This morning I solicited feedback on Jack Jezreel and his JustFaith program, as he will be conducting a three-hour workshop at my parish later this month. A friend from another diocese with extensive experience in adult faith formation participated in one of Mr. Jezreel's workshops and has allowed me to share some of his observations and concerns:
1) The apparent total rejection of personal salvation and sin — which seriously distorts Church teaching, undermines evangelization, and could actually endanger people's salvation. This often accompanies "Reign of God" theology in my experience.
2) Collapsing Revelation, authentic interpretation and the interpretation of an individual theologian so that average Catholics going through would not know that there was a difference and that one obliges and the other is just an opinion. The distinction between revelation and the application in a specific situation is not maintained. Much that is really prudential is dealt with as though it is obligatory.
3) Reducing everything in relationship to God, conversion, and discipleship, to a very narrow set of economic and political concerns. … I can't imagine anyone who buys into the JustFaith world view ever voting for a Republican, for instance, because everything is to judged by a very specific economic agenda.
4) A serious misreading and dismissal of the meaning and impact of the ordained role of Teaching, Governing, Sanctifying. Jack actually didn't say so, but I can't help but wonder if he believes that only the lay/baptismal office really exists or matters and the ordained office is just a power-play.
5) A focus so narrowly political that the work and vocations of lay Catholics are not relevant
Vatican I and II are described as in opposition. …
Salvation "is not individual but collective."
The "old" (pre-Vat II) understanding of sin talked of 1) grave matter/full knowledge/full consent — and "individual act of malice." This is to be contrasted with "prophetic" understanding of sin — which is always social and never individual. The issue is not individual malice but social "blindness" that an entire community can participate in.
My friend's bottom-line assessment: "Based upon my experience, I couldn't recommend it as a intro to Catholic Social Teaching or any other aspect of lay formation. I was disappointed because I keep hoping to find something I can recommend."