Lawn Chair Catechism, Session 7: The Second Threshold: Curiosity



Welcome to the 7th session of Lawn Chair Catechism, using Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus, by Sherry Weddell (Our Sunday Visitor, 2012).

A few notes:

  • If you’re joining us for the first time this week, welcome! Feel free to check out the previous chapter’s discussions on our Lawn Chair Catechism landing page.
  • You’ll be able to leave comments and/or leave your link at the end.
  • You do not have to read the book to participate. Check out our discussion guide. There’s plenty to get started with if that’s all you use (one page a week).
  • You can still get that terrific $10+free shipping deal from Our Sunday Visitor. And if you’re like me, you’ve pointed at least five friends to this book during the course of reading it.

This week, we’ll be covering Chapter 6: The Second Threshold: Curiosity.



“Curiosity” is when the individual shows an interest in the Catholic faith in a casual way.  The individual is not yet actively seeking Christ – he or she may not even know who Christ is.

It is essential that we help people wrestle with the first, most crucial issue of a personal God.  Those who don’t believe in a personal God and the possibility of a relationship with that God will never be able to move beyond the threshold of curiosity.

It is very important that we tread lightly.  You can easily quench inquiries by drowning a teaspoon full of curiosity with a gallon of answers.

How to arouse curiosity? A life of faith – prayer, trust in God, works of mercy – is inherently curious.  Whether through word or action, one of the most helpful ways to arouse curiosity is to pose a question.

Jesus was a master of asking questions that made you sit up and think again.  Jesus didn’t so much run “Q and A” sessions as “Q and Q” sessions. In fact, he almost never gave a straight answer to a straight question.

. . . The point of this approach is to allow the natural curiosity of the human person to draw him or her to an encounter with the person of Jesus.

Who’s curious? Extensive statistical and field research has uncovered a sobering reality: The bulk of Catholics in the pews today are at these early, passive stages of faith.  A 2010 study found that only 65% of Catholics polled recognized Easter as a religious holiday, and only 37% listed the Resurrection as the meaning of that day.   Sherry Weddell reports:

 . . . as we led these sessions, however, we slowly came to realize that a significant number of Catholic leaders, even those deeply interested in evangelization, think of the faith as essentially passive.

. . . All the statistical indicators suggest that the majority of our “active” members are in the early and essentially passive stages of spiritual development, such as trust and curiosity.

An evangelizing parish must actively change to become welcoming to those curious about the faith, in order to meet the currently un-met spiritual needs of parishioners, lapsed Catholics, and outsiders.

For discussion:

In your own faith:

  • Can you remember when you became “curious” about the faith – whether as a convert, revert, or cradle Catholic just waking up to mature discipleship?
  • How would you explain the difference between an active and passive faith?

In your parish:

  • If a newcomer walked into your parish today, curious about the Catholic faith, would someone actively welcome him? Introduce him to others?
  • Who would help him answer his questions?

Join the discussion!

We’ll be “talking” in the combox, too, so please leave your thoughts there as well!


About Author

When she’s not chasing kids, chugging coffee, or juggling work, Sarah Reinhard’s usually trying to stay up read just one…more…chapter. She writes and works in the midst of rural farm life with little ones underfoot. She is part of the team for the award-winning Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, as well as the author of a number of books. You can join her for a weekday take on Catholic life by subscribing to Three Shots and follow her writing at Snoring Scholar.


  1. Pingback: Curiouser and Curiouser | The Catholic Writers Guild

  2. In case anyone’s wondering, yes I’ve got two different entries this week. Up at Catholic Writer’s Guild is my normal on-topic essay. Charlotte Ostermann also posted at CWG, and she’s the main event.

    At my own place, since I’d already done a norma post over at CWG, I talk about funerals. It relates. Really, it does.


  3. I was actively seeking, knocking and asking because I was not comfortable or satisfied with my life. Only 18, yet I knew I was hungry, thirsty for more. Not content to live only on the surface eating, drinking, shopping, buying or buried in entertainment, I had connected with the divine hollow inside which can only be filled by the Holy Spirit.

    I was hungry for more
    Curious to see if the Eucharist really was the Body of Christ
    Thirsty for more of God’s presence.

    In the end I blindly trusted in the witness of the millions of saints who had gone before me

  4. Sorry if this is a bit off-topic, but I tried to go to the website (as posted in the book, as well as on Google) and I got a “forbidden” message. Since I first encountered it over the 4th of July weekend, and since this error (when it is really an error, not intended) is usually caused by a bogus .htaccess file on the website, I thought I’d wait and see if it resolved itself. It didn’t. So, does anyone have contact information for Sherry Weddell or the site administratior? Can’t imagine that they would intentionally publish their book, make such a big publicity push, and at the same time take down their website. So maybe they aren’t aware of the problem?

    Anyone else tried to go to that site?


      • Yes, thanks Sarah!

        I am really enjoying this book, and want to find out more about resources. But I feel like I’m “all dressed up and nowhere to go.”

        Google searches for “called and gifted” seem to lead to dead ends as well.


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