Thursday, August 20, 2015

Guess Who's Back?

Back again.  Guess who's back, guess who's back, guess who's back.... na na na na.... Ok, I couldn't resist quoting an Eminem song, but that's what came to mind when I thought about what to title today's post.

I'm just glad that this blog is subtitled "musings and observations of the spiritual seeker kind", which implies that I am on an ever-changing spiritual journey and the goal of this blog is not to arrive at any specific destination.  That's my disclaimer, because I feel sort of annoyed myself about my back and forth to and fro with various faith traditions and interpretations.  But without further ado...

I went to an overnight women's retreat as a last ditch effort to see if there was anything salvageable in Catholicism for me.  Alas, there is!  While I was very aware of how much I differed in my theology and certain social justice issues with the more outspoken Catholics there, I realized that our worldview wasn't all that different.  Or at least, that I liked the Catholic worldview and missed being a part of it.  I think the turning point for me was when I decided that I wanted to believe.  I didn't believe, but I wanted to.  And a verse came to mind, "I believe, Lord, help my unbelief" (Mark 9:24). As I listened to the talks with an open mind and heart, I was moved to apply this verse to my life in the form of a prayer.

My deist view of God told me nothing past the creation.  And I realized that I might as well be an atheist with a god like that.  No, I needed my God to care about me, and I started to remember times in my life where I felt His care personally.  I also was able to apply some of the different understandings of god I've learned from eastern traditions, which helped to remind me that God is beyond human understanding, and I'm not dealing with a literal explanation of who God is.  Rather, I'm dealing with one way of making sense of something that can never be fully grasped.  This gave me permission to look at religion in a new light.

Religion is not contrary to science - at least that's not how I wish to utilize it.  Religion is supplemental to science.  Deism had science, and I was left feeling disappointed.  I'm glad it works for others, but it didn't work for me.  That's the other thing, I'm holding fast to my relativist view that there are many ways to God and Truth, and my desire to be religious again, to be Catholic again, is not because I believe it is the one and only way.  It's just the one and only way that seems to resonate with my heart.

I now see trinitarianism as an attempt to bridge the gap between strict monotheism and pantheism.  On one hand, we have a god who is a cross between a genie and Santa Clause, separate from all that exists, which right away feels inaccurate to me.  This is the first time that I'm questioning my own desire for God to be singular, because that would be simple.  I used to believe Jews and Muslims had it right precisely because their idea of God didn't muddle the water.  But alas!  God is NOT simple!  God is far more complex than we can ever begin to imagine!  My wanting God to be a certain way doesn't make it so!

On the other hand, pantheism is essentially worship of nature.  I certainly appreciate the sentiments of the eco movement and finding God's fingerprints in nature, but to say that nature IS God?  This also doesn't feel correct to me, because we know existence has a source, something sort of outside of itself.

I think this is what trinitarianism tries to accomplish.  On one hand, God is our source, the giver of our life and the moral code by which we are to live in order to be happy.  On the other hand, God and all of His creation, us included, are not completely separate.  I imagine it's like a pregnant woman.  The child in her womb is certainly its own being, and after birth, will grow and develop and learn and separate from mom.... but during pregnancy, mother and child are essentially one-yet-not-one.  She came first, but now where she goes, the child goes too.  She nourishes the child, and the child does nothing on his own apart from her.  My God, why don't more people refer to God as a Mother!  This analogy makes so much sense.  We are God's children, and we live in a perpetual pregnancy of sorts - separate yet nonetheless united to our Mother-God.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is likewise another analogy.  What it tries to convey about who we are and who God is - that we are created by Him yet remain a part of Him - that is the point.  Do I really want to spend the rest of my life refusing to benefit from the wisdom of the truth that this analogy wants to communicate to me because I am stuck on the literal interpretation?

I haven't exactly figured out yet how to make my way back to feeling Catholic without the literalness weighing me down, but my confessor at the retreat was so kind, so understanding, and stated that I should receive Holy Communion "as a sign of hope and a promise".  I told him what I did and didn't believe in, and this was his advice to me.  I have taken it, and this past Sunday I received the Eucharist for the first time in several months (I haven't been counting.).

I'm looking forward to participating in various groups at the church and studying and praying.... because at the end of the day, there is no award for having figured out the truth.  There's only the reward of having lived a fulfilling and joyful life, which for me, must include the spiritual and religious aspect.

So, guess who's back?  Me.  I'm Catholic once again.  A revert for the second time, though this time taking a slow and measured approach.  A revert nonetheless.  Amen.

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