Archive for ‘Catholicism’

May 25, 2011

The Love is Gone

Or rather, the gushy relief of discovery has dissipated.

I didn’t have it long, or even all the time, but things happened last week that removed the press that was driving me out of my home church and toward Catholicism.

Someday I’ll write about the initiation of counseling with our pastor, my terror of anticipation and relief at being wrong.

For the record: I love to be wrong. This could say something about a basically pessimistic nature– or that I’d rather be corrected of the negitive.

Three big things happened last week:

  1. Pastor said he saw no profit in discussing/debating theology. (This freed me of the fear the men were going to gang up on me to talk me out of my “new” beliefs.  I was ready to start praying to Catherine of Alexandria, and I haven’t gotten to praying-to-saints yet.)
  2. I brought up the fact my husband’s depression predates mine, and the focus left my issues to focus on him for a while. (More confirmation that this is legitimate couple-counseling and not gang-up-on-Amy).
  3. During Sunday school the hyper-Calvinist who’s been unwilling to hear my non-Calvinist arguments/reasoning verbalized that he is blunter than he should be, and recognized the wrong of that. (It’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to an apology out of him, and I’ll totally  take it.)

I am so thankful to see the outworking of my prayers, but with those events, the wind is out of my sails.  I am no longer being driven away from my home church.

Intellectually I’m okay with that.

In two months I would have wondered if this were all a dream, with me simply being pushed away from pain, and embracing welcome.

But it is more work to engage my mind again and use my will to continue in the work of self-education.

I am convinced of the necessary role of emotion: it was accepting emotion that allowed me to say this isn’t right, initiating my trajectory toward the Church in earnest.

But more and more I’m convinced that real health is the harnessing of all strengths: mind, emotion, body and will without over-honoring any the expense of the others.

So I think this receding of emotion is part of God strengthening other parts that need more exercise.

I trust my Shepard.

May 8, 2011

Coming Out…subtly

As an NP, I’m skilled at seeing things, both real and imagined.

And I’m told my NF makes me more likely to “project” my thoughts and feelings on others.

(At times this combination has made me a leedle paranoid.  For example, that Mom knows what I’m really thinking and is such a cool customer she’s waiting for me to crack first…)

Today I hosted a family gathering at my home.  I didn’t hide any of my Catholic reading, but I made sure The Catholic Family Bible was returned to its shelf after I read this morning.  And I wanted to file away the guide to confession  I had brought home from the Wednesday service before Easter.

When I made that mental note I was looking at the pamphlet propped up by a pile of other things on my desk in the livingroom.

I was cleaning up after the party (my introvert self so thankful it was over) when I noticed the image was still where I had first noticed it.  I squirmed.  I wondered who had seen it, and if they’d noticed it whether they’d known what it was, and if they’d known what it was, what they’d thought of it, and me.

Then I noticed that the shelf with all of my specifically Catholic books, while subtle enough when one is standing, was directly in one’s line of sight when sitting on the couch four feet across from it.

So when I saw my folks at their place later today, I kept expecting my mom to question me.

Thinking about it later I realized that she never sat down, but if she had I wouldn’t have had to worry about it: she’s  not the observant one.  What I have to wait for is for my dad to bring it up with her, and see if after they’ve had a chance to talk…

Returning to the first point, I keep telling myself not to be forced into talking about anything before I’m ready, and if (they noticed or not and) they don’t say anything to me about it, I can at least posit that while this Catholic  may have been “done in a corner,” it was at least not done in secret.

I can point to today and my bookshelf and say You saw it there first.

I have a small theory about learning, or understanding. Mainly it’s that our brains take in more than we’re aware of, and that’s how God prevents complete shock in so many cases.  With the astuteness of 20/20 hindsight we can look back and say, Maybe I should have known that.  Or even I guess I *did* know that!

Or maybe I’m just projecting again…

May 3, 2011

Concerning Mary

This began as an epic comment on Churchman Kirk’s Mary post, so I figured that my own (albeit raw) post was in order.

Mary is a dream-come-true for me, which, in my pseudo-insecurity makes me question the impulse to embrace her.

As a (shall we say) forceful female, I’ve always resisted attempts to imply “boys are better.”

Not that I persisted long in my childish notion that girls are better, but I stood strongly on the philosophy of (I learned later) the musical Oklahoma! “I ain’t sayin’ I’m no better than anybody else, but I’ll be damned if I ain’t jest as good.”

What’s always been hard for me is not encountering nearly as many men with this attitude.

And so I find the veneration of Mary honorable and a hopeful act, for by acknowledging her place and treating her with respect, I see the value of all women (vicariously) lifted up.

That said, I totally get the hesitancy of adoration (is that the right term, or are the labels restricted to certain individuals?) for Mary.  And Kirk’s post framed it nicely for me when he said,

A Catholic man must be a momma’s boy indeed!

When I hear that term, momma’s boy, I think of my own attachment to my mother, and the difficulty I had “separating.”

In the TV show Burn Notice the main character observes, “People with happy families don’t become spies. A bad childhood is the perfect background for covert ops – you don’t trust anyone, you’re used to getting smacked around, and you never get homesick.”

