instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Nobody said anything about interactive small groups

Sherry Weddell is coming to my parish this week to present the Catherine of Siena Institute's Forming Intentional Disciples mission. It's been two years in the making, which is how far ahead Sherry's schedule was booked when she was invited to come two years ago (our adult formation director is an old pal of Sherry (as am I, in the have-met-for-dinner-in-real-life sense)).

It should be a good mission, although I just now noticed the bit about "interactive small groups" in the bulletin announcement. I don't mind participating, but I don't really do sharing. We'll see how that plays, since I believe a large part of the whole Intentional Disciples program is learning to tell your story. As big as I am on the role story plays in human nature, and therefore in Christian evangelization and culture, I have to say my own story strikes me as irredeemably dull, not to mention terribly plotted, with all the character development of a wacky sitcom neighbor. (--And what happened when the young protagonist finally looked inside the small chest the old man at the bridge had given him? --If he ever does, I'll let you know.)

I'm also curious to see if I come away more convinced the Five Thresholds of I Once Was Lost -- trust, curiosity, openness, seeking, and intentional discipleship -- are as directly applicable to cradle Catholics as I think Sherry thinks they are. The smart money is on Sherry being right, but in my armchair ignorance I have to think the other two journeys she mentions in Forming Intentional Disciples -- ecclesial and active practice -- make the way Mass-going Catholics pursue the journey to intentional discipleship quite a bit different than the way unchurched people become intentional disciples in evangelical communities.

That aside, the fundamental message that Catholics need to be intentional disciples of Jesus, to have a true, lived relationship with Him, is one almost every parish in this country would greatly benefit from hearing. And I wouldn't be surprised if this weekend plays a role in more than one of my fellow parishioner's stories. Who knows, maybe even in mine.