It would be helpful to hear different views on:

1. Who exactly is the "imperfect disciple."

2. Specifically how can this person serve.

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When I think of "imperfect disciple" in the context of the Catholic Church in Eastern Africa, I recall single mothers who are fervent Catholics especially in the economically poor areas of big cities such as Nairobi (slums, shanty towns, informal settlements, etc.) They become leaders of their Small Christian Communities (SCCs).

When I commented recently about calling "imperfect disciples" to service, I was thinking of young adults who- like St. Matthew the Tax Collector- may not be living according to Church teachings at the time of their invitation. 

Young adults who

  • may not attend Mass every Sunday
  • may cohabitant with their significant other
  • may support movements that the Church hierarchy is wary of (LGBT pride, etc)

Often, young adults do not seek to hide this divergence from "orthodoxy".

Older adults who are called to serve in lay leadership positions may be better at hiding their divergence from Church teachings. This may be use of birth control, lack of almsgiving or concern for the poor, waste or abuse of resources, unethical business practices, racial or sexual discrimination, pornography use- which amounts to support for human trafficking, etc. Hidden sins! 

We are all "imperfect disciples"- but young people often wear their sins on their sleeves, and therefore are excluded from lay leadership opportunities. I say call them to service anyway- and when I say "CALL", I mean actively invite, not passively hope that someone stumbles in the door! 

That today's Gospel of the Friday of the 13th Week in Ordinary Time -- Year 1 is the story of the "Call of Matthew" (Matthew 9:9-13) is for me not a coincident, but a God-incident. Katie's example is a powerful one. Jesus called Matthew (an "imperfect disciple") to follow him.  As a new follower and disciple of Jesus and then later apostle, Matthew changed his whole life.

As someone commented to me: We are all "imperfect disciples" who are called to ongoing metanoia.

In the contemporary "imperfect disciples" examples that Katie uses --after they are called to service how do they change their life including their lifestyle and divergence from Catholic teaching and "orthodoxy" to follow Jesus more closely. A challenging question for discussion and reflection in our small faith sharing communities using what we call in Africa the process or method of "pastoral theological reflection."


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