Monday, February 17, 2014

Look Inside

I browsed a couple of catechist-related books yesterday. Not reading the books, but reading through the Look Inside bits on Amazon. Fr. Philip N. Powell mentions them at his blog.

The first one is The Pedagogy of God: Its Centrality in Catechesis and Catechist Formation. My Look Inside rating: No Sale. I'm the wrong audience for this prose.

Whoops- I should define my rating system. It's a lot like Sun Bear's rating system. Who? Sun Bear, "who was born Vincent LaDuke, was a writer and actor who is probably best known for founding the Bear Tribe in the 1970's in Washington." A New Age personage. I don't know much about the guy, but I have been fond of a Sun Bear aphorism for about 35 years. Here it is:

“If your religion doesn’t grow corn, I don’t want to hear about it.”

Speaking as a catechist, I love it. Modified to fit my situation, it's “If your catechetical book/ article/ post/ workshop/ lecture won’t improve my catechesis, I don’t want to hear about it.” I don't mean something mightn't be useful to someone else, but if it doesn't look like it'll help me in my classroom, I got other things to do. Like what things? Like read the second book:

Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Craft of Catechesis. My Look Inside rating: Buy. As I said, I only read the excerpts, but that's one way I decide to spend money on books. Or not. I don't care for this book's writing style either. But it appeals to me based on the 12 Keys of Catechesis listed at the book's end; and how I do or don't reference them in my 6th-grade class:

1. HOLISTIC: the Faith Professed, the Faith Celebrated, the Faith Lived and the Faith Prayed.

I'm good on the first 3. We don't pray a lot in my class. An opening prayer and a closing prayer. For all I know that's typical in all catechism classes. Maybe we do pray a lot. Classwise, I'm more focused the other three. I want to know more.

2. GRACEFUL: We maintain the primacy of grace. 

This, I don't know...."maintain the primacy of grace"? This sort of statement bugs me. What does that mean in the classroom? Why not: maintain the primacy of love? Why not: maintain the primacy of faith? Or: maintain the primacy of Christ? Dunno. I think it means we hope for mercy instead of justice. We cover that explicitly in class. But I'm intrigued. If I buy the book, I expect to have it explained.

3. ORGANIC: We practice an organic reading and teaching of the Faith.

I already apply the term 'organic' to my catechesis. Curious if the authors and I mean the same thing.

4. PERSONAL: Doctrine and its transmission is essentially personal.

Yes to this. I believe personal witness is the sine qua non of catechesis. I look forward to reading more.

5. TRUE: We proclaim the mysteries of the Faith as true...

Yes...seems awfully obvious though.

6. ATTRACTIVE: We highlight the innately attractive nature of the Faith...

Yes. I do this explicitly and continually. I want to read the book to see what specific examples the authors will provide.

7. PURPOSEFUL: We immerse doctrine within the dynamic of God's plan...

Yes. Intrinsic to class. The book may show ways of being purposeful that I don't know about.

8. FAITHFUL: We use the Catechism, drawing on the language of Scripture and Tradition.

Yes. I'm on this 100%, and curious as to the book's take on this all-important synergy.

9. EVANGELIZING: (go Look Inside)

I'm not moved at all by the book's phrasing here, but an explicit goal of my catechesis is to evangelize and catechize at the same time, all the time. Tell me more.

10. SCRIPTURAL: We let our catechesis be soaked in the Scriptures...

Yes. 100% on this, and want to read more.

11. LITURGICAL: (go Look Inside)

Not fond of the phrasing. Still, understanding the Mass is a big deal in class, so I want to read more.

12. PRAYERFUL: We make our catechesis a school of prayer...

Sounds vague and fluffy. I say it should be a school of faith. I'll want some elaboration.