Here we go again! Week 3 of Lawn Chair Catechism over at CatholicMom.com. I am loving it. This week has been a little more than hectic to say the least, but I am sticking to it. This week we cover Chapter 2 and the discussion questions can be found here
Questions for Discussion
In your own faith:
Are you comfortable talking with others about your relationship with God?
I am comfortable speaking with others about my relationship with God when asked. My husband is an atheist and so I have a hard time speaking to him about it specifically, but it has helped me to learn how to speak about my relationship with God in a way that is not perceived as a push towards faith (although it really is, I mean how can’t it be?). I’ve learned how to perspectivize (if that’s a word) and even provide nuggets of my relationship through a lens that doesn’t come across as a bull in a china shop. Know your audience. Get it?
Our idea of “normal” Christian life is skewed. We consider an interest in the spiritual life to be an exception, and not the norm. To combat this mistake, the first Catholic discipleship group Sherry belonged to wrote a series of resolutions as part of their mission statement (here are a few excerpts from their longer list):
. . . It is NORMAL for lay Catholics to be excited Christian activists.
. . . It is NORMAL for lay Catholics to be knowledgeable of their faith, the Scriptures, the doctrinal and moral teachings of the Church, and the history of the Church.
. . . It is NORMAL for lay Catholics to have fellowship of other committed lay Catholics available to them, to encourage, nurture, and discern as they attempt to follow Jesus.
. . . It is NORMAL for the local parish to function consciously as a house for formation for lay Catholics.
Would you say that you’re a “normal” Catholic using the criteria outlined above? Or are you a “typical” Catholic, fighting that feeling that interest in the faith is only for a few pious eccentrics?
I am totally NORMAL or “normal” but I feel I am the minority. One time, I had to teach a cradle Catholic how to find passages in the bible! I didn’t pat myself on the back, believe me! I did speak with my friend K, and she said that we converts have all the fun because we are coming from a new and fresh perspective (there’s that word again) while Cradle Catholics may not have the “always new and fresh” faith. BUT, I had the pleasure of reading this piece that Christian LeBlanc recommended and maybe we can all have fun.
I don’t speak with my RCIA group very much with the exception of one who happens to be my son’s piano teacher. I will be moving in right next door to the Deacon who taught my RCIA class, so maybe then I can get our group back together. We were VERY disciple-ish the last few weeks of RCIA when we “broke open” Scripture and talked about the Woman at the Well and Lazarus for the Scrutinies.
In your parish:
Do you personally have, within your parish, a group of Catholics you meet with regularly, to discuss the faith, study the faith, and encourage each other to greater virtue?
We have things like the Catholicism series, and a formal Bible study for women. I don’t know how well the former is attended. I know that the Bible study for women studies more books incorporating belief and not so much Bible strictly speaking. I don’t attend because it takes place when I work. I am hoping to start my own group – had our first meeting Saturday at 7:30AM! About this book in particular and faith, our relationships with God – it was invigorating and wonderful. But just two of us. What is it…? “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Matthew 18:20
At this time, does your parish have in place a working system for actively mentoring those who want to grow in their relationship with God?
I saw something VERY briefly in the parish bulletin about signing up for spiritual direction. Briefly as in, it was there one week and gone the next. I think the disconnect is bringing the bulletin to the podium and having an announcement made. The assumption is that people will read (or in my case scour) the bulletins and most people just toss them.
My key takeaway was knowing that I was “NORMAL”. It’s normal to be so excited and so thrilled to be on this journey – to want to dive in and consume scripture. I fill up my little Kindle with books about church history, doctrine, social teaching and the like. Bells went off in my head like a five alarm fire when I read this:
Catholics have come to regard it as normal and deeply Catholic to not talk about the first journey — their relationship with God — except in confession or spiritual direction. This attitude is so pervasive in Catholic communities that we have started to call it the culture of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
Weddell, Sherry (2012-07-05). Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus (p. 56). Our Sunday Visitor. Kindle Edition.
This is it! This is what it’s like and I have to say it can be really dejecting or really inspiring and I am going with the latter! Let’s be NORMAL!
See you next week!