Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Two kinds of Catholic

The comment thread on my last post has gone on and on .... I feel like I made a mistake in phrasing things the way I did.  I guess it sounds like I might be saying "here are my objections, come knock them down because I want to stay Catholic!"  When really I should have said, "here's what I think, I'm scared it makes me a heretic, reassure me I am still Catholic!"

If you whittle down all the individual arguments (which, if you're interested, are all being hashed out in the comboxes) I guess my real problem is that there are two kinds of Catholic.  And these two kinds of Catholic are as different, to my mind, as two different religions: different in worldview, different in priorities, different in the way they act.  It bothers me that there are two.  I worry that perhaps one is right and one is wrong, and that I am on the wrong side.

The first kind of Catholic tends to prefer things from before Vatican II.  Not the liturgy particularly (though they might) but the general tone of things. 

They believe that unbaptized infants who die go to limbo, and that non-Catholics of any kind, even if they never even heard of the Catholic Church, mostly go to hell.  One of these people told me, "If a man kisses a million lepers and washes the feet of the poor, but isn't baptized, he will go to hell, but if he is baptized and does the bare minimum of receiving the sacraments and avoiding mortal sin, he will go to heaven."

They believe that sin and grace are a sort of bank account; if you've done a certain amount of sin, you owe a certain amount of suffering.  Christ's sufferings on the cross were to pay off our deficit at the grace bank.

They like Benedict and don't like Francis or John Paul II.  Phrases like "who am I to judge" make them very upset.  They like Cardinal Burke.  It is very important to them that pro-abortion politicians are publicly denied the sacraments, and that sodomy is against the law.  They feel that people do bad things when allowed too much freedom, and the job of the state is to keep people from doing all those bad things.

When told that God killed lots of people in the Flood or at Sodom, or that he ordered the Israelites to wipe out the Canaanites, they aren't bothered.  But some of Jesus' parables about mercy make them feel a bit uncomfortable.

If you ask them how many people go to hell, they will tell you most people do.  They might point out that many private revelations have said this.

They worry a great deal about doing things right: about not using birth control or overusing NFP, about saying the rosary, about getting the liturgy perfect, about going to confession often.

If they get cancer or their friend dies in a car wreck, they say this was God's will and God must have some purpose in it.  Maybe he is trying to teach them something.

They say, "God is good, but it might be a sort of good that doesn't feel or seem good at all to humans."

All of this hinges on a view of God that says he cares very much about rules and about what you believe.  He isn't unmerciful, but they focus more on his justice.  I would like to emphasize that I am not attempting to parody this side; I know good people (some readers, probably) who fit more on this side and are probably better people than I am.

The other kind sees God differently, as loving and merciful without much focus on justice.  They think God cares a lot more about whether you love your neighbor than whether you believe the right things.

They love the Gospels (except for the whip of cords bit; that doesn't seem right) and flip nervously through the Old Testament till they reach the prophets at least.

They see sin as a break in one's relationship with God; grace fixes it.  Christ's redemption had something to do with fixing a relationship, not paying into a bank.  (But I learned the hard way, it's hard to get one of these people to explain exactly how this works.)

They believe God prefers five minutes of heartfelt spontaneous prayer to half-a-dozen rosaries, and don't tend to care all that much about how perfectly the liturgy is done.

They believe that a charitable person who loves God, but isn't Catholic, will probably go to heaven.  Even a well-meaning atheist probably goes to heaven.  They believe that you can think all the wrong things, but as long as you would choose the right things if only you knew, you're still in the clear.  They hope hell is empty, or nearly so.

Politically, they see the Church's role in the public sphere as promoting basic human dignity, but not fighting culture wars.  They probably believe the state has the duty to care for the poor, but not to police sexual behavior.

If they get cancer or someone dies, they believe it's just one of those awful things that happens, not that God willed it specifically.

They say, "God is good, but it is a kind of goodness I can recognize as good.  I am sure God wouldn't do anything I think is evil."

In short, they are the "social justice Catholics," the "touchy-feely Catholics," the "Vatican II Catholics," the "as long as you're a good person Catholics."

The trouble is, I am made very uncomfortable by the worldview of the first camp.  I can't see God that way.  However, probably 75% of camp number two are living in a state of what camp number one would call mortal sin.  There aren't a lot of people who think that God is a merciful being who cares more about the heart than about rules -- and still follow the rules.

