Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What's the point?

One of the "lessons" I learned from my leadership training course was that you have to have a end-goal in mind for every project you are doing and you have to know what that end-goal is before you start the project. Even end-goals that are imposed from without need to be personally appropriated to be successful. In other words, even when someone else tells me the end goal, if I don't hear what the goal is or don't understand what the goal is, I will not be successful in achieving it and the goal is pointless. I have to accurately know what the goal is in order to complete it.

The challenge with some activities is that there are times when the activities have to change due to changes in society and church. It's hard to remind ourselves that activities that were more short term in nature can be eliminated if they get in the way of the larger goal. To use an example, the goal of a catholic parish is to spread the gospel message to all people in a given area until the coming of the kingdom of God. One way we do that is by helping people be connected to a part of a parish community so that they will make being belonging to the church part of their daily lives. So, let's say we have coffee and donuts after mass so that people will stick around and get to know parish leadership and learn more about some of the other activities the church has in the hopes that they will want to get involved in the parish. What happens when the coffee and doughnut attendees are the same people every Sunday, if the group is seen as cliquish and weird? Or what happens if you find that the cost of doughnuts is a lot more than either the amount of money you bring in at the event or the number of new volunteers you get because of coffee and donuts? Well, you then have to decide if you just want to cancel the event, repurpose the event, or change the event altogether. Do you want to tell the people to buy their own darn doughnuts, say that the event is to keep the people already involved motivated, or start serving hot breakfast with presentations of what is happening in the parish?

All of this is prelude to the question I have a the subject: namely, what's the point of a blog? For several years, I would use this one to post interesting things about Catholicism in an effort to counteract the negative press that seems to crop up on occasion. More recently, I've tended to use it as a dumping grounds for my latest homily. That's not a bad use but it's not the original intent. So, the question it prompts me to ask: Is that enough? My original goal was, "to give every reader another reason to love the Catholic Church." I can't say that's the purpose of my homilies and, to be honest, I personally feel like it's too broad of a meaning for what a blog can accomplish. It makes me not want to put anything controversial here or, if I do, to be exceedingly polemical about it to the point of being considered defensive and off-putting to those struggling with their faith. So, again I ask what is the point of this blog? What am I trying to accomplish by it?

I've been thinking that the point is, "to let others know a bit of insight into the mind of a Catholic, Midwestern priest." I'm not sure that really captures what I'm trying to do here either but I'm hoping that, by re-purposing that as such, it will remind me of two things: 1. This blog is a place for me to share some of the thoughts that have been a bouncing around in my brain NOT the official teachings of the Catholic Church. 2. It will motivate me to want to write more posts here so that people who want to know what's happening in my life can have know. Don't be surprised if I overuse the word "so," of if all the posts are pro-Iowa State Cyclone or pro-Catholic Church. I'm still a happy Cyclone priest. However, if I criticize the Republicans or the Democrats, I'm not doing so as the official spokesperson of the Catholic Church. I'm just doing so as a priest from the Midwest. Let's see if that helps me get back to my blog now.

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