Faith & Spirituality

My Background
From L to R: Me, my sister, and my brother
Where Christianity and I are concerned, my history looks like many others. I was born into and raised in a good Christian home. I learned about Jesus through Sunday School stories, flannelgraph depictions of Christ and the apostles, and Five Day Clubs. At an early age, I prayed for Jesus to come into my heart and though there have been some considerable bumps along the way, we've been together ever since.

Like many, I had my share of wounds inflicted by well-meaning Christian communities (a church community, as well as the Christian university I attended). Though it happens frequently enough in Christianity at large, it is a painful and personal shock when it happens to you: people will judge, people will throw the book at you, label you, or spread hideous lies to others about who you are. And they will do it all "in Jesus' name."

Though this didn't steer me away from the church, there came a time in my later twenties when I tried on some of the world's ways for size, tired of all the years of playing by "the rules" and feeling that it didn't satisfy. What I found when trying to live like the world does is that a life without Christ is wearying and soul-draining. I couldn't keep it up. So in the spirit of the prodigal son, I repented and ran back as fast as my calloused and dirty feet would carry me to the church, more alive in my faith than ever. And I was received with eager and open arms.

My Faith Today
As far as my present faith goes, I write from a Catholic perspective, having found a true home in the Catholic church. I'm a fairly recent convert from evangelical Protestantism (I started attending Mass regularly in the Fall of 2009 and was received into full communion on Easter Vigil of 2010), and my current practices and beliefs are unapologetically Catholic to the core. If you're a Christian who is not Catholic, you may be surprised to find two things: one is how much we do, in fact, have in common (I expect that at least some of I write here won't vary widely from your own expression of faith) and another is that Catholicism may not look like what you've been told or understood it to be.

Read my "Becoming Catholic" series

And then again, there are the real and substantial differences which neither of us can ignore. Where these differences are concerned, there have been people who have found their ways here who like to engage in debate (particularly when I expounded on my reasons for converting), or tell me how poor my formation in reformed theology must have been (or surely I would not have converted!), but that's really not what I'm interested in -- it's certainly not because I can't articulate or defend my reasons for converting, and it's not even that I'm not interested in discussion. It's that what I write here (at least from November 2011 on) is not intended to be an apologetic, but is of a more personal and intimate nature than debate will allow.

You should also know that I'm not afraid of our differences: to talk about them, acknowledge them, and let them exist between us. But you should also know that they do pain me. This may be made clearer in how I write about my faith and the Church. Now that I better understand the history of these differences and what lies behind them, I think a lot about them and care about discussing them with others. Christ's high priestly prayer in John 17 makes clear what has been a burden on my heart since I was a little girl: the Church, Christ's body, is meant to be one in every way, just as the Father and Son are one. We are not meant to be so many bodies. All these denominations and all these varying messages are not diversity, but brokenness.

My intent in this space is to write about these matters of faith in a personal way, and with a spirit of honesty, humility, and Christian charity. I am trusting others to do the same. Where our differences are concerned, I hope we will both be able to extend to one another the generosity of trusting in the other's good intentions.

A final note ... 
If you're interested in engaging someone in debate on matters of Catholicism, this is not the place. If debate is your goal, I know you must already know dozens, if not hundreds, of other blogs where you can do just that. If you simply have questions about anything I've written or are seeking clarification or just want to discuss, I don't mind that at all -- but I'm not going to engage with anyone who makes a comment in a combative or debate-y tone and reserve the right to delete any comments that are offensive in nature.