Making Church Matter

Avalon Journal IV: Bringing the “Book” Home

July 30, 2011

Regular readers of this blog will remember my promise to finish the book this summer (the book Tom and I have been working on for about a year, and talking about for a lot longer than that). I even vowed to stay here in Avalon until the project was complete. One anonymous commentator to the blog noted that isn’t exactly like 40 days and nights in the desert. Granted. But I’ve got to tell you that getting up every morning with the prospect of doing nothing but writing, or rewriting, is very difficult.

However I am coming home this week.  And truth be told, the book is not finished. Partly the problem was an overly optimistic assessment of what was still to be done, in terms of what we wanted to get done. We recently invited a circle of people to read the book and let us know their thoughts. So we found ourselves doing some rewriting in response to their comments too.  Some additional research that seemed required also slowed us down. Anyway, its not done.

But it will be done. This summer. And it needs to be done. My experience here has convinced me of it, more than ever.  We need to address the people out there like the lady I was talking to this week. She is a friend of the family, two kids in Catholic school, belongs to her local parish. She tries. But, as she told me, she doesn’t think she can do it anymore. She’s tired of trying. The weekend experience is boring and bad for her, meaningless to her kids and not even an option when it comes to her husband.  Her parish is in deep financial turmoil, and that’s one of the central messages from the pulpit each week.  And to top it all off, her pastor was removed this past spring for creditable allegations of child abuse.  Who could blame her for giving up.

But we can’t. We need to get our book out there for people who are still trying, people who want to be Catholic and want to be excited about their faith, fired up in their relationship with their savior. We want to tell our story about doing church differently and coming to very different outcomes in terms of membership and participation and ministry and stewardship and just the enthusiasm of the people in the pews.

We need to bring the book home.

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