I do follow the rules.  I follow the rules because I think following the rules is a way to show love.  It might not be the only way.  I don't really care if it is the only way.  It is the way that God has revealed himself to me, along the story of my life, and the only love letter I know how to send is following the rules.  But for me that's always with the understanding that he'll cover what I'm lacking.  That if I'm totally and completely wrong, he'll say "but you were trying to serve me" and welcome me anyway.  And that for the many people I know who believe something utterly different from what I do, he's got that same mercy ready.

There are moments when it all falls into place for me.  When I see that there's a very delicate balance between too much fear of God's justice and too much presumption on God's mercy; when I realize that God is greater than my conception of him and that perhaps the rule-bound way that's so scary to me is his way of leading people to himself too; when it is clear to me that the reason there are few (or, comparatively few) attempting to walk this fine line with me is that walking the fine line is hard -- not that I'm doing it wrong.

At other moments, I look at it and say to myself, "This brokenness cannot possibly be of God.  The reason we're walking so far afield is because before 1960 it was all camp one, all the time, and since then it's been all camp two.  And the reason for the shift is that deep in our gut, we are following the world.  We followed the world in the early Church and in the Middle Ages, adopting harshness and legalism because those were the coin of the day, and we're following the world now when we suddenly say that being a good person is enough.

"Either that, or camp one is right, has always been right, and God is the stern judge I can't bear to imagine spending eternity with.  If that is what the Church is, I want no part of it."

That's the part that scares me.  Everyone says, "So long as you decide you will believe whatever you discover the Church teaches, you're in the clear."  Only I won't.  I believe in God's goodness, God's mercy, his infinite store of love, more than I believe in the Church.  I don't think that's doubt, exactly.  Maybe it's a deeper kind of faith.

The dark voice whispers, "This is pride, that you think you could know what God is based on your own reason, instead of trusting the Church to tell you."

Perhaps it is.  But when it comes down to it, I need a God who is love and mercy, who treats his children with the sort of gentleness that I try to have with mine.  I need to strive to be like that God, and not the other one.  I need to trust in that God, and not the other one.  And I just can't believe that God would give me this need for him, and then fail me on that.

21 comments:

Andrea said...

I apologize that my husband and I misunderstood your statements as an opening to a discussion.

You just stated the far extremes and stereotypes, and you were terribly unfair and colored in your view of the "first camp" of Catholics. I know many what you would probably call Trads, and what you said was quite a load falsehood towards them.

We do wish you the best in your search for understanding. To know God is to love Him more, and to love Him more is to serve Him better.

Anyways, promise we won't bother you any more.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

I have to wonder where the greater "two types of people" idea comes from. (Do you know the joke: "There are three types of people in the world: those who can count and those who can't"? =P)

A friend of mine has been critical lately of a certain trope that divides men into "alphas" and "betas" (and apparently, a whole bunch of other Greek letters!). He says that no one is ever just one or other, but everyone is a complex mix of many characteristics that got arbitrarily parceled out into those categories. I think it's the same for all groups of people, including the Church. And so I wonder why Catholics have been thinking in terms of this division for so long. Also, was there some pre-Vatican II "two types of Catholic" model that we've forgotten?

Then there's the Myers-Briggs idea of "Thinkers" and "Feelers." Now, I'm a T and you're definitely an F ;-)--and to be honest, I find your recent posts to be a fascinating look at how F's approach an issue and weigh it for truth. Now, Myers-Briggs has several other categories that work together in combination, which means that there are a total of fourteen types. And I'll bet that if we really tried, we'd see that there are also fourteen distinct camps in the Church! It just takes more training to see fourteen than to see two. But heck, during my "occult years," I taught myself to see twelve, and when I fell off the wagon a few years ago, I taught myself to see five. I mention this not to be your token creepy, woo-woo friend, but to explain why the simple two-camp model doesn't cut it for me at all and why I think you shouldn't rely on it in your approach to the Church.

Another thing that I don't like about it is how easily it fits the seemingly unrelated Marxist model. The two camps can't just co-exist, but seemingly must struggle. I don't think it's right to see the Church as a constant war between two groups that will never agree.

