Column: Read to feed your faith as well as your mind

Simply stewardship
Lesle Knop is the executive director of the archdiocesan office of stewardship and development. You can email her at: lesleknop@archkck.org

by Lesle Knop

I am a longtime member of a women’s book club called “Read and Feed.”

Our club was formed by a group of friends who came to know each other through mutual service to a club in our home-town. We definitely “feed” more than we “read,” though.

The monthly invitation to read unexpected literature chosen by each month’s host is both a blessing and a curse (a curse because there is a certain amount of self-imposed guilt when I don’t make it through the entire book).

Last year, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, my boss, began discussing a book with the members of his Administrative Team and leading us through a guided discussion of a few pages at a time. Reading Pope Francis’ “The Joy of the Gospel” with the archbishop’s insight was enlightening and unforgettable.

I thought the archbishop’s example was a good one, so I have begun studying a book a chapter at a time with the staff of the office of stewardship and development at our monthly meetings. We are reading Sherry A. Weddell’s “Forming Intentional Disciples.” Each of us will take turns guiding a half-hour or so discussion, chapter by chapter, over the course of the next year at our meetings over lunch.

I led the first chapter because I was intrigued by its title: “God Has No Grandchildren.” What does Weddell mean by this? She writes: “We live in a time of immense challenge and immense opportunity. Millions of American adults are seeking a religious identity and are at least potentially open to the Catholic faith. At the same time, huge numbers of self-identified Catholics are not certain that a personal relationship with God is even possible, and their actions reflect it.”

She says that most of us are “sacramentalized” but not “evangelized” and that “normative Catholicism” — what we are each called to experience — was “taught by the apostles and reiterated time and again by the popes, councils and saints of the church.”

The first chapter contains a healthy dose of demographic statistics that demonstrate clearly how much relationships matter in American society. If you are curious about what she means by “God has no grandchildren,” you will want to read her book.

Stewardship says that we are called to a way of life that is our “disciple’s response,” so I look forward to studying this book with my co-workers and to learn what everyone in the office has to say about discipleship.

Discussions like these open my mind to new ideas and understanding. It will be a positive experience for our office. However, unlike “read and feed,” no wine will be served.

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