Cold, Wet, and Full of Grace.

Yeah. That’s what it looks like…

January 13, Sermon Two: Baptism

I preached again. I felt more nervous than the first time, but I think people maybe liked it more? I’m not totally sure. I’m mostly judging by Clint. He seemed super happy about it. All the theology people were out there going, “Yes!” And all the non-Theologian trained people were going, “Yes, I think?” 

JANUARY 12, 2014 SERMON 

Part 1: Recalling our own baptism

Whether you remember it or not, baptism is an incredibly sensual experience. Whether you were being baptized, or you were a witness to a baptism, or are just guessing what a baptism might be like.

For a moment, relax a little. Get comfortable in your seat. Maybe close your eyes if you want, breathe, and take a second to imagine baptism. You could remember your own baptism. You could recall being a witness to someone’s baptism. Or, if neither of those work, just imagine whatever you think baptism is—the setting the feelings, the water, all of it.

What comes to mind? What are you thinking? Feeling? Are you afraid? Excited? Nervous? Maybe even inconvenienced or annoyed? Where did/does it happen? In a church? Camp? Outside? Inside? In a hottub? a Pool? the ocean? Maybe a lake? A river? A trough? A Baptismal just behind the pulpit and the curtain? How is the weather? Sunny? rainy? cold? Hot? Are you the only one being baptized? Who else is there? Your family, friends, children? What are you wearing? Who baptizes you? What might be that person’s significance?

What does the water feel like? Is it cold? It’s always cold. Maybe it was the perfect temperature. I don’t know. If you were only witnessing the baptism, did you wonder? Why did you do it? Or not do it? Or why did your parents do it?

I remember my baptism better than my mom remembers. It was after one of my first years going to Bible camp in Southern Indiana. Everyday we sung, played, learned about Jesus, and gossiped about who had a date to the end of the week event. Regardless, I knew long before camp that Jesus loved me, and I loved Jesus, but being a fifth grader in the Church of Christ—there is a lot of pressure to get dunked. The day I was baptized, a Sunday, I don’t remember the crux of the preacher’s sermon, but I do remember the intense need to get baptized, like if on the way home from church we crash and I die, my sinful 11 year old self was going to be in eternal danger!

After church, I told my mom that I wanted to get baptized, she told the preacher, and after church he took us back to his office and he asked me if I believed that Jesus was my savior, I said yes, and soon after I was waist deep in that hidden chlorinated pool behind the curtain behind the pulpit.

It was cold, wet, and full of grace.

Part 2: Why did Jesus get baptized?!

I was a sad sinful 11 year old. That makes sense, but why did Jesus get baptized? What is this baptism? Why? It is a strange ritual. Before Christianity embraced traditional baptism, ritual cleansing was practiced by the Jews. This is why we have John the baptist, a voice crying out in the desert calling for repentance. This is why John had the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to him, because baptism was the thing to do… But Jesus didn’t need to repent, did he?

Originally, I was going to run down about 5 reasons “Why Jesus got baptized” but I changed my mind this morning.

[Here they are, not in my actual sermon. These reasons are not mutually exclusive…1. To be an example. Jesus got baptized, told us to be baptized, so we should be baptized. Pretty straight forward, pretty simply. We obey. 2. Jesus as “the new Adam.” Some suggest Jesus baptism as a representation of the undoing the fall of man… Adam fell/disobeyed, and Jesus is the ultimate example of complete obedience to God. It says in Isaiah “See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare.” And with these new things, a new symbol, as opposed to circumcision, we Gentiles have baptism. 3. Foreshadowing of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Easy peasy. Next, two more reasons…]

One of the traditional reasons for Jesus baptism is to mark the beginning of his ministry, or perhaps some sort of ontological change in Christ. In a sense, it marks the complete obedience of Christ’s will with God’s will. But was Christ not God and savior before his baptism. Spoiler alert: Orthodoxy says, “Yes.”

