Sunday, December 21, 2014

What happened fifty years ago?

2014 is an important anniversary for Catholic deacons as well as the larger Church.
Read here about just what is so important about this commemoration.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

How is my book doing?

This is the first time that I have had a book on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions. However, the motivation for the book was to prompt men who are already active in lay ministry to consider strengthening their calling by responding to the deeper calling of ordination to the permanent diaconate. Maybe even the marketing message (largely by word of mouth) whether it leads to men reading the book or not, it might lead to that first discussion with the man's wife, then with his pastor, and finally with the director of deacon formation in his diocese. Even after this, the book is still very much worth reading and thinking about. Are you really sure?

Marketing has deep roots

How am I attempting to reach men who are most likely to consider a call to become a deacon in the Church? Let me introduce a little story.
When I was in Junior High I decided that I wanted to be a geologist. I had become enamored with certain kinds of rocks which exhibited what I now would describe as rational beauty. I first saw it in the petrified wood which I could pick up in a certain dry stream bed, The beauty in the pattern in the rock is retained from the grain of a tree limb as the cellulose is replaced by crypto-crystalline silica, retaining the pattern and even color of the original wood.
Then I saw geodes. Layers of crystals of different colors wrap around openings in the native rock, growing from out to in. I still am enthralled by them, to the benefit of rock and mineral shops.
In High School I became intrigued by contemporary TV advertising; this was the classic period of clever Volkswagen ads and promotions of other products and services: We're number two, so we try harder.
I went to college with a plan to major in marketing; rocks had faded away, at least temporarily. After a summer session and first fall semester, including introduction to business, bookkeeping and intro journalism with advertising option (along with other conventional intro courses) I found an opening in my spring schedule. There was nothing I could take that would satisfy the freshman curriculum, so I signed up for intro geology, as an elective. It was perhaps three weeks into that semester that I changed my major.
Going back to Junior High: I went to a youth day at the county seat's Congregational Church; it was to include both Junior and Senior High students from all of the Congregational Churches in our part of the state. I was disappointed to see that very few of High School members came, especially one guy who was four years older than I; he was a hero to me. I wasn't the only one who was disappointed at the turnout of the older students, either. Over lunch I was approached by the ministers of my own church and of the church in which we were meeting. They told me that one of the high school students had been expected to lead worship at the end of the day. And, they wanted me to take his place. It was the very same guy whom I admired so much. I, an eighth-grader, was taking the place of a senior! So, there I was, leading worship. I thought about becoming a Congregational minister, but I didn't think I had what would be required; I guess I didn't feel a call.
I became a geologist/geophysicist, teaching and researching, and still continue to do some research and publish the results. I also became a minister... just not in the Congregational Church.
And, advertising? I am now promoting my Every Man a Deacon?, targeting priests and emailing deacons who might know men who could be called to the diaconate, and, if their contact information is available, the men themselves.
I guess that each of my teenage impulses have found expression in my adult life.  
Oh, one more thing: the crystal patterns in a geode are fractals; my last geophysical article utilized fractals as the fitting criterion for plate reconstructions.