Yesterday, I went to 8:00 a.m. Mass and 10:30 a.m. Church of Christ. Maybe nothing will come of it, but I was asked, “Do you want to preach!?” I have very mixed feelings about this… like, “Who me?! Yeah! Totally! I’m awesome! I’ll take any and every opportunity to rock the boat and confuse myself!”
This is not the humblest of responses, which makes me then think, “I’m so not ready for this.” Preaching in the CoC is all about being the big fish in a little pond. It is a place for narcissistic men. Many of these men are in my genes, and I can feel these preaching genes aching for the power trip! It is really weird. I told all my friends and family yesterday about this opportunity, and all for the pride.
Then there is the other side of me responding, “I can preach? Someone wants me to preach? Seriously? Are they insane?” Women don’t do this. It’s a combination of not feeling worthy and also wanting to shout it from the rooftops. As usual, I am very confused.
With all this Mass going, interest in RCIA, and being raised in a CoC that didn’t let women even pray out loud in front of 5th grade boys and up, you may be wondering, “Don’t you think that might cause you some internal conflict?”
No worse than usual.
But perhaps it will feel differently. I think that is fine. I love being spiritually challenged, and I haven’t been lately. That’s why I’m doing this seemingly masochistic spiritual experiment. That’s why I can preach and go to Mass.
No joke though, I was thinking at church, “I could probably preach here.” I have what it takes, and more than what most men in the Church of Christ have—graduate theological training. And then I was asked.
I feel out what the “Catholic” side of me has to say about all this, and without a doubt, no problem. Even with my training, I don’t know if this makes any theological sense. It is probably heretical, but my spiritual practice and these different Christian sides, possibly even opposing sides of me, remind me of the Incarnation and/or the Trinity. I like to believe that I can’t be heretical since both these things are great Christian mysteries, meaning, by our own human logic, we can’t make perfect sense out of them (go ahead and try). Likewise, I can’t make perfect sense on why this feels right.
Then I sneer at myself, “Yeah, sure, my religiosity is like the Incarnation.” That’s not a big statement at all. Here I go. Jesus is both God and human. No matter how you slice it, that is conflicting. That is confusing. That is something that is constantly being figured out, understood, and misunderstood. Like how I feel about being Protestant and Catholic. They are separate, but why? I’m only one person, how can I be both? I might be picking and choosing parts I like and doing whatever I want. Maybe we all are…
The Incarnation is about God being a paradox, because God cannot be both God and human. If God can’t do something, then how is God, God? Theoretically, I cannot be both Protestant and Catholic. I can’t preach at CoC in the morning and take Eucharist at night. But I am, and they are both Christian. How can I be a Christian and not be both? They are both my community: a part of what makes me who I am. Every Christian faction makes up Christianity.
Another offensively bold statement with a lot wrong with it, because there are a lot of outliers. For me, not being both, Protestant and Catholic, is like denying that I am made up of both genes from my Mother and Father. Everyone is made of many parts, and those parts should be embraced instead of denied.
I’m not denying the uniqueness that exists with each new person making up a new or old church. If our bodies are not completely the same over the course of our lifetimes, how can we claim that for a live church made up of many bodies? It’s not possible, and it may not make sense, but not even God claims to make perfect sense. God is just God.
Then, there are deeper issues at play in my life. Not just wanting to be Catholic, but also not wanting to essentially abandon the Church of Christ. If I preach, I could actually make a difference there, even if I just did it once!
Well, this whole go to mass and go to CoC is already feeling fruitful. I wonder how it will feel when RCIA starts in the Fall…