Tuesday, June 24, 2003

When I started writing about these laity issues, I had a simple, even innocuous point: People who are involved in church activities, whether ordained or lay, are generally people who are...well..interested in church activities. They enjoy planning and executing church events and programs. They are nourished by hanging around like-minded people. It would be strange if they didn't, just as it would be strange if a doctor hated the practice of medicine.

There can be unintended consequences of this, however, outcomes that while unintended, should be fully expected and guarded against. The unintended consequence is that the churchy mindset can take over and dominate the tone of the parish or diocese: namely, that the natural end, and highest expression of Christian life is to be "involved" in church activities. Because that's what most of the people planning and setting the tone experience in their own lives, forgetting, in the process, that most people don't have the time or interest to engage in church activities at that level. They are too busy trying to follow Jesus in the midst of their families, their offices and their college classes.

It's simply a caveat offered to all of us. Most Catholics are living their lives with a sincere desire to follow Christ the best they know (which depends, of course, on what they've been taught "to follow Christ" means) in the midst of everydayness. One of the vital missions of the Church is to meet this desire,build on it, expand it, and nourish it, enabling these folks - all of us - to live out their faith more powerfully in the world, not because we want an "active" parish, but simply because the world needs Christ. Desperately. In every corner, not just the parish hall.

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