And now you're thinking, "Did Enbrethiliel even read what I wrote?" =P Of course I did! And for the record, I was very moved by your naked honesty in the last few paragraphs. However, as you may have figured out from all my comments since you first brought up the issue, we have different ideas of what is consoling. If someone says, "What I believe with all my heart is against Church teaching and that scares me," the only solution that I see is to find the flaw in the reasoning so that everything finally fits right. (And I see a flaw in the two-camps model, so I figure that if I show you that you're not in one camp and warring against another camp, it will make you feel better somehow.) But you didn't arrive at your belief by reasoning, but by trusting in the feeling that fueled your faith in God and your love of the Church to begin with. That approach is kind of alien to me: for me, feelings come after logic, and if I see where I have been in error, I can change my feelings after I change my mind. This isn't to say that I haven't had irrational feelings--but whenever I did, I was more likely to accept that they were irrational than to believe that they were a need given to me by God.

Finally, I guess I can just repeat what I think I said in the first thread. I don't see any contradiction between God's perfect justice and God's perfect mercy, and I believe with all my heart even those who are suffering the worst pains of Hell are as enfolded in the Heart of God as those in Heaven are.

Sheila said...

Andrea, how frustrating ... it seems that no matter how many hedges and explanations I use, any attempt to talk about the further-right part of the Church (which is not coterminous with "trads" anyway) is going to offend people who fall more into that camp. Enbrethiliel, as she points out, falls more into that camp than the other and I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for her faith and the way she perceives and practices it. I think, as I said, that it's a way to God. I just can't deal with the possibility that it's the ONLY way, and that I should be expected to wedge myself into it. And yet people in that camp seem to believe very strongly that it IS the only way, and are upset and offended by the way I see God.

But, as I said in my first paragraph, any apologies due are mine, because I made it sound like I was looking for an apologetics debate when I really wasn't. I'm not upset or offended by your attempts or Anthony's though -- I did engage in discussion with you because that's worthwhile too, although not what I particularly feel a need for at the moment.

Enbrethiliel, you are completely right that this is an oversimplification. Nobody exactly fits these two descriptions! But in the American church, at this moment, and particularly in my own circles, people are segregating more and more along these lines. If it was just people following their own personalities for their best ways of understanding, that wouldn't be a bad thing at all, but instead it seems people are sorting themselves and closing ranks. About every week I get in an argument with the same batch of people, and every time the lines are drawn the exact same way. You can be talking about the best way to help women considering abortion, or whether gay people may identify as "gay" while still being celibate, or whether the pope's last statement was a good idea or not, and people divide into the exact predictable groups, and with the same arguments every time. One side says "God would not do X, because that's not good" and the other side says "God is good in ways you can't possibly understand." And though both are true, and both may be helpful to the people who are saying them, one of those is utterly toxic to ME. And it's like 90% of the people I know!

(Incidentally, I see this as not just as T vs. F division, but also J vs. P. But I can see plenty of judgers in the "social justice" side -- the people who say mean things about people on the "rules" side, mostly -- and plenty of perceivers in the "rules" side .... who are probably unhappy like me. It's about how you were raised and who you hang out with, and when there's a mismatch between your personality and your tribe, there is going to be some level of frustration. In the same way I was raised strongly Republican and my personality is a good bit more liberal -- though there I find the mismatch more helpful than not; the two competing "gut reactions" help me engage my reason instead of blindly going along with one side or the other.)

Sheila said...

Incidentally, John untangled the problem of God's goodness for me last night. I feel that two things must be true, and that they are contradictory:

1. God must be good in a way I can perceive -- God shouldn't do things that appear to be evil. (It seems to me that on that argument, you could be worshiping Cthulhu and claiming he is "good" just by definition.)

2. I can't be the standard. (Because, you know, what if I were raised in one of those tribes that buries infants alive if they're seen as defective? It's provable that some people's idea of good, isn't really good.)

And John and I went round and round on this, and finally he came up with the answer that unpicks the knot: God doesn't say he is good. He doesn't say "be good." He knows that's rather meaningless. He says he is LOVE, and that we should love one another. That is something we DO know instinctively -- we all know the basics of how to be loving parents, or we'd have all died out -- and it's also something we can work out through reason, by figuring out in each situation what is to the benefit of the person we are loving. Sometimes it's comfortable, and sometimes not, but it's always clearly recognizable to me as goodness.

And that helps all the arguments about what God would and wouldn't do, because if you say "God wouldn't do X because I don't think that's good," the other person can just as well say "yes he would because *I* think it is good." Instead you can say "this is the loving thing to do" and then argue about whether or not it really is showing love, whether it really helps the person who is being loved. That's an argument to which there could be a right answer.

