Faith Matters: reflections of yet another liberal Catholic

June 21, 2011

The Brain—is wider than the Sky—
For—put them side by side—
The one the other will contain
With ease—and You—beside—

The Brain is deeper than the sea—
For—hold them—Blue to Blue—
The one the other will absorb—
As Sponges—Buckets—do—

The Brain is just the weight of God—
For—Heft them—Pound for Pound—
And they will differ—if they do—
As Syllable from Sound—

 – Emily Dickinson, “632″

 In your metaphysics you have denied personality to the Deity, yet when the devout motions of the soul come, yield to them heart and life, though they should clothe God with shape and color. Leave your theory, as Joseph did his coat in the hand of the harlot, and flee.

 – Ralph Waldo Emerson, in “Self Reliance”

Christianity began from a  revolution. Like most ideological products of revolutions, it eventually morphed into dogma and hegemony. And so the eternal questions: how can one maintain a spirit of dymanism, curiosity and questioning without losing one’s faith? (Or, conversely, how can one maintain one’s faith without slipping into dogmatism?) Why does religious faith still matter in an increasingly secular world? What can each of us do to ensure that the old religious traditions remain relevant? But then…why should we? I don’t claim to answer these questions, but to ask them. I’m hoping to get some answers from you.

If you are a practicing Catholic who sits sullenly in the corner during church coffee hours, afraid that sooner or later someone is going to find out that you’re pro-choice, or pro-gay-marriage, or that you receive Holy Communion but haven’t visited a confession booth in years, and you’re scared that one day your fellow parishioners are going to find you out and tell you that you don’t really belong in their faith community…This blog is meant for you.

If you are a person of any creed (or none) who believes that the truth is one, but the paths toward it many, this blog is meant for you.

If you are a religious believer who feels increasingly obsolete in the secular world, if you’re clinging desperately to a faith that might be blown away at any moment, this blog is meant for you.

If you are an atheist, agnostic or other nonbeliever who yearns to understand and communicate with your religious friends/family members/coworkers but can’t figure out how to do so…This blog is meant for you.

If you are seeking to live harmoniously in a state of contradiction…This blog is meant for you.

Nota bene: I’m not here to argue with anyone. If you want a site where you can argue, I’ll happily direct you toward several. That said, I don’t mean that I expect my readers to ooh and ahhh and shower me with encomia (though let’s be honest, in our deepest selves, don’t we all want that)?  Quite the contrary. I hope that you will disagree with me and offer your own perspective on these issues. I welcome your comments; I welcome your posts (just email me, and I’ll be happy to add your post to the blog). I just ask that we might all maintain a respectful attitude and refrain from rudeness/trolling. What I’m looking for here is collaborative dialogue for its own sake. A meeting of hearts and minds. And who knows…Maybe just a little bit of fun.

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