Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lawn Chair Catechism #3: What is 'normal'?

We just completed Chapter Two of Sherry Wendell's book, Forming Intentional Disciples. In this chapter, we discover that Catholics don't think that a personal relationship with God is possible. They do not feel that it's appropriate to talk about their relationship with others. They think that intense conversions and being on fire for the faith is a "Protestant thing" not Catholic.

This is a chapter that I have trouble speaking to as a convert. When looking at the Catholic mentality, I'm still kind of an outsider.

I am of two minds when it comes to talking about my personal relationship with Christ. On one hand, being a theology student, a level of comfort was beat into me. I was told, over and over again, that as a lay minister, I need to be comfortable talking about my relationship. I need to be able to put my relationship into words.

On the other hand, I always hated that aspect of my classes. I don't like talking about feelings. I'll listen to someone else talk about theirs, but I hate talking about mine. I resented my classes that concentrated on this topic. I wanted to go to class to learn neat facts about the Bible, not to sit around poking at my emotional scars. It seemed like a waste of time to me, more harmful than helpful. I paid thousands of dollars to get a Masters in Pastoral Studies, not to receive counseling.

I think I am "normal" using the criteria, minus the community part. Except for the Lay Dominicans, I don't have a group that I talk about faith regularly with. To refer back to my last post, I haven't had a group like that since college. I wish we had that kind of family feeling in our parish, but I'm not going to continue to beat that dead horse.

As a convert with an intense conversion experience, I don't think that a personal relationship is only for the pious few. We can all have a relationship with God. We all should have a relationship with God. An essential part of our Christian vocation is to have a relationship with God.

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  1. Your point, "I don;t think having a relationship with God is only for a pious few" is one that people need to hear. So many times people feel they are not "holy" enough.
    I think that having one group to speak about faith with is great!

    1. People don't seem to get it. You need to have a relationship with God in order to become holy. You don't need to already be holy to have a relationship. It's kind of putting the cart before the horse.

  2. That's right, Bethanie. That's how Christianity has always worked. Many people have their story about it backwards.



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