Since then I’ve come across some links to dig further into the subject:
From the Archdiocese of Washington D.C., Msgr. Charles Pope does a nice job analyzing how Kirsten Powers’ story functions as testimony.
I’ve also been thinking about where personal testimony fits into the bigger picture…
- Wondering about discipleship? And if those in your parish and/or ministry are intentional disciples (to use Sherry Weddell’s phrase)? Ability to share personal testimony would certainly seem to be an important fruit of discipleship.
- Preaching — personal testimony is an important part of preaching, especially evangelistic preaching or discipleship preaching. Crafting a personal narrative might even help someone discern the charism to preach generally, or even a vocation to the specific Eucharistic preaching unique to ordained priests.
- Conversion is central to Christianity. Conversion is also something that separates authentic, lived, and believed faith from a cultural habit or historical vestige. Personal testimony highlights the centrality of conversion.
- Sharing one’s own testimony can actually be a great conversation starter that gives someone else an opportunity to open up about his/her questions about God, past experiences of religion, etc. Instead of our just asking questions, by telling a story we can invite them. (Though, asking thoughtful questions is also good…I’m in no way putting down that important practice!)