Dear Friends and Followers of Christ:
Twelve-and-a-half years ago, after recognizing recurrent patterns of spiritually dysfunctional behavior within my parish, I felt a nudge to comprehend, and perhaps find a solution to, the obstacles to our spiritual development, both as a community and as individual disciples. Some motivation was fueled by the frustrations I had as a leader, coupled with the inquisitiveness of an intuitive and analytical mind. I believe, however, that the Holy Spirit was the primary source of my inspiration.
Two years later, I recognized that the issues we faced not only affected my parish but the whole American Church. That nudge turned into a calling, and I began to work to develop a plan for the spiritual transformation of the church in the parish setting.
Discovery and Details
The first several years were slow-going. I studied the Scriptures, poured through Church documents, and sought out everything I could find written by Christian leaders, both Catholic and Protestant. I strove to understand and reconcile the complexity of human behavior and the spiritual movements at play. My first attempt at organizing my thoughts led to an unwieldy, 227-page document, with the audacious title, In Pursuit of the Authentic Church. After writing the Pursuit, I realized it was too abstract and complicated to be of much practical use, but it did lay a foundation for what followed.
As time progressed, my investigation narrowed down to one central theme: the need for ongoing conversion to Jesus Christ. I organized my discoveries into a paradigm and called it Parish Dynamics. The name seemed a good fit, for the model addressed the spiritual and human dynamics within parishes, and it promoted an ongoing dynamic state, rather than a static approach, within the church.
While I didn’t have any delusions about people warmly receiving my work, I still was not prepared for the resistance I encountered. I assumed that many believers had a genuine interest in the spiritual growth and progress of the Church. While this may be true elsewhere, in my world, I encountered widespread complacency and disinterest. Lay Catholics passively deferred to the clergy, while priests pointed at the apathy of the laity. I met other forms of resistance. Clergy assumed that, as a layman, I had nothing of value to offer and would not listen to me or give my ideas any serious consideration. Lay people didn’t try to understand what I was talking about or why I would pursue such an endeavor. They had no trouble filling in the blanks, however, and they either thought me a misguided fool or a control freak. It soon became apparent that sharing Parish Dynamics with others would be a daunting task.
This is where I was three years ago when I made the decision to launch the Parish Dynamics website.
One of the unexpected, but fruitful, discoveries of the Parish Dynamics concept, was that it opened up a new way of thinking about Christian discipleship. Mind you, the core ideas and doctrines are not new. They are still grounded in Sacred Scripture, Tradition, and Church teaching. But I realized that Parish Dynamics gave a unique insight into understanding how we should live our lives as disciples. Instead of blogging about how to transform the parish, my blogs focused on topics related to discipleship and healthy spirituality. I kept the name, Parish Dynamics, which, as it turns out, is a horrible name for a website if it is meant to attract a following. That was never my primary intention. Instead, I used my blogs to develop further concepts related to healthy discipleship until I was ready to move on.
That time has now come.
Turning the Page
I have launched a new website, Everyday Catholic Disciple (everydaycatholicdisciple.com), a site for everyday Catholics who seek to follow Christ, every day. The new site offers inspiration and support for disciples and will eventually also provide information and resources for parents and parish leaders. I realize that many of my current followers are not Catholic, and some non-Catholics may feel put off by a website directed at Catholics. It is a necessity, for we Catholics have a lot of growing to do. I think you will find the same style and content on the ECD website as you have on Parish Dynamics.
ParishDynamics.com has served its purpose and will become inactive, as my year subscription with WordPress will come to an end next month. I have begun to write and will continue to write, books on discipleship, spiritual health, and parish transformation. Published and soon-to-be-published books include titles …
- A Shot in the Arm: A Guide to Diagnosing and Improving Your Spiritual Health
- The Shot in the Arm Companion Guide
- The Three Dysfunctions of Discipleship
- The Five Wounds
- Catholic Mentoring
- Parish Dynamics
… and many more.
I would be honored if you would join me on the new website and give feedback on my books. I have many weaknesses and still much to learn, and you have so much to offer.
I cannot adequately express my sincere appreciation to those who have continued to follow my blog and offer support. May the Lord bless you and draw you ever nearer to himself. Please pray for me as I turn to the next page in my vocation.
Your brother in Christ,