One of the charges levelled at Cursillo - usually as a reason for not going on a weekend - is that of manipulation. And of course there is a structure, a structure which, coming under the terms of the licence agreement, is strictly adhered to. This means that at any time on a Cursillo weekend, anyone who has been on one will know what the participants are doing at that moment. And yes, these activities are carefully structured in mood and intensity, and yes, they work. And people tend to feel empowered and more confident as a result - and often exuberantly so.
I was discussing this today with an old friend whom I see less often than I would like. I was telling her what happens on a Cursillo weekend, and why. But I barely needed to. "We do that!" she exclaimed. And we realised that much of what she does mirrors what I've been doing these past weeks and months, and I found that she understood the power and the purpose of Cursillo better than anyone I've spoken to who has not actually experienced a weekend.
And this friend is not a church person, not a Christian. She is a Guide leader, heavily involved in providing a worthwhile framework for girls to grow in. I wonder how far the Guiding movement is seen as manipulative?
And I reflected on the apparent Christianity of my non-Christian friend, and was glad we had shared a coffee today.