Theologian Raniero Cantalamessa, who wrote a tiny little book on the Holy Spirit in the Life of Jesus, asks the questions (p8), “How can the word incarnate become something new, which he already was not at the moment of incarnation?” Was he not perfect savior and perfect human from the moment of his birth? It is not an easy question, and has been under scrutiny in Christianity for hundreds of years.

Another reason Jesus was baptized is to fulfill the prophets. Rarely do all four gospels record the same event. And all four of the Gospels record the baptism of Jesus, and all of them are a little bit different in their approach.

Matthew is particularly concerned with reaching the Jews, essentially convincing them with the prophets that Jesus is the Messiah. And so, Matthew is the only Gospel where Jesus explains (sort of) “Why?” as if directly responding to Isaiah 42:6, “I have called you in righteousness.” And Jesus answers, Mt 3:15, “Let is be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.”

Consistent with Matthew, all of the Gospels cross-reference Isaiah 42:1 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights.” Perhaps the Gospels are calling back to prophecies involving literal water, and even the Psalm reading, 29:3 “The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over the mighty waters.” This feels reminiscent of the voice of God over the waters of Jesus baptism.

Of course, we can easily make sense of baptism, and the prophets, retroactively. And I think if Jesus wasn’t recorded as being literally baptized with water, we would probably still be able to make sense of Jesus as savior. Even without the record in all four gospels of Jesus being baptized, Jesus could have just told us to be baptized and we would have done it because ritually it made sense then, and it sort of makes sense now.

After all, what is it we say, “I baptize you for the remission of sins, in the name of the Father, the son and the Holy Spirit.” Jesus, didn’t exactly need “remission of sins.”

Maybe baptism is simply something that Jesus, God, wanted to share with me, us, humanity, and all the earth. This vivid process. Jesus was, and is, with us through the entire process—before, during and after. But there is more than just the person of Christ at work in the baptism—there are other divine persons involved here that deserve equal attention.

What I’m talking about is the Trinity. The readings in the lectionary for the past couple weeks are, whether you notice or not, Trinitarian in nature. All three, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are mentioned in one passage.

Like Clint discussed last week, Christian theology tends to solely focus on Christ, not that Christ isn’t important, but Christianity also affirms that there are two other persons of the Trinity, traditionally, the Father and the Holy Spirit.

The baptism of Jesus isn’t just an announcement of Jesus, but an abundant image of a breaking open of the heavens, communion between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Where none are completely separate from one another, or are any more or less than the other, and where none were before or after the other.

Now, I understand that Father (and probably even Son) imagery for describing the person(s) of God isn’t helpful for everyone, especially if you didn’t have a father, or had a not very nice one. That doesn’t mean that the tradition has to be abandoned altogether—there is more to “The Father” as God in the person/action of the Trinity, than the literal image of a father. Likewise, there is more to the Son and the Holy Spirit, none of which are mutually exclusive. They all work together, and all are in the baptism story!

The Father: Clint talked about this week—this power, this creative person of God. Almost like the brains of the operation, the one who conceives this plan. The one who is like a parent constantly reaching out for connection.

The Son: The redeemer, the human, the one on the ground unifying, seeking justice and peace, the one in solidarity with our hopes, dreams, trauma, and sufferings. The one whose example we can understand, follow, make sense of, and trust.

The Spirit: The one who sustains us, sanctifies us. The one that mediates between Father and Son. The one who insinuates action, makes things happen and then keep happening. The one who is with us presently as a gift and acknowledges and knows what is holy, good, and names it as such.

The word “trinity” isn’t in the Bible. It is simply something that we use to attempt to explain God and how God relates to God within God’s self. God, in God’s self is a representation and example of loving and holy relationship. This is ever present in the baptism story. God, in the Trinity is a radically relational being— an example of relationship while also actively engaging in relationship.

In this baptism, we are given the picture of the unification of God, God communing with God, while also communing with us. God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is invited to commune with us in baptism, and God invites us to commune with God’s self in baptism.

Can you imagine being the next guy or girl in line?

Part 3: ACTION

Well, technically, we all are next in line.

Jesus stands right next to us in line for baptism. The triune God is waiting to break open the heavens for us.

