Follow-up: Catechesis for Teens, Year-by-Year Benchmarks, and a Rant

In response to my post the other day, I had a few comments from friends in the catechetical world.On the topic of good resources for teens, Charity Horinek writes: When Mark and I taught high school for six years, we used these books, and *I* think they are awesome:We did the first three in three-year cycles, then repeated, but used the fourth as a framework for discussing issues of morality that arose quite frequently since the teens in our group (anywhere from 26 to 33 kids at a t … [Read more...]

What Religious Ed Textbook for Teens Who Want More than the Fluffy Stuff?

A friend asked for a high school textbook recommendation, and it came to my attention she might not be the only one with a such a need.My go-to textbook series for teens is the Midwest Theological Forum's Didache Parish Edition series.  I've looked through a handful of these, and am pleased to report they hit that perfect balance between approachable and readable, but scholarly and never, ever, dumbed-down.I like the Parish Edition because it's manageable for weekly one-hour ge … [Read more...]

Catholic Education: You Can’t Serve Two Masters

One of the reigning errors of our insecure, perpetually-offended culture is the Approval One is the Rejection of All Others fallacy.  So allow me to be perfectly clear: My love of homeschooling is in no way a rejection of our Catholic schools.Not for a moment.  Those who pay attention in real life know that I put quite a lot of effort into steering families towards their local Catholic schools whenever I can.*Thus in the busyness of getting the new school year going, I was dismayed to ha … [Read more...]

Get Young Adults to Join Your Parish in Two Easy Steps, Guaranteed.

The question came up at Sherry Weddell's Intentional Disciples discussion forum: How does one attract and keep "young adults" in the parish?  I've been that young adult and I've spent a fair bit of time talking with the faithful Catholic young adults who don't show up at the St. Moribund's of this world, so I've got a pretty good grasp on the dynamic.  I'm sorry to report the answer is exceedingly simple:1. Be serious about following Jesus.2. Get out of the way.Don't believe me?   … [Read more...]

Discipleship. You hear the word. What does it mean?

Up at New Evangelizers, I answer the question, "What exactly is this discipleship thing we keep hearing about?"  It's a tricky question because it's both far simpler than we make it out to be, and far more demanding than a simple answer would suggest.Our Catholic reflexes are hopelessly bureaucratic anymore, so I begin by explaining a few things discipleship is not:It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that everything Christians do needs to happen under the auspices of a formal pro … [Read more...]

Ironic Jesus: My Case for Why Our Lord Was Not Being a Jerk in Canaan

I wrote a bit of Ignatian-style Gospel fan-fic earlier this week, taking a stab at the encounter of Jesus with the Canaanite woman.  This is a controversial passage, and my take on it resounded with some.  Call it the Ironic Jesus perspective: I propose that our Lord was not being a jerk; rather, he was using the teachable moment to show his disciples that their mission was to the whole world.Others tend to take a more Stern Jesus or a Culturally-Biased Jesus approach, and one can certainly m … [Read more...]

Useful Stuff: All the Mass Readings for 2015 in One Book – Updated

Yesterday the 2015 Abide in My Word showed up in the mail.  Nice thick glossy-cover paperback that looks like this:Wow.  What a neat book.  It's nothing complicated, just the daily Mass readings for every single day of 2015.  (Note: It starts on January 1, not with Advent.)  Big print, and big, bold-faced date headings for each day.  Very cool, and not very expensive.  I was particularly excited about it because a friend of mine is trying to improve her English by going to more English-l … [Read more...]


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