You see, I am a Feeling person who has been taught all her life that it is WRONG to trust feelings. So I need reason to back up my feelings, or I feel like I am surely wrong. It isn't enough for me to say "God is good" because I have this sinking feeling in my stomach telling me "you just WANT to think that." But if I can prove that God is love -- and I can, that's easy -- then that's an answer that satisfies my feelings AND reason.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Sheila, I have also seen the two-camp model manifesting itself a lot in the Catholic blogs I read. Since they're all also written by Americans, I wonder whether this is a "symptom" of the American political model of conservatives vs. liberals. Although you'll see a similar split in the Philippines when Catholics debate each other, it isn't nearly as well-defined as what you have in America.

As for J vs. P, it's worth clarifying that they're not about how judgmental or "mean" someone is, but about the way a person prefers to structure his life. Js like tying everything up neatly, while a P could keep his options open forever. So a J in the second camp would demand real changes, like special "youth Masses" with rock music at least once a month, while a P in the first camp (*waves shamelessly*) wouldn't mind being the only one wearing a mantilla at Mass, as long as nobody bothered her about it.

Oh! That reminds me of an awful experience that you can probably relate to. (At least it seems the closest thing I've ever experienced to what you feel when your in-laws press gang you into saying the rosary. LOL!) A few years ago, when the H1N1 virus, a.k.a. "swine flu," was all over the news, the Archbishop of Manila instructed all the faithful to receive Communion only in the hand. This really bothered me because I think that the best way for me to show reverence to the Eucharist is by kneeling and receiving it on my tongue. And frankly, although "in the hand" is allowed, I don't at all think that it is equal to "on the tongue." Anyway, let's just say that I got into trouble with my parish priest because I disobeyed the instruction. He was really upset and almost denied me Communion at one point. (I wasn't pushing him. I deliberately chose lines that he wasn't distributing Communion to, but during the second time, his first line ran out before mine did and so he came over to relieve the deacon at my line.) There was an awkward face-off for what seemed like forever, while I just knelt there and he tried to stare me down. Finally, I said, "Amen" and he flicked the Host into my mouth. He has been rotated to another parish since then, but he occasionally visits, and to this day, he won't speak to me. He even moves away when he sees me coming--and no, I'm not being paranoid! What a J, aye? ;-P

Anyway, I'm glad that John helped both your feelings and your reason to find peace on this issue. =)

Sheila said...

Yes, America is deeply divided, more all the time. I guess it's self-propagating, and the internet makes it worse, because you get more traffic by marketing yourself to one side or the other and spending all your effort bashing the opposition than you do trying to be balanced. Within the Church, it was always a vague hazy sort of line until Francis was elected. Then people started very seriously getting into camps -- either gloating because Francis said something they liked, or livid because they didn't like what he said. I do happen to find much of what he says very comforting, but most of the "controversial" stuff leaves me wondering what people are hearing ... because he isn't saying anything unusual or new or even all that meaningful in those moments when the media goes nuts about him. It still manages to be a polarizing influence.

The way I've always understood J vs. P is that a Judging person believes that there is one right answer, while a Perceiving person might think there are many possibilities. So a Judging person on either side of the aisle is interested in promoting their viewpoint and criticizing or discouraging the other one, while a Perceiving person sees the two as both valid options, even when they themselves have a preference. (Perhaps Andrea, above, is seeing a Judging tone to my post that wasn't there.)

A lot of conservatives criticize liberal J's for inconsistency: "They say they value tolerance, but they refuse to tolerate my own viewpoint!" Well, yes. Liberal J's, like conservative J's, have a strong viewpoint about the way the world should be and are doing their best to make it happen. It's not really inconsistent, if you understand what they mean by tolerance.

Your story reminds me of so many liturgical battles in my family. In America, it's the norm to kneel from the Agnus Dei until after Communion (not sure how this is done where you are -- I know in Italy they stand for that part). Well, the bishops' council decided that each bishop should choose for his own diocese whether the norm should be to kneel here or stand, and our bishop chose standing. But our priest said we should kneel anyway because it's more reverent. My dad was in a real bind, but he decided the obedient thing to do was to stand, even though the WHOLE CONGREGATION was kneeling at that point. I remember being so embarrassed sticking out like that, especially when I had grown up kneeling and would have preferred that anyway. I really hate liturgical battles. What possible good is worth making a Thing out of it, and taking away people's comfort in the liturgy? (I even feel that way to some extent about the new English translation we got a couple years back -- it basically destroyed my ability to feel at home saying the responses I grew up with. So even though it's *slightly* more correct to say "and with your spirit" than "and also with you," I can't quite feel the whole fuss was worth it.)

