Turning the Page

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.

 

Obstacles

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.

 

Parish Dynamics

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.

Thank You

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,

 

Kevin

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New Book Release: A Shot in the Arm

How do you grow spiritually? Or is there even such a thing as spiritual growth?

Continue reading “New Book Release: A Shot in the Arm”

Everyday Heroes

If I asked you to think of a hero, who would first come to mind? Would it be a comic book superhero? A firefighter, policeman, or soldier? Perhaps someone you met?

We usually see heroes rescuing those in trouble or fighting for a noble cause.cemetery in normandy

Our admiration of heroes grows when they:

  • Fight for what we value.
  • Perform difficult feats.
  • Persevere in the face of opposition or threat.
  • Sacrifice something of value to them.

Most people don’t think of themselves as heroes. Even heroes often don’t think of themselves that way. Rather, they see themselves as people who only did what had to be done in the situation.

 

Everyday Heroes

I believe there are many unrecognized heroes of a different sort living among us, today. You might be one of them, and if not, you can be.

The quality that defines God’s heroes is love. Godly love isn’t an expression of emotion or positive thinking. Christ-like love is both a gift (one that God bestows readily) and an act of will.

The apostle Paul describes this kind of love in 1 Corinthians 13. What makes a godly hero? The true Christian disciple is:

  • Patient.
  • Satisfied with what he has and not jealous of others.
  • Authentic and doesn’t act for show.
  • Kind.
  • Selfless.
  • Gentle.
  • Not easily offended, and he is able to let go of injuries and not brood over them.

Heroic disciples are self-controlled and seek the good. They value and uphold the truth.

I don’t think any of these qualities match our usual expectations. Instead, we tend to take these characteristics for granted.

Godly heroes are resilient and persevere, not only in one situation or for a particular cause, but day after day. Here’s what Paul has to say:

 

It [love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13: 7-8)

 

Yep. Love-heroes are no weaklings. They’re persistent and courageous, but they express it in a way that doesn’t call attention to themselves.

statue father son love

As is often the case with spiritual truths, God turns what we conceive as heroic on its ear. While we often think more highly of people because of the things they say, know, or do, Paul tells us that no matter how spectacular we may appear to others, if we act without love, it means and gains nothing (I Corinthians 13:1-3).

So, what does an everyday hero look like?

  • She’s the mother who selflessly cares for a child who is sick or disabled.
  • He’s the father who maintains boundaries even when it makes him unpopular with his son or daughter.
  • She’s the person who responds with kindness when treated poorly.
  • He’s the one who works tirelessly for God’s kingdom without recognition or the aid of others.

The list is endless.

Let us be heroes today. Let us love God and others with everything within us, regardless of the opposition or cost.