Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sense of Wonder

This first is a snippet of a post I made on LJ earlier. I figured I might expand on those thoughts.

It was the first really hot day of the year. There was also no wind which to make it unbearable. I took the dogs for a walk, only Barkley wimped out on us, so Estrella and I brought him home, then continued on our journey. We saw the first coyote of the season. It was a scrawny little thing. It ran off when it heard us coming. As I'm walking the back forty of my subdivision, I noticed my church. Well, I actually noticed it the other day for the first time. I've lived in this subdivision 14 years and the church has been there for 15. It's amazing how this is the first time I really noticed it. Surely, I must have noticed it before? Strange after all this time I hadn't. It's a big church. It's about two-miles away from my house with lots of vacant land between where I walk and it. Anyway, maybe before I wasn't open spiritually and never really able to see it. I know most of you all aren't overly religious or don't follow any one particular faith. For me, I've always believed, though I haven't always practiced it. I've always considered myself culturally Catholic but now I'm a more than that, as I've gone back to Church. It's far from a perfect church and quite frankly, I will probably always have some issues with it, but it's the one that fits me best. Also oddly enough the things I thought I'd have issues with in the church aren't. So... I'm still a bit confuzzled about that.

I really enjoyed Mass today. Father gave a wonderful homily today. There are some days when I'm so focused and engaged in the Mass, today was one of them. There are days when he says something that resonates with me to my very being. It's sad to see so many empty pews. There are four Masses on Sundays, and the Vigil Mass on Saturdays. I hope the pews are fuller during the other Masses. I imagine come Monday Father is quite tired. There are other priests at my parish, but I think our pastor celebrates the majority of the Masses every week. And he doesn't get off weekends to rest, ;-)

I really love my parish and I do really love the Catholic Church. It's home. It's hard to believe that I left it for so long. I wonder if my coming back would have been different had I church shopped or joined some other church? I just always knew that I couldn't be any other religion. (Oddly enough, I answered a forum post a while back that asked if I wasn't a Catholic, what religion would I be? I was surprised how many people also said Jewish. Many based their answers upon the notion that neither Catholicism nor Christianity existed. That was the natural answer for them and for me as well. But for me... the question is really, could I be a non-Catholic Christian? I don't think so. Christianity for me is represented in the whole truth of Catholicism, so no, I couldn't be anything but a Catholic, most especially an Episcopalian/Anglican or a Lutheran, no matter how similar they are, they just aren't "Catholic" and there is no way I could join any other Catholic church not in communion to Rome, so no Old Catholic, SSPX or anything else etc. Orthodox is the exception. That's where I'd probably go.

Speaking of non-Catholic Christians, I went with my neighbor to hear Bishop Spong speak. Now, I knew who he was so I was prepared. He was speaking at a Santa Fe Jewish-Christian Dialog event. I went on Friday night and the best thing about the night was the Sabbath service at the Synagogue. There's lots and lots about him on the Internets-- google him-- to gage your own thoughts and opinions. He has critics and fans both. Still, I didn't find him to have anything mind-boggling or eye opening. I didn't find him to even be that credible. I wanted to be objective and open minded, but I felt like his ideas were either common sense or laughable at best. While, I'm not an apologetic or incredibly well versed in church history or the Bible, (I know some but nothing compared to others) I'm still learning on this exciting and mysterious journey . I didn't feel like he was saying anything earth shattering or enlightening. Still, I wish I had the ability to refute what he did say or debate him even though he didn't shake my faith.

I've read opinions and have looked up his thoughts and philosophies and while to some what he says sounds good, it sounds more like malarky to me. Maybe he's trying to shake the foundations of Christianity and looking for another reform, but it just didn't work for me. He spoke twice and I didn't attend yesterday where he espoused his opinions about the resurrection, crucifixion, Mary Magdalene. I haven't gotten a full report from my friend, but when I do, I'll probably write more.

Nonetheless, it was an interesting Friday-- as I said the Sabbath Service was the best part. It was beautiful.

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