Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lawn Chair Catechism 1.0

Lawn Chair Catechism has officially launched over at! I don't have my book yet, since I only just ordered it yesterday, but I'll be sure to catch up on the Recommended Reading once my copy arrives.

In the meantime, I read the introductory discussion that Sarah posted this morning. There's discussions going on in the comment box, and there's a link-up for blogs as well, for longer responses to the questions raised.

I really related to the story of the parish leader who confessed that she didn't have a "relationship with God." I have felt that way myself. I remember attending a Christ Renews His Parish retreat shortly before I was married. My husband was very involved in that retreat program at the time, and he encouraged me to go on the women's retreat. It seems to be a self-seeding organization--you attend a retreat and then you're on the team of presenters for the next one.

I was 25--a good bit younger in years and life experience than most of the other women there. That was fine during the retreat itself, but in the weekly meetings afterward where we began to prepare for the next retreat, it became an issue. We were supposed to be able to give a talk about the moment where God really came into our lives.

I didn't have a big, dramatic moment. All the other women did. I actually fled the meeting in tears, feeling like a fake because I couldn't come up with some time in my life when God smacked me in the head and made me notice Him.

Throughout most of my life, I have been a leader in my church:  through music ministry, campus ministry, religious education, and Secular Franciscans (where I hold a leadership position in my local fraternity.) And many, many times I feel like a fraud because I don't have that outward, obvious Relationship With God for all to see. I pray the Liturgy of the Hours. I play music at Mass and attend daily Mass when possible. I wear a Tau. And I find myself leaning on God more, and trying to do the right thing.

Am I an Intentional Disciple? I think I'm working on it. I'm getting better. It's a SLOW process, this growing-up-in-faith, and baby steps seem to be the name of the game, at least for me. Could I define my Relationship With God? I don't think so, and if pushed, I'd probably flee in tears, just like I did at that meeting 22 years ago.

Recently on Twitter, someone mused that she wished she had a thicker skin. I replied that I wished the same for myself, but that a thick skin can keep love out just as effectively as it keeps hurts out--and God is love, so praying for a thicker skin might be counterproductive.

The fact that I recognized this is, I think, a sign that I'm opening the door a crack--a door that I've kept closed far too long.


Bean said...

I came to the realization that I have to put God first in my life. That seems obvious, but it is not something I really did at all for most of my adult life, although I claimed to be a Christian. We have to be obedient to God at all times, call upon God at all times, and we have to put our relationship with God first, above all else.
I now read my bible daily, I have a little booklet that gives me old and new testament readings for each day of the year, at the end of a year the entire bible is read. I pray each morning, I used to just sit on the couch, or pray on my way to work, but now I kneel and pray hard, pray for my husband, my children and their spouses, my grandchildren, people I work with, relatives, whoever comes to mind, I talk things over with God, I offer my entire day to God to do with me as he sees fit.
I find myself calling on the Lord all day, a quick prayer to give me patience with a co-worker, or to give the right words to say, or to help me be kinder, gentler, asking him to carry my worries and stresses, thanking him for the good things given us, etc. etc.
It has taken a long time for me to get to this place, but I like it, I have found good books along the way that have steered me in the right direction.
Don't feel frustrated, God has you exactly where he needs you, and I think that feelings are fickle, trust your heart :)

Grace and Peace,


Sarah Reinhard said...

That thick skin comment really struck me. Good point!

Unknown said...

Don't feel like a fraud. You're definitely not alone in not having that "aha" moment. When I was in college, I was kind of the weird one for having that moment, because I had a pretty dramatic conversion.

Deanna said...

Don't you think that as long as we are working on becoming intentional disciples, we are moving forward towards God and that's a good thing.