Friday, May 07, 2004

The Catechumenate Through Pop Culture?

I read a book a # of years ago, and reviewed it last night in preparation for a sermon this weekend, entitled Welcoming the Stranger by Patrick Kiefert. Kiefert argues that the liturgical renewal in the church is compatible with the modern mission mandate of the church, especially through the liturgy's creation of what we might term public space where a community of strangers can gather around the sacraments.

The issue is how to introduce the catechumenate in a local congregation, especially in my context a Lutheran one. I agree with Frank Senn that the catechumenate cannot be simply one more program that a church adds. The catechumenate, if done well, means a change in the life of the church, for it affects liturgy, evangelism, educational ministries, everything. It also needs a ton of lay support to be done well.

A couple of weeks ago I offered a class discussing The Da Vinci Code. I found that those in attendance were quite open to learning about the "catholic tradition" because the book had left them somewhat shaken, and they were looking for the clear teaching of the church. If I had offered a catechumenal process during Lent, or offered a class on the catechism for adults, I don't know if we would have had the same "point of contact."

Which leaves me of two minds. I don't really want to teach from pop culture. But pop culture seems to be the water in which our folks are swimming, and my wanting to stay dry doesn't seem to be an option either....

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