Christian Discipleship in the Age of the Superfan

JCFan“Jesus wants disciples; he doesn’t need a fan club.”

That line came from a Catholic priest, Father Greg Boyle, who has spent much of his life working with gang members in Los Angeles. Father Boyle was speaking to a packed auditorium at Newman University, where we had invited him to lecture on his book, Tattoos on the Heart. He said this in response to a question from the audience. The question was, “why don’t you teach these young men to be good Catholics?”

Father Boyle didn’t elaborate. He let us work out the implications ourselves, but they were pretty clear. It is the fan club member, not the disciple, who worries about who is (and who is not) a “good Catholic” (or a “good Christian,” or a “good Mormon”). These are not the sorts of questions that disciples ask because they are not the sorts of problems that disciples worry about. [Read more…]