Saturday, November 28, 2015

Modern Discipleship, Part 3

The latest installment of my series on Modern Discipleship on the parish blog is now up, exploring how the very thing that ensures Catholicism's continued relevance in the modern world is its ancient roots.

Here is a teaser, go to the parish blog to read the rest:

Being ‘Relevant’ in the Modern World
The question often comes up: “How do we make the Church relevant in the modern world?” It is an important question, but also a dangerous one. It is easy to confuse ‘relevance’ with ‘being trendy’; as I wrote about previously, our first duty as disciples is to the Gospel and we can’t make the mistake of compromising the truth in our search to find relevance.
There are plenty of protestant mega-churches that have struggled with this problem. Rock concerts and hipster fashion will get people in the front door, but it won’t keep them in a pew. When the novelty is gone, so are they. 
And it isn’t a new problem either. This great article from Christianity Today back in 1984 talks to Rev. Robert Schuller, the pastor behind the Crystal Cathedral in Orange County, about his focus on self-esteem: “His supporters say he has found the wavelength of the secular mind. His detractors say he has lost the gospel.”
Where is Rev. Schuller’s enormous, worshiper-filled Crystal Cathedral now? It is now the Cathedral for the Catholic Diocese of Orange (renamed Christ Cathedral). The self-esteem focus that was trendy in the ‘70s and ‘80s fell out of favor and that, among other factors, caused Rev. Schuller’s church to fall on hard times.
I point this out not to be triumphalist about Catholicism--we have certainly had our own issues--but to make a point about being relevant. Latching on to modern trends won’t sustain a church for the long haul...and it won’t sustain an individual disciple for the long haul that is our Christian life...

Again, go to the parish blog to read the rest!

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