Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ecumenism: one church?

I don't argue about there being one church.

I'm not so convinced that Catholics have everything "right" about the "truth." Because we are human it is difficult to know if our interpretations are correct. Do we think Ratzinger is right about everything? If not, why do we assume that the early church councils were right about everything? A lot of those things were dictated by Constantine, who was only possessed of a very rough understanding of even basic Christian belief at the time he was alive.

I have faith in God, and the best place for me to meet God is the RCC. Because relationship requires more than one party, I need to do what I can to be as receptive as possible. I find it easiest to do that in church. I don't assume that the church is infallible, though I do not have any problem, and even like, what the church teaches about Mary (as the two times papal infallibility was invoked involved her).

Again, because of our humanness our understanding is limited. It is necessarily shaped by our experience, studies, personality. The U.S. black church's understanding of Jesus' mission is partly shaped by the history of slavery and subsequent oppression, for example. In the U.S. in general, a do-it-yourself kind of country, telling people to just go to church and trust councils and encyclicals to explain the truth is a pretty unrealistic expectation.

Just like it's unrealistic to expect me and many of my fellow and sister Catholics and Orthodox Christians to use only the Bible and our own (again, necessarily) imperfect interpretive abilities to understand that truth.

We do what we can. We do our best. Theology is not a perfect science. And I really don't think we will ever be "one church" again. We can be at peace with that and pray for each other, or we can wring our hands and get into flurrious conniptions about heresies.

No thanks. This is about God, who I frankly doubt gives two figs about much of this.

Peace and all good.

PS: did you notice the word "flurrious"? Did I make that up? Gee, I sure hope so!

We do what we do. We do our best.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ecumenism? Why?

I'm not sure what drives ecumenical efforts.

Is it to heal the schisms?

Is it so we simply get along? Or is it to create a universal communion among all Christianities?

As a Catholic, I find that the vocabulary and even some of the concepts of the more evangelical Protestant groups is foreign to my own experience and beliefs.

I don't even think we speak the same language half the time.

(No, I'm not pretending to speak for all Catholics.)

Are we all Christians? I remember someone in a class I was taking tell the professor that he would like to write a paper discussing the differences in marriage ceremonies between Catholics and Christians.

I thought, hey, I'm a Christian. What are you implying?

But it doesn't matter. "Christian" is just a word. I don't really care if we all agree. My suspicion is that we all have different means to effectively approach God. What I need for that endeavor is not going to be realized at a Sunday service which is predominantly a pastor spending an hour analyzing a chapter of the bible verse-by-verse, or through speaking in tongues. A lot of people I know cannot handle the sitting and standing and kneeling that happens in a Catholic Mass.

All well and good.

They do their thing, I do my thing. It doesn't even matter if it's to the same end.

I'd rather have the divisions than have people all try to fit into the same church to the point wherein there is one church that somehow incorporates everything into it. If a priest at a Mass started having altar calls I'd have to stop going.

Just sayin'. Hey, look at what's happening in the Roman Catholic church now, from the Vatican itself. It's going as conservative as it can. If one believes EWTN, party-line television for the modern Catholic fuddy duddy (though I do love their music programs, and the Rosary programs they feature), we're about as fun-loving as a plastic-covered couch.

Try to integrate the rest of conservative Christianity into the Church, and good grief. Well, let me just say no thanks.

I tend to think there are good reasons we have different Christianities. Let's just keep it that way. I know I find it hard enough as a gay liberal cradle Catholic who finds comfort in his home church and either ignores, rejects, or "gives to God" the more dictatorial aspects of the Magisterium. No additional pressure. Please and thank you.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rosary v. Gin

Getting drunk gets you that neat tipsy feeling and might do something temporarily about emotional turmoil or hangups. Then if you don't pass out it tends to make things a bit worse, where you feel like crap and the morning is that much more difficult to face, and you're sluggish the next day and frankly, it's not much fun anymore.

I know, I didn't use "I" language in that paragraph. I meant "I."

I find that saying a Rosary has a calming effect as well, and no negative after-effect.

Just something I notice.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What do I mean by "Dark Magnet"

Folks talk of balance. You can't have creation without destruction (or vice versa), they say, or light without darkness.

The darkness attracts the light too.

It's an imperfect metaphor. Darkness perhaps reveals the light more than attracts it.

Looking for God in the Dark Corners, Without Permission

That's what I'm doing with this blog. Rather, that's what I'm doing in life, and sharing about it by writing it down, here.

I am a Roman Catholic, who has decided to approach God with the faith of a child. I need church, but I don't need dogma. I need God, but I don't need to be dictated to by humans.

I have explored many faith paths, both within and outside of Christianity. I think God is in all of them.

Because religion is the attempt to connect with God collectively.

It's fine to have heroes. It's finer to be in touch with God in your heart.

My eyes and heart are open, and I hope that anxiety and tendencies toward religious scrupulosity will be lovingly transformed into peaceful wonderment and acceptance. I'm glad we have priests, bishops, and even a pope. None of them, however, trump God in the heart. Not for me anyway.

I hope as this blog proceeds you will be moved, edified, or inspired to explore. Please don't condemn. Heresy is an overrated concept.

Peace and all good.