Summer Book Club: Forming Intentional Disciples

Summer Book Club: Forming Intentional Disciples

While I’m dragging my feet on publishing my follow-up post about the second half of Forming Intentional Disciples, I’d like to draw your attention to’s Summer Reading “Lawn Chair Catechism” program:

We’ll be using Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus by Sherry Weddell as our basis for this discussion.

Every Wednesday morning this summer, from May 29 to August 28, we’ll post a series of discussion questions from our team here at We’ll also have a link-sharing at the end, so others can participate.

Click through to for a discussion guide and information about how with a special offer from Our Sunday Visitor you can get the book for only $10.

Reading and posting schedule:

  May 29 – Introduction
  June 5 – Chapter 1: God Has No Grandchildren
  June 12 – Chapter 2: We Don’t Know What Normal Is
  June 19 – Chapter 3: The Fruit of Discipleship
  June 26 – Chapter 4: Grace and the Great Quest
  July 3 – Chapter 5: Thresholds of Conversion: Can I Trust You?
  July 10 – Chapter 6: The Second Threshold: Curiosity
  July 17 – Chapter 7: The Third Threshold: Openness
  July 24 – Chapter 8: Thresholds of Conversion: Seeking and Intentional Discipleship
  July 31 – Chapter 9: Break the Silence
  Aug 7 – Chapter 10: Do Tell: The Great Story of Jesus
  Aug 14 – Chapter 11: Personally Encountering Jesus in His Church
  Aug 21 – Chapter 12: Expect Conversion
  Aug 28 – Conclusion

I’m definitely going to be jumping in on this discussion. I’m so glad CatholicMom is hosting it.

Join the discussion

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  • Jennifer,

    Yes, it is a very tricky conversation. And really… it’s such a very personal, intimate topic. Our society has this very pushy attitude. Strangers in the grocery store feel free to comment on my family’s size and ask personal questions about whether we will have more children. Because that’s a conversation I need to have with you, person I don’t know?

    Jen’s piece speaks to me because I’m in a similar place, pondering the risks of another pregnancy, which would result in a sixth c-section. Lucy’s pregnancy was carefully monitored because they were really concerned about the placement of the placenta right next to my scar. Knowing women whose high risk pregnancies ended in emergency hysterectomies does give me pause.

    Your question is kind of the other side of the open to life coin, recognizing that sometimes the family God sends you is smaller than the one your heart yearns for.

  • Melanie, have you read the Common Core standards themselves? We homeschool, but my husband works in public education, and I’m a sympathetic skeptic of the Common Core. However, I’ve been extremely unimpressed by most of the critiques I’ve read. I would agree with concerns about the increasing federal role in education, although frankly I think that ship sailed a long time ago and CCSS is as much symptom as cause. But most of the critiques of the actual standards themselves show a deep naïveté about what the status quo actually is in your average public school today as well as a lack of understanding about the difference between standards and curriculum (like the article you linked, which repeatedly calls CCSS a curriculum).

  • I love all your links!  Regarding Jen Fulwiler’s… it’s such a hard thing to discuss family size in Catholic circles.  I so desperately wanted more children and would still love to have more but I am thinking it’s unlikely given we’ve only had three in 13 years.  It’s only an issue in my mind- do I hold out hope for one more or find contentment in my three blessings?  It is a tricky state of mind!

  • Oh, goodness, I love the takes about Gregorian chant and its ancient roots.  I just spent the week in a Benedictine Abbey, chanting the Psalms with the monks 3 times a day and it was a powerful experience.  Also, we have had the good fortune to regularly attend a Latin N.O. Mass in Palo Alto where Professor Mahrt’s choir sings Gregorian chant and polyphony and truly, it’s a taste of the heavenly choir.

  • Well, my husband works with the bottom 5% of schools in our state (and our state standards were some of the worst in the country, so we’re talking about failing a very low bar), so his daily experience is with schools that truly could not get any worse. That, combined with his optimistic temperament, makes him more hopeful than I that the Common Core could have some beneficial effects.

    That being said, his experience with the new CCSS-aligned assessments they are using is that they are much more rigorous (I actually helped him score some practice math tests their third graders took earlier this year – they seemed reasonable to me, but the kids utterly, utterly failed them). He thinks that in the next two years as states adopt these new assessments, we will see scores fall everywhere because what’s happening in most schools is simply not going to be good enough. At which point more states will probably just opt back out of the Common Core or the assessments will be watered down.

    If I happen across any sophisticated critiques, I will pass them along. In the meantime, I think this older piece by E.D. Hirsch gives a good sense of the potential impact on public schools for good or ill.

  • Sarah,

    I’ll be honest. I’ve taken a few peeks, but there’s just too much material there and I can’t begin to process it. I don’t have time and mental energy. (Which is why I’ve been looking for good critiques. I’m lazy and want someone else to do the work.) But you know that’s actually kind of part of the problem as I see it—Too Long, Didn’t Read seems to be most people’s response. I’m guessing that’s one of the reasons there aren’t more good critiques.

    I agree though, most critics I’ve seen don’t seem to really get it. My biggest concern is as you say increasing Federal role, I agree that ship has sailed, but I think the Common Core will help to solidify that as the status quo and make it harder for individual states to do their own thing. And yeah, how many of the critiques of the Common Core are really just critiques of the status quo? I don’t know.

    The most compelling critique I’ve seen was from a group of parents—I think in Indiana?—who were concerned about a sudden drop in expectations they were seeing in their children’s assigned work. They investigated and learned about the change to the Common Core standards, which they hadn’t heard of until they started asking questions. It seemed to be a genuine case of observing the problem first then learning about the apparent cause rather than just a fear of something new.

    So what is your husband’s take? Is he in favor, critical, accepting, resigned…?