My Friend Sherry Weddell on Intentional and Fruitful Discipleship

Published January 9, 2021

9 Responses

  1. Great video, thanks for sharing. It inspired me to pull out my copy of Forming Intentional Disciples and give it serious study.

    Was it just my impression, or did it seem like Scott and Regis were having difficulty understanding what Sherry was saying about the Church being in mission territory? Maybe it’s that they’re professors at a Catholic university? They seemed to struggle with subjective experience of truths being more credible than teaching of objective truths, for most moderns.

    Anyone else have this impression?

  2. I don’t have time to listen to the whole thing, but listened to bits here and there. I would guess that, given that these sorts of things tend to ask challenging questions of the person in order to bring the listener’s attention to thinking about the subject.

  3. FWIW, I recall when my wife and I – converts ourselves, and brought into the faith by Mark, Sherry Weddell and Sherry Curp – we participated as sponsors in RCIA at another parish, they went round a circle asking for our image of Jesus. One woman said that she sometimes thought of Jesus as like a big warm teddy bear. Someone objected, something to the point that God was not really characterised like that – the woman objected that “but we’re talking about Jesus, not God.” This was like 20 years ago so I may be a little unclear on details, but those words were certainly spoken.

    These things are shocking – but, I pointed out to my wife, that the place we need to be is to see a whole person. This parish didn’t have kneelers. For the Consecration, quite a few people didn’t kneel; this lady always did. It was clear that she loved God – and that, after all, was the central thing.

    Don’t know exactly why I put this in there, but I did just hear Sherry talking about the woman for whom Jesus was her best friend … he could be that because he was not God.

  4. @Mike G – having listened farther I do see a little of what you seem to be talking about. I hope that it isn’t heavily influenced (in the talks about ‘justice’) by some of what seems to be – well, MAGA-influenced stuff.

  5. @John Thayer Jensen,

    I like your story from RCIA, sounds much like a story Sherry told in that video. We really take a lot for granted about Catholic parishioners, as Sherry points out in her talk and in the book. In my own life, I remember thinking during Mass in high school, wondering, “what’s with all this Jesus stuff, anyway”? And then a year or two later, having the understanding that Jesus is God, part of the Trinity.

    In the video, I saw Scott, in particular, grappling with how someone could be taught something, and recite those rote beliefs in the Creed, and not really be saying it from the heart, not really fully understanding it.

    Sherry’s point about catechesis- sometimes it’s like teaching equivalent of spiritual physics to preschoolers, resonated with me. It reminded me of the book Divine Renovation, if you’ve ever read that. To me, it had a very similar emphasis: relationship first, then move on to the next steps, such as catechesis, etc.

    In Divine Renovation, the author, Fr James Mallon, conveys his understanding that in the 1950s and prior, the catechetical model was: behave>believe> belong”, In that order. As society shifted, he argues that the rules changed at half-time of the game, now a better approach is, “belong>believe>behave” in that order, to reach children of the present age…. Start with relationship, “belonging”.

    This really touches a chord with me. Many in various roles within the Church seem to think that once people are taught something as “the objective truth”, they will naturally accept it from the Church. They don’t understand that for many, there is no trust relationship with Jesus or the Church, so they don’t accept the top-down “objective truths” taught by the Church, since the Church lacks standing with them…… However, if a trust relationship is established with Church (catechist) the person will receive these teachings differently, subjectively, like their own truths, making the truth their own….

    That’s what I was trying to get at earlier with my talk of subjective vs objective. Many forget that we lack credibility to teach most people in society.

    Here’s an article by Father Mallon on some of these themes….https://wau.org/archives/article/becoming_a_church_that_fishes/

  6. Thank you, Mike, for that link. In my case, it was, perhaps, easier, in that relation came first. I was raised with no religious context at all – became a Christian in an evangelical environment that was almost all about relation with Christ and, secondly, evangelisation. It was understanding more – and thirsting to understand more – about this thing ‘Christianity’ that I had come into that brought me to the Church.

  7. Ahh, yes, I see, very different path than mine (cradle Catholic, growing in the faith as an adult “revert”). Glad to make your acquaintance, virtually. Thanks for passing along your conversion story! I’ll read it when I have a few minutes tomorrow evening.

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