Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Will There Be Faith?: A New Vision for Educating and Growing Disciples {Book Review}

Will There Be Faith?: A New Vision for Educating and Growing Disciples
Author: Dr. Thomas H. Groome

I was asked to read and review this book about educating our children in the Catholic Faith as part of the TLC Book Tour.  As a former Youth Minister, Catholic School teacher and now Catholic Home Educator, I was very excited and looking forward to reading this book.  I was hoping this book would be the answer to my prayers for Catholic Schools and Catechetical Education in our parishes, so I eagerly read this book day and night - every spare moment I had.  {don't laugh, I do get some quiet time here and there, lol}

The first two chapters were the hardest to get by, I must admit.  There was a lot of teacher jargon and theological talk as well, it felt like I was reading a college textbook.  I didn't mind this overall, but now that I am a busy mom of five homeschooled kids, it was hard to go through the pages and with the children around.  The kind of reading that is best done in silent, you know?  So I did have to re-read things plenty of times mainly because I didn't want to just skim through the chapters....I wanted to capture everything he was saying because this topic is very near and dear to my heart.

About Will There Be Faith?• Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher: HarperOne (August 23, 2011)
A Modern Manual for Sharing a Relevant, Vibrant, Enduring Faith
In the face of mounting obstacles, parents and educators find themselves increasingly challenged by the task of leading people toward lives of faith. Now Thomas Groome, a world-renowned authority on religious education, has created a contemporary, holistic approach to teaching Christian beliefs and values that offers real, effective solutions for today’s parents and teachers. His guide to religious education—which aims to “bring life to Faith and Faith to life”—is a hopeful road map for reenergizing the faith community and family from the bottom up.About Thomas H. Groome
Thomas H. Groome is chair of the Department of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry and professor of theology and religious education at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry and author of What Makes Us Catholic?Find out more about Thomas Groome here.

What did I love about this book:
His plan of action emphasizes the importance of including and having active parent involvement in the formation of the faith of children, his mantra: "life to faith and faith to life".  This really hit home for me as I recall a larger than I'd like percentage of parents who sent their children to either Youth Group, Faith Formation or even Catholic Schools expecting the teacher to take on this role solo.  Which is impossible!  Parents need to take on an active role in raising their children in the faith, this may not sound like rocket science to most who read this blog but listen I've seen it and saw it for many years...parents not living the faith and expecting the CCD/Faith Formation teachers or youth minister or Catholic School teacher to do this job for them.  NOT AT ALL POSSIBLE...you must life your faith and bring that faith to your everyday life.  A simple, yet very complex, way of life...but it is possible!  I love the call to action that he makes of parents and also how he reveals that it really does take a village to raise a child and raise them to be God fearing, faithful individuals!

Things that were troublesome for me personally in this book:
As a teenager and young adult I was involved in the Charismatic Movement within the Catholic Church.  My husband is a convert, he was raised Southern Baptist.  The last nine years of our lives together we have matured our faith into a more traditional Catholic family.  We believe in the old and basic teachings of the Church...we attend the Tridentine Latin Mass/Mass in the Extraordinary form as much as possible and prefer a more traditional Novus Ordo as our parish.  With this said, I do have issues with the underlying message the author is conveying leaning towards a more Liberation Theology approach.  For example, he mentions that the book of Genesis is mythical in nature, this is not a teaching of the Catholic Church.  Another example is that he tries to be politically correct about God and doesn't want to refer to God as a He...uh, God the Father, God the Son...Father and Son are male.   If you can get past all of these underlying things the message of the book is pretty simple: teach as Jesus taught us.

My favorite chapters were definitely the last two "The Foundations" and "The Movements".  The Foundations chapter, he explains and reiterates in plain and simple language his mantra.  The Movement chapter deals with putting his approach to work.  The way he set the book up was also interesting.  He presents new information and stops and reflects with questions, this gets the reader thinking more about the information presented and also makes you reflect on your own life and how it applies to it.  Honestly, I think that he should have started the book and expanded the last two chapters more...and this book would have been an easier and more practical read for busy parents {and avoided all the unnecessary liberation theology}.

If you are interested in purchasing this book:
Will There Be Faith?: A New Vision for Educating and Growing Disciples 

No comments:

Post a Comment