Jesus, who is God, stands among us, who are unworthy, he is mercy and grace.

While we don’t know, I like to imagine that Jesus did stand in line, and was just like us.

How did he know where John was? Maybe he needed to ask directions to get there. Was it a far walk? I wonder if it was in the morning or afternoon. I wonder if it was really hot and sunny, or maybe overcast, hazy. Was it dry? It is a desert out there. Maybe everyone is covered in dust. Were there only men, or were there families? Did Jesus go alone? Was there a long line? Was the water cool or warm? Was it rushing or calm? Was it shallow or deep? When he came up from the waters, was Jesus the only person who heard God’s voice and saw the spirit “like a dove”? Or did everyone?

Movies always show him just walking up and the crowd parting. Did Jesus cut the line? For some reason, I doubt he cut.

He probably made small talk with the people around him. Acting no better or worse than anyone else in his position desiring to be baptized by John.

Jesus, the spotless, sinless, perfect Lamb of God was baptized. Jesus, 100% divine and 100% human and 100% savior took a walk out into the desert, to a river somewhere, likely stood in line with and among sinners, and then received baptism from a sinner. How mundane and how awesome is that?

Just like us, Jesus made a decision. Jesus in human flesh, in our body, stood in solidarity with suffering humanity yearning for redemption. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the human and the divine, experienced baptism just like we are able and invited to do.

Like Jesus’ baptism was concrete, vivid, and particular, we live out our call, our baptism, in the concrete, vivid, and particular days of our lives. God chooses to make a seemingly impossible relationship, possible, by just standing in line. How much more are we called to relate to our fellow human being.

If we as Christians claim this relationship with God—impossible! We should probably learn how to relate to one another. At whatever time you choose, perhaps your baptismal calling is to simply make small talk with the person next to you. Maybe it’s reaching out to a friend. Maybe it’s generosity. Maybe it’s your in your job. We are called to be with and among whatever is most other to us, as God stood among us, but not like we are gods.

Jesus, being God and Man, and the Holy Trinity, is an incredible, beautiful, and extremely mysterious example of probably the most other things (God and Man) being one.

Not only that, but that we are invited to partake in this divine relationship, and if we claim to have such a divine relationship, then having a relationship with my enemy or with those I ignore and avoid should be a lot easier. Right?

No, it’s not always easy. It’s a daily struggle being human. But the baptism given to us, the invitation to commune with God, ought to be a daily reminder of who we belong. It doesn’t always make sense, and so we need to leave room for mercy, mystery, and grace.

The experience of baptism encompasses whole body, mind, and spirit, as well as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Whether you realize it, or not, in the moment, whether you are conscious or not, fully prepared or not (really, who can be fully prepared), there is something at work backwards and forwards through time and space that we are unworthily invited to over and over again—being baptized with God.

{END SERMON}

What if there is no priest!?

January 9

Daily Mass is a strange and beautiful thing. Honestly, I don’t know if it’s different than any Christian community one might regularly attend. Ideally, if you go once, or every day, Mass is all about community, hence, communion and eucharist. The idea that, whether you know it or not, you show up and it is community. You are in.

I attended an evangelical church in Boston for a year. I lived next door to a regular attendee of this church. No one there really badgered me until, my neighbor noticed me there. Now, I’m not annoyed that I wasn’t badgered to “get involved” in church earlier, but there is this weird sort of feeling being in and out. In Evangelical church it is kind of expected that you get what you put in. You build community. You are building community. But in Catholic church, the community is already there, built, through all space and time, and you are always welcome and well-regarded as a part of the community.

That’s not to take away from real relationships with people in a church that are built in the present. But it’s important to recognize the different emphases. Relationships in real time do take time, that is a fact of life. But God is beyond time and space, so how God “builds” relationship and communion are beyond our comprehension.

