The Prodigal Altar Boy

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Prodigal Altar Boy Blog - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Prodigal Altar Boy Blog
22 March 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good
Jeff Elkins’ blog post today was great.  Short and to the point, Jeff‘s post, “Sermons – Bah Humbug", questions the efficacy of the sermon as a teaching tool.  He makes a great point that because most sermons lack required readings, essays and tests, what is retained from even the best sermon is lacking from, say, a university lecture.   Jeff is astute in his observations and I agree with him. 

I’m hammering out the assembly edit for the documentary, and Jeff’s blog shaped some of today’s edit of the first act.  Across all of the interviews of TQ’s former parishioners was his dedication to education.  One parishioner told how TQ would climb into the pulpit with an armful of books, from Kierkegaard to Hans Küng (yeah, I found the “symbols” button), weaving their writings into the liturgy.  There is even a TQ quote advised the congregation to read Küng’s book (The Council, Reunion and Reform) to grasp the implications of the Second Vatican Council.  Those were the required readings.

In terms of essays, TQ’s prolific writings connected homilies with readings and Küng’a book.  If you scan through “A Reluctant Malachi,” to see TQ saw the Second Vatican Council as a slingshot to energize the church.  In his words, “That’s my little vision – to energize this Community.  We have fantastic talents and fantastic gifts, which have been locked up – there is no real outlet for them.  So, I’m telling you – this is my little vision – you can laugh all the way home – you can laugh while you’re having a drink tonight – I don’t care! This is my post-Vatican II vision.  Let’s make a toast to Pope John XXIII who tore open the Church’s shutters, letting fresh air blow through!  If we want to do this as a Community, we can!  So this is my little vision!”

Now, for the test.  I wish I could have interviewed more people because while the people I interviewed all testified to changed lives (Haiti missions, integrated parishes, a thrift shop vital o the community, Black Catholics fusing their culture with worship), there are stories of changed lives I know about, and no doubt many more I haven’t heard.  Judging from the sample population of the good people I interviewed, I think they passed the test of whether they would put their faith into action and put Jesus’ commission into action.

Next Up:  The Bad