Friday, July 5, 2013

Lawn Chair Catechism #6: Trust

Sorry this is late, my internship with Feminists for Life has been keeping me busy. This is the sixth installment of the Lawn Chair Catechism series. It's hosted by and there are a whole bunch of other bloggers participating. We're reading this awesome book called Forming Intentional Disciples by Sherry Weddell. It's never too late to join us!

So, someone did some research on people who had conversion experiences and found that they went through 5 stages:

  1. Initial trust
  2. Spiritual Curiosity
  3. Spiritual Openness
  4. Spiritual Seeking
  5. Intentional Discipleship
This chapter has been about that first stage. As a convert, I can kinda relate to this list. My conversion really wasn't this straight forward though. She explains though, that like the cycle of grief, these stages aren't necessarily in order, people don't necessarily go through all of them, and we are all always bouncing around.  

I'd have to say the initial bridge of trust for me with the Catholic Church was at the Catholic Newman Center in college. I saw a community of people who had been Catholic their whole lives, but they were still on fire for their faith. It was a community that I fit into, where everybody knew my name and we were all inseparable.

I think that might be part of my challenge now. Now, I have to be a Catholic without that solid bridge that I had in college. Compared to college, there isn't much of a bridge for me now. I'm used to a community that I was with 24/7 in which faith infused everything we did. Now, I have to be that bridge for others. It is hard to be a bridge for others when you don't really have one yourself. Maybe I am back at that first step in the conversion journey. The researcher says that we all bounce around all of the time.

Can't give others something I don't have myself
All of that said, I don't think trust is an issue at our parish. But this is coming from someone who has been an "insider" since day one because I married the Grand Knight for crying out loud. So, I've been intimately aware of the inner workings of the parish before I even joined, when Matt and I were just dating.

But we do publish our financial reports in the bulletin. Everyone in the offices and our priest have integrity. There isn't a single meeting in the parish that isn't advertised (because, frankly, all committees are always looking for new members).

While trust isn't an issue, maybe the "being a bridge" part is. It is the same handful of people doing almost everything. I have gotten the impression that some groups in the parish are cliquish. This has been a battle in nearly every parish I've ever seen. How can you get a group of closely knit people to open up and let others in? Or do you just create the environment for other groups to form? As it has been noted in this discussion before, bigger parishes could benefit from having smaller groups there-in. While my parish isn't large by any stretch of the imagination, maybe making more groups would be easier than getting the existing groups to open up.

Do you have any thoughts on being more open?

Some people (and this goes for all groups of people, not just churches) never got the memo that we are not in high school anymore.

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