I also go to daily Mass. I’ve done this for over a year now. I go maybe 3-5 times a week to Mass. Eight a.m. weekdays. When I started, it was in St. Mary’s Chapel at Boston College. This chapel is a beautiful chapel on BC’s campus. It’s big, and very narrow and long. The back of the church feels very far away. It always felt like a lot of people were there. The priests were never late or no-shows to Mass because they also lived in the building. Well, soon after getting used to being in there, we got relocated (due to renovation) to a repurposed library transformed into Chapel in Gasson Hall. It seems like about a third of the size of St. Mary’s.

A lot of people stopped showing for mass when the community moved. Or it seemed that way. I still am not sure, because I was never sure how many people were in St. Mary’s.

Welp, it got real awkward in Gasson real quick. There is tight seating. There is no way to avoid walking by across or through the very front of the altar. The sacristy is awkwardly placed, and there is no rhyme or reason to the order of how eucharist is done. And priests regularly stand us up and flake! This depends on the time of year and the weather. This week, the first week of the year, and one week before class, there was no priest. There are like a hundred priests within 2 miles of this chapel, but that’s far and it’s cold.

The stress, anxiety, whatever you want to call it, of sitting in the chapel waiting. Watching people come in late with Mass not started. A couple of the usuals get antsy, check the sacristy, whisper things to a couple other people, walk in and out of the chapel semi-frantically… Seriously, what is Fr. Punctual doing? There are more Jesuit priests in Boston than anywhere else in the world! And we can’t get one here at eight a.m?

Enter, something beautiful. Most of the time the priest is just late, flustered, and flies through Mass. But this week, there is no priest at all. What do we do? Communion Service! Basically, there is already some left-over Jesus in the tabernacle, so the community does the intro, mass readings, our father, sign of peace, eucharist, and benediction. What?! So the priest is just there to make the Jesus magic happen.

Even though this sort of service is on the fly, and due to lack of priest, it really shows how willing everyone is to pitch in and make something happen. This is why there are so many loopholes in the Catholic church—because what if there are no priests?! What if all the males die! What if there are aliens!? Stuff like that. They really have their “what if’s” down.

Back to sermon writing…

What Is Assumed If I Become Catholic?

January 1

It is the new year. What do I want in the new year? How was the old year?

January 4

I’m working on my sermon for a week from now on Jesus’ Baptism. Last night, I dreamed that I was asked to preach at a church of Christ and Catholic church on the same Sunday, and I didn’t want to do it on the same day because I like attending one (relaxing) and preaching at another (stress).

January 5

At church today, church of Christ, I felt distant. Awkward. I don’t know why. Probably because it’s been two weeks since I’ve attended. I chatted a little after services, and that made me feel better. I was invited to go out to eat. I said no. I already had plans to go grocery shopping. This is my usual excuse, since I walk two miles to church, then another to the farmer’s market, then two back home. This makes for an exhausting Sunday. But maybe I’ll go out with them next week?

All that to say, I was so hungry that I immediately regretted saying “No” to the social offer. I knew I needed some social time. I just didn’t want to spend money or eat pizza. Lame-o. And even in my awkwardness this morning at church of Christ, I’m also skipping Mass today because I have work to do! In all likelihood, I’ll be at Mass bright and early tomorrow morning anyway.

So here I sit, feeling lame towards the Church of Christ, and absent at Catholic Mass. One day I’m thinking “No” to the Catholic church and considering quitting RCIA, and the next day I’m back again ready to confirm. And I still am not sure why.

The sermon at Brookline today was bold. Also, a little weird, I’m not quite sure what he was going for. It was part Paul defensive, part “God thinks this” [well, Paul says God thinks this], and part anti Christ. Anti Christ meaning that he wanted to emphasize God and what God does through Christ. I can appreciate that, but it was still a little strange to me. I think he was reacting to people’s emphasis on Christ’s humanity and less on being God. He really needed to tow the line though, because at one point it almost sounded like Christ was less than God (which is heresy). I don’t think he meant that, but he never once mentioned the incarnation (Christ is God), or that usually when people talk about Christ it is synonymous with God.

I’m sorry to say, I don’t think people got what he was going for because it was overshadowed by sort of human Jesus bashing. I was just glad someone commented by saying, “As soon as someone says they know what God thinks, they’re wrong.” As in, “Dude, leave a little room for mystery.” Because the boldest thing he went for was saying what God thinks, but we do this all the time in one form or another.