And communion squabbles are the worst. When you go up to receive communion, you should be able to be praying ... not flustered because you don't know what's going to happen when you reach the end of the line. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

I left the Catholic church because of camp one.
If most Catholics were like you, I'd come back.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Our understanding of J vs. P don't contradict each other: a J wants to tie everything up neatly because he already knows what the right answer is, while a P keeps his options open because he doesn't think there is only a single answer. It's just that when you said a lot of Js were "mean," I thought you associated the type with being overly judgmental.

Ariadne said...

Here's an interesting link explaining judging vs. perceiving. I'm never sure which one I am, honestly. I usually end up on the perceiving side, but not by much.

http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/judging-or-perceiving.htm

As for the two kinds of Catholics, I sometimes think the internet makes it appear as if there is more dichotomy and division than there actually is. The people who share their views and argue with others on the internet are often those with the strongest opinions. Personally, I don't really fall into either camp, and my guess is that there are many Catholics who also belong in the middle ... but we're quiet about it. I guess I'm just trying to say that internet arguments don't necessarily reflect the wider reality of American Catholics.

Ariadne said...

I like to put it this way: not all the people on the internet are crazy, but all the crazy people are on the internet. It really seems to be the natural habitat of extremists who don't have any other way to air their views. This saturation of extremists online gives a distorted view of reality.

Sheila said...

Ah, very true, Ariadne! Maybe I could also add that the Christendom bubble is pretty polarized, too ... though I don't know many Catholics outside of that bubble, due to living in the same town.

Enbrethiliel, I didn't mean that they WERE mean, just that they say mean things sometimes. Kind of thinking about how Andrea thought I'd been unfair to traditionalists, and I'm sure that touches a nerve because some people DO paint further-right Catholics as Pharisees, hypocrites, etc. That's what you get when someone feels the further-left camp is the One Right Answer -- they have as strong a dislike for the right-hand camp as the right-hand camp has for them. And though traditionalists have a reputation for being judgmental, liberal Catholics can do it just as much. Why shouldn't they, when they too believe there is a right and a wrong answer?

Laura said...

Sheila, What you're blogging about here is so interesting to me (and I don't think you're a heretic, fwiw).

"I believe in God's goodness, God's mercy, his infinite store of love, more than I believe in the Church. I don't think that's doubt, exactly. Maybe it's a deeper kind of faith."

I read that and thought "yesssss." Lately I've realized that I grew up believing in Jesus because the Catholic Church said I had to. And I had to do what the CC said or I'd go to hell. (I'm exaggerating here a bit.) And now it's like, I'd rather have a relationship with Jesus as my starting point and (hopefully) remain Catholic because that's where I'm led in my relationship with Jesus (and knowledge of God's mercy and goodness, as you put it)?

But it feels kind of heretical b/c you're putting your own relationship/knowledged of God ahead of your identity as a Catholic.

But you know what I just remembered?

These quotes:

"One doesn't begin to be a Christian because of an ethical decision or a great idea, but rather because of an encounter with an event, with a Person."

and

"Many people perceive Christianity as something institutional -- rather than as an encounter with Christ -- which explains why they don't see it as a source of joy."

and

"Christianity is not a new philosophy or new morality. We are Christians only if we encounter Christ... Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we really become Christians."

Pope Benedict XVI said all of these! I found that encouraging.

Hope you don't mind me commenting here. . . . HOpe you had a good Thanksgiving!

Anna said...

I and the great majority of the committed Catholics I know IRL fall somewhere between your two camps.

I find that in times of religious worry of whatever kind it's best to avoid internet discussions (and in general getting too much of one's religious "diet" online) and stick to face-to-face conversations with people you trust (on both a personal and intellectual level) and reading authors you find helpful, who are in some sense real "authorities" for you. In other words, I agree with Ariadne.

Sheila said...

