I agree with Weddell that “Our idea of “normal” Christian life is skewed. We consider an interest in the spiritual life to be an exception, and not the norm.” I get the point, however; I struggle with the connotations associated with “normal” vs. “typical”. I answer yes - most of the time to, “Are you comfortable talking with others about your relationship with God?” – But, you won’t catch me out on the street corner yet preaching.
I am probably somewhere between “normal” and “typical”. I've been leader for one parishes’ RCIA team; I've been on two Christ Renews His Parish Teams (two different parishes), made a Cursillo and Marriage Encounter weekend – yes, I am excited about this journey and enjoy being on it with other believers who want know Jesus more deeply and want to grow in their faith.
Even though this wasn't part of the summary, I appreciate Weddell’s Paradigm Examination section and agree that in most parishes I've been a part of the “infant paradigm” still is the rule of the day. We need to have ongoing adult catechesis and an opportunity for faith sharing. To expect adults to have any kind of mature spirituality without providing them with opportunities to develop as adults isn't very prudent.
Fortunately, I have a small faith community within the context of my parish life now. We have chosen to follow the rhythm of the liturgical year and use the readings from upcoming Sunday. We have used several commentary-type resources during the last four years which provides a starting point. We meet weekly in one another’s homes and it really helps us hold one another accountable for trying to live the gospel message. We've been trying to grow this concept every year during Lent – we’re up to approximately 125 parishioners who do participate during the season, and a much smaller number who continue throughout the year. The question our group struggles with is this; how do we get more folks excited about this? Maybe – to use Weddell’s language, the difference is between “normal” and “typical?