While some of the meat was a little hazy (it is the toughest part of the sermon to write!), his main point was to remember what God is doing/does.

I don’t even know how he got through that sermon without mentioning the incarnation or the Trinity! Chances are, just like me, there were about 1000 things in his head and he couldn’t mention them all.

In the meantime, I’m kind of at a loss about how to structure my sermon. I think I know what I want to say in the beginning, and I think I know what my final point is, but how I get there? I don’t know.

I keep going back and forth about becoming Catholic… If ever in the future, there is an audience for my writing, I imagine they will be thinking, “Poop or get off the pot!” For whichever way their sentiments lie.

I’ve gone years with all my Catholic buddies joking about me becoming Catholic. Then when I’m nearing taking the plunge, everyone is a little nervous. When I ask Steve about it, what he usually tells me is along the lines of, “I’ve always felt like you were a part of it.” And that is that. Whether I’m confirmed or not, that is how he feels, and he is happy with that.

And I know that getting confirmed is hardly the end. I’m not going to have any less existential crises, but then again, maybe I will have less. Because at that point, I don’t have to worry. In a sense, I would be choosing the Catholic church as my “priority church.” Not that they would like win out in an argument every time, but they would be my main community, and main place I would choose to serve.

I searched in Google for “churches that are growing and shrinking” hoping to find something. It didn’t really work. I was looking for basically what churches are growing and which are shrinking, but I don’t think it really matters. I found this instead:http://www.gallup.com/poll/125999/mississippians-go-church-most-vermonters-least.aspx.

It’s the percentage of people by state that attend church. What’s more interesting is that only a little less than half of Americans attend church. This bodes well to a theory that spirituality is like a normal curve, and maybe half of those people are the church attendees and half not, and it fluctuates. I wonder what the other half of people do on Sunday. I hope they do good things. Weekends are precious. Though, it is likely that many of them are working. Looking at the numbers, it looks like the Catholic church has declined since the 1950s and Protestants have just stayed the same.

I keep saying that I am leaning more towards getting confirmed than not. Today, I thought about what it might look like to apply for a non-Catholic job and actually being Catholic. I guess it’ll be similar to applying to Catholic jobs and not being Catholic.

I thought about what people might assume of me having actually chosen, in adulthood, to become Catholic. They might assume I’m just naive and brainwashed. They might assume I did it just to get married and be with my bae spiritually. They might assume I’m a glutton for punishment, or to stroke my own ego. They might assume I did it to be in line with my parents’ Catholicism. They might assume I hate the gays and want to save all the fetuses. They might assume I was just jumping on the bandwagon with Pope Francis.

Maybe not everyone will assume that. What I want is to jump this stupid 500 year old fence between Catholics and Protestants. Is there a gate somewhere that I can walk through? I think people on both sides want this. The grass is always greener effect. It takes a lot of commitment to jump fences than stay on your own safe side. You might get trapped on the other side! Or who knows what will happen? You only know that you won’t be able to control it. What is “it”? The Spirit.

I’m five days into the new year and there is so much to do. Who needs another spiritual memoir? Those people are such narcissists. Maybe I am. I mean, I’m not writing for anyone else, just myself. Free therapy. And maybe it’ll help someone else, but first and foremost, it is mine. Maybe that’ll change. Preaching is essentially the exact opposite. While I might be preaching to myself, it’s not exactly for me… or it is, it’s just not me? I don’t know.

This Catholic Conversion is Fishy

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

December 13

The priest this morning at Mass talked about the gospel reading. Jesus basically says, regardless of what you do, if someone isn’t willing to change or be receptive, or they just don’t like you, then they’ll always have something to criticize you about. It’s a weird lesson, but a good point, considering it was written a while ago.

I don’t know what was for me in it. I guess to be attentive to the places I need to be attentive. Look at my reason for resistance before I resist.

