Welcome to the first session of Lawn Chair Catechism, using Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus, by Sherry Weddell (Our Sunday Visitor, 2012).
This week, we'll be covering the Introduction.
A few notes before I get started:
- You'll be able to leave comments and/or leave your link at the end.
- You do not have to read the book to participate. Check out our discussion guide. There's plenty to get started with if that's all you use (one page a week).
- There is still time to take advantage of the great discount offer from Our Sunday Visitor. $10 AND free shipping = a great deal!
What does it mean to form “intentional” disciples? In the introduction to Forming Intentional Disciples, Sherry Weddell writes about a startling conversation she had with the leader of a local Catholic women’s group. The conversation was part of a series of interviews to help lay leaders learn how to use their gifts in the parish:
Her stories were so vague that I wasn’t hearing any evidence of how God might be using her. . . . So I asked her a question that I had never asked before: Could you briefly describe to me your lived relationship with God to this point in your life?
After thinking carefully for a few moments, she responded briskly, “I don’t have a relationship with God.” Her answer stunned me. My first thoughts were, “That’s not possible. You’re a leader in your parish. You wouldn’t do that without some kind of relationship with God . . ..”
. . . By the end of the interview, I realized she had accurately described her spiritual reality.
Sherry goes on to explain that she began asking the question routinely. And here’s what she discovered:
We learned that the majority of even “active” American Catholics are still at an early, essentially passive stage of spiritual development. . . . We discovered, to our surprise and dismay, that many pastoral leaders do not even possess a conceptual category for discipleship. As long as this holds true, the theology of the laity and the Church’s teaching on social justice and evangelization will remain beautiful ideals that are, practically speaking, dead letters for the vast majority of Catholics.
In your own faith:
- How would you describe your lived relationship with God to this point in your life?
- What does the word “discipleship” mean to you? Do you perceive a need in the Church today to help lay Catholics become more fervent followers of Jesus Christ?
In your parish:
- How would you describe your parish’s current efforts at discipleship? A hotbed of discipleship? A weekly gathering of spiritual sleep-walkers? Or perhaps something in between?
Join the discussion!
We'll be "talking" in the combox, too, so please leave your thoughts there as well!
About the Author
When she’s not chasing kids, chugging coffee, or juggling work, Sarah Reinhard’s usually trying to stay up read just one…more…chapter. She writes and works in the midst of rural farm life with little ones underfoot. She is part of the team for the award-winning Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, as well as the author of a number of books. You can join her for a weekday take on Catholic life by subscribing to Three Shots and follow her writing at Snoring Scholar.