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Convener's Corner — April 2016

Life

One definition of life might be that it is the time I spend preparing so that I may be useful to God when I'm informed of just what I'm supposed to do. I imagine some of you can identify with my situation and wonder just what God has planned for us and how on earth might we contribute when so many others seem to be better equipped to make a difference in this increasingly mixed up world.

recently read "A Report on the Exodus of the Religious Dones". It is an interesting report, and I recommend it. In essence, it discusses how many people are identifying themselves as Christian but non-participants in the traditional church. They can, and are, creating their own structures, opportunities and activities. It is my opinion that we have a couple of generations that are used to having society and social institutions 'work' for them. When traditional no longer works for them, and they feel stifled, they operate outside of typical structures. You see the results in many applications: the concept of family seems to be changing for some, we struggle to find volunteers for many community betterment events and activities, the service clubs are nearly, without exception, struggling to keep membership strong, and in many cases you see more partially filled pews during our worship services. Multiple other examples present themselves of our 'me first' lifestyle, and it seems to me that many people think their life and their religion ought to be provided rather than participatory. I've been part of organizations where, when membership starts to dwindle, it is thought the solution is to relax the standards and make it easier to participate. I believe what happens is that the doubtful do not increase their participation and the faithful no longer feel the benefit of membership in a now tepid organization.

Please review the first paragraph of this article – I believe God is calling us to respond to the present and pressing need of our faith. Via de Cristo is not designed to replace our traditional church structure but to amplify its effect on our personal faith journey. There may have seldom been a greater need for a faith experience that calls a person to return to the very basics of their personal and Christian beliefs. The application of the Via de Cristo teachings has the capacity to assist our individual churches and, by extension, our faith. We need to do a better job of getting our own 4th Day membership moved from the 'been there done that' category to active participation and re-applications of our tenets. Are you familiar with Via de Cristo's Rediscover and Recommit program? Its application and impact may be far-reaching – we'll give the topic greater discussion in future articles.

Steve Renquist
Minnesota Via de Cristo Convener


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