Someone confessed their leeriness of my Catholic conversion. Yes, my timing is kind of fishy, considering my super Catholic boyfriend, but it’s not like I planned it this way! I’ve been on this journey for five years now.

It is something I need to consider in myself, “Would I be doing this if it wasn’t for Steve?” I don’t actually know. I don’t know where I would be. I’m reasonably sure I’d still be going to Mass. I did that without Steve, and I told my buddy that. He knows. He gets it. But he explained that his girlfriend kind of hates the idea of anyone actually choosing to join the Catholic church. I was surprised, like, what does it matter. What am I supposed to do? It’s not like all the Christian churches are in some competition to get the most members and whoever has the most wins. No. No one is ever going to win that competition.

I’m playing the game and breaking the rules. The competition is a joke, and I’m just enjoying the ride.

It’s like, so I become Episcopal. So what? I decide on Lutheran. Okay. I get confirmed Catholic, and I can be involved with them all. I’m super Catholic, but I’m not Catholic at all. Quintessential both/and.

All doctrinal issues aside, it doesn’t really matter. No one person in a church is in complete congruence with that community. That’s impossible. If every church was perfect, there would be no need for church(es).

What Does It Mean to Fully Commit to the Catholic Church?

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

December 11

I met with Sr. Mary who runs RCIA. Sometimes I thinks she thinks I’m crazy. But I have to give her some credit, it is very difficult to know someone with only maybe six hours of interaction spread out over six months. That’s kind of the way our situation is. I look at her and I think she is amazed, confused, and unsure of me. She knows I feel very deeply, think very deeply, but can also have a very pessimistic and silly outlook and understanding. Like maybe she thinks I think becoming Catholic is some kind of joke, not that serious, and not that big of a deal. Yes and no. I do see it as serious. I wouldn’t be writing all this if I didn’t think it was serious. I wouldn’t even be trying. I wouldn’t be thinking, waiting, or discerning.

Today, she kept asking me about what I get out of RCIA and daily Mass. It’s kind of funny, because I feel like there is this movement in “Catholic training” to experience God almost in the sense of Protestanty “personal relationship with God.” And I see that as happening in RCIA with the catechumens. Listening to God and the experience. While I emphasize the community—togetherness and the beauty of that. That’s my draw, the community, how the community speaks the word of God, and not just me sitting and listening and reading my Bible by myself.

This is beautiful to me.

Not all Protestanty evangelical churches are all about the “personal relationship with God.” There are plenty of closer to Catholic interdependence (episcopal, lutheran, i.e. those following a lectionary). And perhaps I could go to one of those, but no. Rome and I are going on six years together, and I practically feel raised here.

Sr. Mary said how it would be a shame to find out a year from now that I don’t want to be Catholic. I had not really considered this. Well, yes, I have in the form of the question, “Where else would I go?” When I run, I run to the Catholic church. But I hadn’t really considered, “In what scenario would I not go to or avoid the Catholic church?” Assuming I am confirmed….

It would hurt if something happened to my relationship, that might make me avoid the Catholic church. But I didn’t get involved because of him. He’s supportive, but I do plenty of Catholicy things he doesn’t do. It would be more hurtful if the Church made some substantial changes that I really couldn’t deal with, that would hurt more. And, let’s be real, this happens in churches all the time. They are human institutions, with human failures.

I could decide to be a minister or priest somewhere else. I don’t think I want that. There isn’t anything pulling me anywhere else. Part of me is open to work for any church. Actually, I told my mom how great it was to go to Mass after preaching—no responsibility. Maybe that’s who I am. I need a community to work and one to rest.

“Fully committing to the Catholic church.” That is the phrase Sr. Mary used. Like I’m not enough already… I’m not sure I know what she means, and I’m not sure I would agree with her, or maybe we would agree. For me…

Fully committing doesn’t mean never ever going to another church again.

Fully committing doesn’t mean working to convert all the Protestants.

Fully committing doesn’t mean never taking communion anywhere else ever again.

Fully committing doesn’t mean I’m right and they’re wrong.

Fully committing doesn’t mean all the gays are going to hell and contraception is from Satan.

