A while back, I reviewed an awesome new Bible study from Ascension Press and mentioned casually that I was interested in possibly hosting something online here.

And y'all responded enthusiastically, indicating an interest and a desire for something like this.

So here we are, with an announcement for something that's the brainchild of a mom-writer-catechist I admire, has the blessing of our fearless founder, and is based on a book I've been meaning to read.


Lawn Chair Catechism

Lawn Chair Catechism is going to be our journey together through Sherry Weddell's Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus. You can participate whether you're reading the book or not.

Our own Jen Fitz put together a discussion guide, which will be the basis for our posts here, as well as a 2-pager with only the discussion questions.

Through June 6, Our Sunday Visitor will be offering the book for $10 with free shipping. From June 7 on, you can order it with free shipping from Our Sunday Visitor. Simply click here to purchase the book from them or pick it up at your nearest Catholic bookstore.

Tune in on Wednesdays:

Each Wednesday, starting May 29, at 6 a.m. Eastern (3 a.m. Pacific), we'll have a post beginning the conversation. It will include discussion questions and a linky-do so that other bloggers can link to their thoughts and you can click around to see the discussion.

And, of course, we'll have discussion here in the comments.

A bit about the book:


You might wonder why we picked this book. As it turns out, it was highly recommended. I've had it on my own review shelf for a lonnnng time. It's come to us recommended by priests and laity, friends and family, reviewers and normal folk.

According to Christian LeBlanc,

Particulars aside, the main reason I like this book is that it plops the responsibility for New Evangelizing right where it belongs: in the lap of the laity. And having done so, it then shows how the laity can get the job done. Not by talking about the New Evangelization, but by generating a critical mass of intentional disciples in one’s parish. Based on my experience, if a parish has that, New Evangelization happens of its own accord.

I’m not going into more detail. I’ll close by saying that any Catholic who wants to see his or her parish become salt and light to the world would find this book both an interesting read and a useful guide.

A field guide for evangelizing? Yeah, I'm sold.

And then Jennifer Fitz said:

Summary: Excellent book, long-needed.  I recommend it widely, but my copy is staying in my hands.

I took note when Will Duquette posted:

The Catholic Church as a body understands how to know and love and follow Jesus. But many of us in the pews do not; and that’s what this book is about: encouraging Catholics like me to spread the word, as well as sage advice on how to go about it.

For their part, Our Sunday Visitor (Weddell's publisher) describes the book this way:

How can we transmit a living, personal Catholic faith to future generations? By coming to know Jesus Christ, and following him as his disciples.

These are times of immense challenge and immense opportunity for the Catholic Church.

Consider these statistics for the United States.

  • Only 30 percent of Americans who were raised Catholic are still practicing.
  • Fully 10 percent of all adults in America are ex-Catholics.
  • The number of marriages celebrated in the Church decreased dramatically, by nearly 60 percent, between 1972 and 2010.
  • Only 60 percent of Catholics believe in a personal God.

If the Church is to reverse these trends, the evangelizers must first be evangelized-in other words, Catholics-in-the-pew must make a conscious choice to know and follow Jesus before they can draw others to him. This work of discipleship lies at the heart of Forming Intentional Disciples, a book designed to help Church leaders, parish staff and all Catholics transform parish life from within.
Drawing upon her fifteen years of experience with the Catherine of Siena Institute, Sherry Weddell leads readers through steps that will help Catholics enter more deeply into a relationship with God and the river of apostolic creativity, charisms, and vocation that flow from that relationship for the sake of the Church and the world.

Learn about the five thresholds of postmodern conversion, how to open a conversation about faith and belief, how to ask thought-provoking questions and establish an atmosphere of trust, when to tell the Great Story of Jesus, how to help someone respond to God's call to intentional discipleship, and much more.

And be prepared for conversion because when life at the parish level changes, the life of the whole Church will change.

Want to do it with your friends?

We know not everyone will be able to read along, so we wanted to make this something that can have a long life.

We have resources for you on the Lawn Chair Catechism landing page. If you're ambitious and want to set up a parish group (now or in the future), they will remain there for you.

See you next Wednesday!

Be sure to check out our Book Notes archive.

Copyright 2013, Sarah Reinhard