I appreciate you commenting here, Laura. I think a lot of the Christendom crowd (speaking from the ones I know personally), a few years out from graduating, has gone through a bit of a crisis, because we have seen the faith as a list of facts for discussion and debate .... and that's insufficient for building an actual life on. Some people just leave the faith outright ... and those of us who stay, need to find out what we are going to build the whole thing on. It can't be pure logic, because no one can be logical 100% of the time.

Pope Benedict actually has lots of quotes that help me ... like when he was asked how many ways there are to God, and he answered "As many as there are people." There's no formula. Even within all the frameworks of the Church, each of our story is a little bit different, and different things work for me than others.

And Anna, you're so right -- unfortunately, face-to-face conversations with people are few and far between in my life. I have basically my husband and one adult friend, and all my other interactions are either online or very rare. There are reasons for this ... but, in any event, it can't be fixed right now. And as you point out, online discussions devolve so quickly into debate. I have already restricted a lot of my online reading ... I can't read things on the far right or my head explodes, but if I read things from non-Catholics, I worry I'm just going to go along with their ideas. It's hard, and so I sort of avoid anything religious sometimes.

Ariadne said...

I actually don't read religious blogs (or very many blogs, period), except on rare occasions when someone has shared an interesting post. I think staying away from all the debates and disagreements helps me to retain some inner peace. And, honestly, I don't think online writing in general helps with my spiritual life at all. For me, the best way to deal with all the constant fighting is to avoid it. Then again, I know how sensitive I am to that kind of thing and how badly it affects me.

Sheila said...

Ariadne, I don't think I'm less sensitive than you, it's just that choosing to ignore various religious issues is also problematic for me. It feels like brainwashing -- refusing to think about the obvious problems in your worldview. So every time an issue IS raised, I feel the need to find an answer to it.

And quitting online interaction with other Catholics is just not an option -- that's most of the interaction I get in my life right now! And I feel it's vital for Catholics to have other people in their lives who can serve as an example. I wish I knew more people who really were SURE about their faith, instead of just ignoring things that bother them or hedging their bets, and at the same time happened to agree with me about who God is and what love and mercy look like. I mistrust myself, and I would like more people to reassure me that I'm not wrong. In that way, this post really has been helpful, because so many people did wind up agreeing with me.

But you see the problem voiced by Anonymous above -- you need to SEE Catholics that agree with you, or you assume that there are none -- that the Catholic Church is an institution with no room for you. I'm not arrogant enough to assume that I could singlehandedly come up with a new interpretation and not have it be wrong, especially if ALL other Catholics I know disagree.

Ariadne said...

I Well, I don't know, then. Staying away from online religious discussions works well for me! I don't think I'm ignoring religious issues; I just don't come across them! In the past, I've always resolved my doubts and questions through research and discussion with other Catholics whom I trust. At this point in my life, I feel pretty certain that what I believe is true, and I guess I don't feel the need to explore other possibilities anymore.

I wasn't suggesting that you stop interacting with other Catholics online! To me, there's a difference between talking with friends you trust and debating with people who hold a very different worldview.

Ariadne said...

I know it's been a while since we last talked about this, but your comment has been preying on my mind. I have been concerned that it seemed as if I am "refusing to think about obvious holes in my worldview." Honestly, I don't think I am. What I was trying to say is that I've been through times of doubt and confusion in the past, and those doubts have been resolved now. I don't see holes in my worldview because everything fits together, as far as I can see. Does that make sense? I just don't want you to think I'm ignoring reality and burying my head in the sand.

Sheila said...

I didn't think you thought that way. This whole post and comment thread has been about me, not other people. Most other people I know don't have the terrifying fear of brainwashing that I have which makes me question everything. And also many people have more resources for living a Catholic life than I have. I certainly don't think everyone should be having the crises I'm having -- this is unpleasant, do you think I would wish it on anyone? If you are happy in your faith, carry on and thank God for making it all hang together so well in your mind.

Ariadne said...

NYou definitely have understandable reasons for being afraid of brainwashing, and I honestly think you are dealing with this very well! And of course I would never think you were wishing crises on anyone! I do thank God that my Faith is easy for me right now; it hasn't always been that way, and I know I didn't earn it at all. I'm praying that you find peace. I know this must be incredibly hard.

Anonymous said...

Sheila, there are a ton of meditative, prayerful resources online that aren't about issues and debate. The scriptures for instance. But I do think the internet skews your worldview. Get outside! I know it's cold, but get out in the REAL!
EXAMEN.ME is on resource. Here's another: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/

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