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The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic

de Matthew Kelly

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As human beings we are constantly engaging and disengaging in everything we do. We engage and disengage at work, in marriage, as parents, in our quest for health and well-being, in personal finances, environmentally, politically, and, of course, we engage or disengage spiritually. If you walk into any Catholic church next Sunday and look around, you will discover that some people are highly engaged, others are massively disengaged, and the majority are somewhere in between. Why? What is the difference between highly engaged Catholics and disengaged Catholics? Answering this question is essential to the future of the Catholic Church. If we truly want to engage Catholics and reinvigorate parish life, we must first discover what drives engagement among Catholics. Matthew Kelly explores this question in his groundbreaking new book, and the simplicity of what he discovers will amaze you. Four things make the difference between highly engaged Catholics and disengaged Catholics: the four signs of a Dynamic Catholic. Whether you are ready to let God take your spiritual life to the next level or want to help reinvigorate your parish, The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic promises to take you on a journey that will help you to live out the genius of Catholicism in your everyday life. The central idea in this book should change the way we live our faith and the way we teach our faith. This book is a game changer.… (més)
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  StFrancisofAssisi | Aug 29, 2018 |
Kelly has some interesting ideas and compelling points. ( )
  bookwyrmm | Apr 5, 2017 |
Of the books I love, this is one of them. Matthew Kelly loves his church, and that comes across in its 217 pages, as does his urgent plea that we make incremental improvements in the life of the church. He says we have to, or she will continue to decline as a vibrant force of social good. He's offers a positive tone while offering constructive criticism. He urges that we not continue in the same old ways of the past. He offers great suggestions for making one's personal faith vibrant and full. Similarly, he offers suggestions for the life of the parish and the broader church. Initially, I wasn’t sure about this book. I took a second look. I found it to be an honest book that offers much encouragement. ( )
  allenkeith | Mar 19, 2014 |
Mr. Kelly’s books are always a pleasure to read. They are down-to-earth and never intimidating. They are for everyone. I laughed when he introduced the 80/20 business model and loved his game changer perspective. A man leading by example, he employs his particular talents liberally. His approach speaks to everyone. Although each reader will benefit in a different way, the results all lead to the same ultimate human goal.

As I read his words, another book, one I couldn’t finish, came to mind. All I’ll say about this other author is that she is a prominent female politician. In this book, she repeatedly emphasizes how women must use all of their potential. It was given by a well-meaning relative not long after my first child was born. I had just left a white collar, highly respected profession to be at home with my son. The decision was very difficult for me, because, except for my husband, pretty much everyone else responded very negatively. In some cases the criticism was not only hurtful but downright hostile. I won’t even begin to describe what the current cultural environment does to women. Regardless what choices we make, they are always wrong and inadequate. Completely absurd expectations.

According to this highly driven politician, I was in no way approaching my potential. This was exponentially so because I had earned a graduate degree (magna cum laude) in a technical field at a prestigious university. I believe that ‘waste’ was the term she used in reference to the life of women who made my decision. This is hardy an encouraging statement for a nursing mom with a colicky baby. Instinctively I knew she was wrong, but when I explained to a priest how this overwhelming societal attitude was making me feel very, very guilty, he suggested that I take drugs for mental illness (while I was breast feeding no less). Also not very encouraging.

It wasn’t until I read one of Mr. Kelly’s books that I was able to better phrase in words, why my decision to stay at home was right (at least for me). He often talks about a person reaching his or her full potential by becoming the best person God intended for him or her to be. He makes it clear that this does not mean becoming the best ‘cogwheel’ of our secular, consumer economy. None of my condescending friends or relatives would have benefited in anyway if I had pursued my carrier. They did not care how I could make the world better through my carrier or otherwise. For whom was I making my choices? I wanted my family to be proud of me, but I had to think of my children.

I’m no longer ashamed of my choice. I have even come to see how my education is helping me to achieve my goals. My son just recently complemented me on my teaching effectiveness. I’m able to teach and assist other teachers. As other parents throw up their hands because their children are working on math assignments way above their abilities, I’m still hanging in there. My children are scoring very high on standardized tests in all subjects, and some people are even coming around and taking back their callused words. I no longer need approval or praise, but it’s still nice to hear.

Mr. Kelly explains how everyone needs to be encouraged. And he is right. It helps in many ways. Americans seem so stingy in this regard. When I see something that catches my attention in an inspiring way, even if it’s just a cute pair of earrings or a smiley face sticker on a paper bag (doesn’t matter what), I will usually let the person know. You have no idea how happy the simplest compliment can make a person. As a society, we tend to bend over backward to point out the wrong, but we won’t take the tiniest moment to point out the positive. Now that is what I call wasted potential! Wasted opportunity for celebration, if you will.

In another book, Mr. Kelly asks, “What do we celebrate?” He also goes on to explain how we ARE what we celebrate. When I look more closely at what we celebrate, it seems like everything is about anger, revenge (in the guise of justice), violence, dirty laundry, and sex. Shame on us! I’m glad that Mr. Kelly also reminds us, how much power we have as consumers. Perhaps people will someday realize this, REALLY REALIZE IT! Again wasted potential, because we are too tired and too lazy. Because there is too much noise.

Going back to taking advantage of positive things, Mr. Kelly encourages parishes to maximize the potential of particular events, which have proven to be engaging. Each parish has its own practices and some are more effective than others. My community is very fortunate. Our church is pretty full most of the time. And it is not only on Christmas that there are no seats available. You have to arrive early because we now have a policy that does not allow you to claim spaces on pews unless your behind is warming them. Yes, it’s gotten that bad. No one wants to miss the festival of Holy Queen Isabel, for example. I invite people to Mass on the Grass, Catholic or not. At least there are no space limitations outdoors. All Catholic churches should find reasons to hold mass outdoors at least once a year. Kids love it! Adults love it! The elderly love it! Best idea I have ever heard. The whole family looks forward to this. Maybe you could suggest it in one of your books. Mr. Kelly.

Thanks again for sharing your gifts. I hope that your books keep inspiring more and more people. ( )
  YvonnevonInnes | Feb 6, 2014 |
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As human beings we are constantly engaging and disengaging in everything we do. We engage and disengage at work, in marriage, as parents, in our quest for health and well-being, in personal finances, environmentally, politically, and, of course, we engage or disengage spiritually. If you walk into any Catholic church next Sunday and look around, you will discover that some people are highly engaged, others are massively disengaged, and the majority are somewhere in between. Why? What is the difference between highly engaged Catholics and disengaged Catholics? Answering this question is essential to the future of the Catholic Church. If we truly want to engage Catholics and reinvigorate parish life, we must first discover what drives engagement among Catholics. Matthew Kelly explores this question in his groundbreaking new book, and the simplicity of what he discovers will amaze you. Four things make the difference between highly engaged Catholics and disengaged Catholics: the four signs of a Dynamic Catholic. Whether you are ready to let God take your spiritual life to the next level or want to help reinvigorate your parish, The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic promises to take you on a journey that will help you to live out the genius of Catholicism in your everyday life. The central idea in this book should change the way we live our faith and the way we teach our faith. This book is a game changer.

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