to give you the 5% of information and skills that will really make a difference in your conversations, so you can discuss all the hot-button issues with ease, without wasting your time.
Now, at this point, I know you’re probably wondering: “OK, this sounds amazing, but how exactly does it work?” Good question.
Here’s how: we have big community inside ClaritasU, and every two months, we all turn our focus to one hot-button topic. And we learn about that topic through a series of video lessons, which I teach, as well as discussions and role-playing in our community area.
So think of ClaritasU like a series of online courses, each lasting for two months. So for two months we might focus on atheism, then two months on same-sex marriage, then two months on transgenderism, and so on. Make sense?
Now during those two-month periods, you get you one short video lesson per week—that’s it! The video lessons are usually 10-15 minutes long, and that’s the only thing you have to watch during the week. I send it to you via email.
And that’s it. There are no other requirements at ClaritasU. There’s no homework, there’s no additional reading, no additional steps. You just open the email, click play, and spend 10-15 minutes learning the key tips and strategies you need to know that week—the 5% that really matters.
Then by the end of two months, after watching the videos, you’ll be totally prepared to discuss whatever hot-button issue we’re covering.
Now, this has worked over and over, for thousands of students. You’ll be clear and confident, able to talk about the issue with anyone, whether skeptical friends, children, family, or co-workers.
You see, again, here’s what makes it so great: I’ve already done the hard work for you. For each one of these issues, I’ve already read the books. I’ve already spent 25 hours or more on each topic. I’ve already honed these strategies in conversations with real skeptics. I’ve already separated the 5% (the key nuggets you need) from the 95% of stuff you don’t really need in order to confidently discuss these things.
I’ve done all that for you so that you don’t have to, so you can save the time and effort.
Just listen to what Gabriela says. She’s one of our thousands of students at ClaritasU. She’s a high-school theology teacher. It came time for her to teach her high-schoolers about same-sex marriage, and that’s an intimidating topic for many high-school teachers.
I mean just think about: imagine you had to get up, right now, and teach a class full of high-schoolers of same-sex marriage. What would you say? Most of us would be nervous!
But then Gabriela went through my ClaritasU course on same-sex marriage, which quickly gave her the 5% she needed to know, and the exact talking points. She then emailed me to say this:
Isn’t that awesome?? Within just a few minutes of watching the same-sex marriage course videos, she was able to master the topic and explain it to a room full of high-schoolers, probably the most skeptical audience around!
And it didn’t take her years and years, or hundreds of books and articles; it took her just 15 minutes per week, to watch each video lesson.
Again, if you just stick to the 5% that really matters, you can master ANY hot-button issue and discuss it like Dumbledore, in just 15 minutes per week.
Now, I know you might also be thinking: “OK, I know the three things I need to memorize, and I get the 5% thing. But couldn’t I do all that myself? Couldn’t I find all the information I need on my own, by reading books and blogs, searching online, or listening to podcasts?”
Well, it’s true that you can find a ton of information for free on the Internet, or even by driving down to the library. So you could definitely go that direction. But there are a few reasons why that’s a bad idea.
First, you’ll inevitably get information overload. There’s just so much out there, it’s tough to find the stuff you really need, the stuff that’s really effective in conversation.
I mean, how many times have you looked something up on Google, then you start reading one article, which leads to another, and another, until you’ve read 10 articles and then afterward, you still feel stressed and frustrated because you’re hardly better off than before?
The second problem is time. It just takes too long to sift through all the websites, blogs, articles, podcasts, and books to find what you need. And most of us don’t have that much time, right?
Again, it’s kind of like Hogwarts. Sure, any of the wizarding students could have spent days and days in the library, trying to find the books and spells they needed on their own, but they didn’t have time. The battle was nearing; the clock was ticking. Voldemort was on the move.
What they needed was a leader who could bypass all of that and teach them only the important skills they needed, and fast, without wasting time—and that’s what Harry Potter did for them.
Finally, one more point: this isn’t just about getting information into our heads. If all you needed was information, then sure, you could park yourself in a library for a couple weeks, come out, and you would be the most confident Catholic in the world.
But we know life doesn’t work like that, right? What you also need is practical experience. You need to try out these tactics with friendly partners, you need to ask questions, you need to get feedback from others and improve.
And you just can’t get any of that from a book. I love books, but here’s one big problem with them: the author cannot interact with you. That’s why you need a Catholic Dumbledore’s Army, a community of living, breathing friends and coaches who can work with you, grow with you, and offer feedback and encouragement.
Now, at this point, you’re probably eager to learn more about ClaritasU and how you can join thousands of other Catholics inside this Catholic Dumbledore’s Army.
But hang tight, the doors aren’t open just yet. In the next video, which you’ll get in a couple days, I’ll give you all the details on how to sign up, and how it will change your life, as it already has for so many others.
But in the meantime, before we go today, I want you to leave a comment right below this video and tell me this: If you could master ANY hot-button topic, and speak about it like Dumbledore, which topic would you pick?
Tell me: is it atheism? Science? Same-sex marriage? Transgenderism? The abuse crisis? What is it? I want to know, so tell me in the comment box.
Again, I’m going to read every single comment here, and I’ll respond to as many as I can.
Also, please share this link on Facebook, Twitter, or by emailing it to your friends and fellow parishioners. I want to draw as many Catholics as possible into this movement.
Finally, be sure to pop your email below so you get Video #5, the final video, as soon as it goes live in a couple days.
This is super important, because when I activate Video #5, and the doors open to ClaritasU, lots of people are going to rush in and I don’t want you get squeezed out.
Again, thanks so much for watching this video, and I’ll see you in Video #5, in just a couple days!