Written by Sherry
Saturday, 17 March 2007 06:38
I'm just finishing up a presentation that I'll be doing next month at the Evangelical Catholic Institute.
I'll be speaking about charisms (naturlich!) but also about recognizing pre-discipleship levels of spiritual maturity. Since this last subject involves all new material, I went over my presentation with Fr. Mike (in CS for 36 hours between missions).
One of the issues that I address is how to foster curiosity about Christ in the unchurched or non-believing. Not first curiosity about the Church or the Catholic faith - but about the head of the Church and the center of the faith: Jesus Christ.
I started with this list of suggested ways from the work of Doug Schapp:
The list looked good but we both turned to one another and said, "yes, but the chances of any of these happening in an average Catholic community are pretty low."
- Seeing the faith lived out in a concrete and practical way (work with the poor, etc.)
- Experiencing genuine Christian community
- Speaking of our struggles and sharing how Christ has responded
- Asking good questions, raising spiritual topics
- Telling stories of Christ’s work in our life and the lives of others
We don't ask about and we don't talk to fellow practicing Catholics about our relationship with God, so what are the chances we'd look for ways to ask someone who is unchurched about their spiritual journey? We are developing a simple process to teach Catholics how to do so in a non-threatening manner but it isn't the norm, for sure.
So 3 - 5 are unlikely except in very specialized groups or settings (we routinely ask in our gifts interview process and find people ready to talk, but so often they tell us this is the first time in their life that they have ever shared X with another person).
We knew that 1 & 2 would be much more comfortable ideas for Catholics, but how practical are they? Lay Catholics seldom experience genuine Christian community that transcends the family. And how many of us live such radiantly Christ-like lives that just being around us in daily life generates curiosity about Christ?
The remaining possibility on the list was serving the poor which many Catholics do through groups like St. Vincent de Paul.
Any ideas? How would you seek to foster genuine curiosity about Jesus in someone who was truly unchurched?