Well...for those of you that sorta know me -- at a time when most people are fleeing the RCC, I ran the other direction and was Confirmed at the Easter Vigil. SO....even though I'm no spring chicken, my new journey begins. Sure, it's a journey that a lot of people don't understand, but thankfully I'm finally in a place where I don't feel the need to explain or defend. The Church is where I am called by God to be.
I woke up early this morning thinking about some people I've been visiting in a couple of nursing homes -- should I go visit them and if I do, will they know I'm there? OK...I'll go and even if they don't know I came, I'll know that I got to spend some time with someone that is also one of God's many children.
Yep...God's many children....there's a whole bunch of us! I think there are about 1.2 billion RCs in the world -- that's a big bunch! OK...I'll get on with it -- I woke up this morning and wanted to talk to somebody about what was on my mind, but Craige was asleep, and George and Grace are good listeners, but I am not smart enough to speak dog so I decided to send an email to the good people that are a huge part of my spiritual journey -- the John XXIII Catholic Community RCIA team. They're really good people and they really put up with a lot from me -- questions, questions, opinions, questions, loud opinions, sighs, etc. Well...for those of your familiar with RCIA it's the time of Mystagogia -- I love that word -- "a pathway into the mysteries" -- how seductive is that?? ! Just when I thought it couldn't get any better than Easter Vigil and Confirmation:-)) For me it's a time of taking what God and the Holy Spirit (boy...that Holy Spirit, she's something else:)) have given me so far and doing something Jesus-like with it.
Anyway, I sent my RCIA companions an email, telling them what was on my mind and since I hadn't posted anything on this "blog-ette" of mine since late-March, I decided to share it with anyone else that comes across it.
A few weeks ago, I came across an article Thoughts on Post-Tribal Catholicism http://ncronline.org/blogs/all-things-catholic/thoughts-post-tribal-catholicism in NCR by John Allen, Jr. (I'm not always a huge fan of J. Allen, but in this instance, I think he makes some thoughtful points). Allen prefaces the call for zones of friendship with three observations, outlined three challenges to implementing it, and closed with three examples which suggest there’s hope. I found some of the ideas interesting, and thought that you might glean something of meaning that we can possibly take with us, if only in our collective unconscious. The essence of the article, is a suggestion of a way for Catholics to begin a different kind of dialogue. As I said, I read it back in mid-April, but when I woke up this morning, I knew I needed to take a look at it again. When you have a chance, you might take a look at it. There are at least a few ideas that I found relevant to a different kind of communication between the different "factions" of the Church.
In closing (I know you find it hard to believe that it's possible for me to close:-))... this morning, I also discovered a couple of other observations that I found to be a different way to look at conflict resolution, and a new way that people of differing viewpoints might more easily and successfully approach a "mutual" dialogue. Hmmm..."mutual dialogue", I know that sounds redundant but I think that much of the dialogue in the Church isn't mutual, but instead, one group blasting away at the other, calling it "dialogue" -- but there's not a great deal of hearing or respect occurring. Speed Leas (Alban Institute), a man that is sometimes referred to as a guru of church conflict, has written that "the most important thing in working in a hot fight is to recognize that everybody wants to simplify the issues so you have clear reasons for killing each other"(spiritually, of course, in most church conflicts). The most important thing one can do is to "complexify things."
Loren Mead, an Episcopal minister says that when Leas says "complexify things", he believes he is making this reference -- "only when you begin to see new dimensions of what is going on are you able to get beyond dead ends. When you see all ten sides of the issue you’d mistakenly thought had only two, only then can you begin working out of the polarization."
That "ten sides of the issue" is something I found of key importance. There are more than two sides to most issues and yet we seem to only hear and think about those two opposite ends of the spectrum -- particularly the one we know to be right.
Ok...I'll let you all now relax and enjoy your weekend! Just needed somebody to talk to...
In His love, jer...
The painting is "Easter Morn" by Chinese artist He Qi