Fully committing doesn’t mean that any host of Catholicy things that Catholics don’t even adhere to…….

Is it not obvious? Well, that obviously gives away the type of Catholic I’m going to be. Not the good kind, but instead, an above average kind that actually goes to Mass.

Every person I know who has gone either way, Catholic to Protestant, or Protestant to Catholic, or whatever to whatever (barring legit cults), seems to feel the same way: Free. It’s not easy to go either way. To cross the threshold of difference and otherness. Maybe transcend? Transform? Convert? To change. Whoa.

In some ways, being Protestant is much more difficult than being Catholic. And becoming Catholic is much more difficult than becoming Protestant.

In my experience, Protestants expect you to do something at church: lead, mission, communicate, hang out, go to small groups, etc etc etc. Catholics—just show up to Mass. Catholics go through a rigorous annual process to becoming Catholic (RCIA, confirmation and all that).

Protestants: You believe? You’re pretty much in. I know some groups have a confirmation process, but you still get to do and be a part of all that the church does and life without confirmation in a Protestant church.

I like both! I want both! I know that you can have both at both, but it doesn’t seem to naturally turn out that way because of historical grudges.

Advent Waiting and Waiting…

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

December 4

I am not a traditional kind of girl. My lack of tradition and my inability to fit to a certain cultural standard is very stressful sometimes. I told my mom about RCIA, and she was excited, “You’re gonna become Catholic?!” She also agreed how unfair it is that Catholics can be Protestanty, but Protestants can’t be Catholicy. And then she talked about how much she likes secretly being both.

Anyway, this season of Advent feels like the opposite of waiting. Waiting. Patience. Anxiety. Hope. It’s a weird place to be waiting. Because, in my experience, it’s like you’re so close, you’re practically there, you feel all the feelings like you are there, but you are not there, you are waiting. Maybe planning. Maybe preparing. Maybe not. Everything is so close! But so far away. There is so much pressure! But it’s out of my control.

What do we do when we wait? What do I do when I wait?

Waiting in line at a theme park or grocery store.

Waiting to be waited on.

Waiting for a ring.

Waiting for a ceremony.

Waiting to quit.

Waiting to do something new.

Waiting for calling.

Waiting for vacation.

Waiting for inspiration.

Waiting for change.

Waiting for the right moment.

Waiting to move.

All these things are in and out of my control. I want to control them all. I want to believe that I can make these things happen when and how I want them. But you know what they say, “The best laid plans…” I can do some, I can take myself so far, and then I wait. Something happens, and then I do it again.

I know a lot of people complain when waiting, especially when it comes to food, i.e. grocery stores and restaurants. I seem to always choose the slowest grocery line or have the slowest waiter. In these situations, I’ve given up complaining (for the most part). I’ll either wait patiently, accept my situation, or change lines/restaurants (which sometimes makes no difference at all). I’m not trying to be pessimistic, but that’s what I mean by things being out of my control: If I change my situation, I may just end up in the same situation somewhere else. (Insert Paige becoming Catholic metaphor here.)

Incognito Catholic

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

Karl Rahner is the one who talks about the
Karl Rahner is the one who talks about the “Anonymous Christian”

December 3

This morning, I was thinking about how unfair it is that Catholics can go to Protestant church and it be no big deal incognito, but not vice versa. It’s not fair. I suppose that, depending on the Catholic, they might feel awkward participating in the rituals of a Protestant church, but they aren’t unwelcome to it. This is, in part, how I justify my potential “conversion” to Catholicism. Conversion. It shouldn’t be called that. My friend Kate said, “You’re thinking about ‘coming into full communion’ with the Catholic Church; it’s not like you were atheist or Hindu or something.”

This is true, and way more the way I think about it, but I still dislike the unfairness. I’m a rare bird choosing to become Catholic while also holding onto my roots. Not really letting either group have full grip on me, because it shouldn’t be that way. There are all kinds of born and raised Catholics who continue to claim it and participate in other churches. That’s what I want to be! One of those Catholics! But I’m not born and raised, I’m a noob.