I wondered a lot about “happy families” in high school.  How does normal separation happen when no one is driving you away?  For me I think I made up problems.  And in doing so I followed a time-test progression of how children see their mothers:

  1. Mommy is amazing! A goddess! None can compare with the giver of all life and sweetness!
  2. Mom’s alright.  Useful to have you around.  OMyGoodness you just saved my LIFE thank you!
  3. My mom is great and definitely better than your mom, but I’ve developed enough social skills not to put it quite that way. Or even to really speak of it much.  I just know.
  4. Mother you’re in the WAY!
  5. Yeah, I know she’s great,but I’m mature enough not to be deluded to thinking she’s *perfect*

In this way MOTHER is a mirror, not only of our developmental stage but just as clearly of ourselves.

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May 3, 2011

A Well-Timed Warning

At the end of March I purchased G.K. Chesterton’s Conversion and the Catholic Church for my Kindle.

That would have warned my husband, if he were me, but despite not erasing the receipt (so I know he noted it), Dear Husband did not infer the beginning of my research.

Chesterton’s 3 stages of conversion (in my own words)

  1. I’ll be fair and look straight at Catholicism.  I can tell it’s not been treated quite fairly
  2. Wow.  This really makes sense with the way I perceive reality
  3. Crap.  Now I have to Choose or run from The Truth

I find this demarcation delicious (if terrifying at first), especially since I recognized myself in the 3rd stage from the first awareness that I was paying attention.

Correspondingly I am the convert he warns lay people to be careful of when he says,

For the convert’s sake, it should also be remembered that one foolish word from the inside does more harm than a hundred thousand foolish words from the outside. …

There is many a convert who has reached a stage at which not word from any Protestant or pagan could any longer hold him back. Only the word of a Catholic can keep him from Catholicism.

I have met a number of sincere Catholics in recent weeks, and without stretching to say they major on minors, I can at least observe that they emphasize as essential things that are at best important.

This is a big deal because I know I’m a bit bullish (as in bull terrier) and hang on until I am satisfied in a matter.  But I grieve for those who are driven off. Honestly, if I didn’t have this awareness (the quote from Chesterton) in the back of my mind I might have been driven away.

I grieve because I see the same thing happening in my protestant evangelical church, where Precision (which I love, btw) can overrun Love. That every word be 100% correct is important in dogma– if I’m using the word correctly– but please let analogies and poetry be analogies and poetry.  I already understand that God is too much to be contained in one picture.

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April 29, 2011

What do you REALLY want? (In 7 Quick Takes)

Elizabeth Esther asked the question and her answer was mostly focused on writing.

And I’ve asked those questions too, elsewhere.

But when I started asking today I realized some stuff.

#1  I want to be creative – in a meaningful way

Writing is not a luxury. Creating is not entertainment.

They stabilize- root– my natureAnd give my flighty physicality (and mentality) the means to be still long enough to recharge.

And as a stay-at-home and teaching-mom, this is the only (short-term) project and sense of contribution-/connection-to-society I get.

I expect people to scoff at the idea I’m writing a “YA romance” (a fantasy no less!), but I argue, tearfully at times, that these kids need a pure model.  An inspired hope.  I know I never found those in high school.  Call it grandiose and foolish if you must (I know I do at times), but fiction is a necessity, and if God provides a way for me to actually finish this I believe it will be very important.

Regina Doman is my delight in this, despite having *not* read all her books.

#2  I want community.

I want a place and group of people with a readable standard and social system (I have a history of figuring things out right after I need them).  This community needs to be welcoming and open to people less-outgoing, or less-confident than me, so I can learn to be welcoming myself.

Community is the freedom of limits: I don’t need to be all things to all people, because we have different gifts, and God doesn’t have to depend on my exhaustion to accomplish His will

#3  I want connection

I don’t need everybody to know my name, or even *get* me when I first show up, but I do need to be remembered.  I need to know I can build relationships over time and won’t continually be starting from scratch.

I’m used to confusing people, and over the years I’ve learned how to do that less, but nothing compares to that beautiful rest when someone values you enough to get inside your head, to see past the clutter to be impressed by the furnishings.

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April 27, 2011

What Have I Got to Say?

Exploring is dangerous and selfish stuff.

So dangerous and so selfish I don’t want to be “public” yet.

It’s dangerous because there’s no guarantee you will be right.  Or that you won’t look like a fool.  Or even hurt people you love very much, simply by showing an interest in things that maybe they think you shouldn’t notice or care about.

  • My kids are hurt (sort of) when I won’t let them see a movie with me (Latest example: Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  They freaked out at the end of the latest VeggieTales.  That’s all the evidence I need they’re not ready for a sea serpent.)
  • My husband was hurt when I told him I was seriously considering the Catholic Church.

After a hurt silence he told me, What I want  to do is say Don’t let the door hit you in the butt.”

Two days later I asked him if he was done being mad at me.  He looked surprised. “I’ve been done this whole time.”

“What about kicking me out?” I asked.

“It was just the first thing I felt.  Not the thing I’d do.  It’s wrong.”

Strike-One against my own patience.  Want to guess how much anxiety I wouldn’t have carried if I’d cared less for his feelings?

Anyway, I expect this blog to be a place to practice what I want to say, until it is formed fully enough to be a coherent defense. Coherence is good, right?