Webster's New World Dictionary defines essential as: 1. of or constituting
the intrinsic fundamental nature of something; basic, inherent... 2. absolute;
complete; perfect; pure... 3. necessary to make a thing what it is;
indispensable; requisite... And, Webster's defines adiaphorous as: 1. morally
neutral or indifferent; neither wrong nor right. 2. in medicine,
neither harmful nor helpful.
Since the National Lutheran Secretariat began in 1981, leaders in the
movement have been calling us to get "back to the basics" in conducting our
weekends and in continuing our ultreyas and reunion groups. Folks who follow the
"menu" (reunion card) in their reunions are already maintaining the essential
character of a group reunion. Ultreyas vary widely, but what is essential to
them is the witnessing, mixing up the reunion groups, and the support and
encouragement given to all Christians, whether cursillistas or not. Most
movements, if they have an active, vital program of Fourth Day activities,
maintain the essential qualities in this area, or the activities die out.
It is on the weekend that we have some confusion about what is essential for
a weekend and what is "adiaphorous." I have tried to imagine what the first
weekend was like. There were talks, discussions, meals, morning chapel with the
sacrament of Holy Communion, evening prayers -- and that was probably about it.
The meals were probably retreat-style, which means they were only what was
essential to keep the participants from starving. Missing were all those things
we have added over the years - background servants, serenaders, trinkets,
posters, decuria, even (ouch) palanca.
The list could go on and on as each movement has added layer after layer of
"neat" things to do during the weekend. Once a new layer is added, the new
candidates, who are the leaders of the next few weekends, think the new layer
"has always been done that way" and continue to keep that layer in the schedule
while dreaming up a new layer of their own. And so it goes.
How do we get "back to the basics" without pain? Perhaps if we decided to use
the "neat stuff" only once, deleting those things after each weekend to make
room for the next team's "neat stuff" we could alleviate the congestion. Another
practice that might help is to be aware of what is essential and what is
adiaphorous whenever we sit down to plan a weekend.
Since we have been meeting together nationally I have noted that there are some things that are always the same, and I will call these practices "essential," while the other traditions that vary between movements and even between weekends, I will classify as adiaphorous. Following is my list, which I expect to be challenged (no hurt feelings) and improved upon:
Weekend Basics Weekend
-72 hours -Special Banquet
-15 talks -Saturday night serenade
-5 meditations -Sunday wake-up serenade
-Celebration of Repentance -Bible Enthronement
-Retreat -Bible Recessional
-Holy Communion each day -Flower for each rollista (women)
-Decuria sharing -Theme for the weekend
-Palanca -DeColores "productions"
-Singing for their meals
Staff -Singing sessions in the evening
-Rector -Aisle of lights
-Spiritual Director -Send-Off
-Assistant Rectors or Chas -Personal palanca letters
-Ten Rollistas -Table palanca, trinkets, etc.
-Auxiliary, silent professors -The big chicken or rooster
-Stations of the Cross
Support Team -Baptism/Communion Films used
in sacraments talk
-Chapel Team -Any activity not listed under the
-Cooking Team basics on the left
Fourth Day -Auxiliary, silent professors, etc.
-Thanking the staff
-Ultreya Support Team
-One support team member table group
-Thanking the support team
Again, these optional activities are neither wrong nor right, but they are not essential to the purpose of the weekend. Adding too many of them to the schedule crowds out important time for reflection and community-building. If each movement would set a policy that no more than "X" number, say three or four, of these activities were to be used on any one weekend, we will have made significant steps toward "getting back to the basics."
(from "Connexiones," December, 1992