This Spiritual Enlightenment Path is THE WORST

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.

September 26

Woman.

I ask myself over and over, “Why am I doing this Catholic thing?” Also, “Where am I most needed?” And also, “Where am I being called to?” Naturally, I started thinking about being a woman. Follow me.

Now, I am preaching in a church of Christ on Sunday, but I can’t do that in Catholic church. For a moment, I felt like I had less opportunity to serve in the Catholic church as opposed to the church of Christ. Then I realized that that might be true, for less than 1% of churches of Christ. Because in the other 99%, I can’t do anything except form and teach tiny unbaptized child minds. The only thing I can’t do in Catholic churches is be a priest. I could still do homiletics. I can teach, pray, read, and so on. I can’t “absolve” sins, but my protestant roots won’t let the priest do that anyway. Jesus does that. Thank you very much.

I have a tendency to get really into things that I’m into at the time. Most things don’t stick. Right now, I’m really into spiritual-y things and being a preacherette. I’ve listened to D’Esta Love and Nadia Bolz-Weber. And I’m really into it. I am also always wondering what I’m supposed to be doing with my life, and at the moment, I’m feeling like I might want to be some sort of minister. Alright, that’s not really news. But I think what I’m struggling with now, is how? Where? And why there?

It’s basically impossible to be a woman minister in the church of Christ, and I don’t know if I want to. I’m not even sure what ministry in Catholic churches looks like. I know they can be frustrating and limiting, and I’m not sure if want to. What’s that? A church ministry that is frustrating and limiting? No. I’ve never heard of such a thing.

I wondered, maybe, “Episcopal Paige?”

Part of my hesitancy in the church of Christ and Catholic church is the fact that I know I am not appreciated there, and that is what sucks. Does that matter? Working on this whole “Becoming Catholic and Being Protestant” thing is hard, but I do love it. I like pushing my spiritual bounds. And I’ve been saying that for a while, I want to do ministry. The most difficult thing has been figuring out where. Which I guess I’m kind of doing right now. This spiritual enlightenment path is THE WORST.

I’m listening to ICONA POP right now. I was thinking about how I think I’m going to need to dance post preaching. And I thought how silly it would be to just have a dance party after church, just like a short little shake it out. Goof off, let go, be weird, vulnerable, relax, go home. No afternoon nap necessary. Oh man, I’m going to nap so hard when this is all over!

If I ran a church there would be a dance party after every service (within context of course).

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To Go to Church or Not Go to 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.

September 9

Hot coffee. Hot shower. I can think better.

The next big decision is whether or not to go to Mass this morning. If I feel like I can accomplish something substantial, then no. But If I can’t accomplish what I want, then I should just go. Reading Merton for 30 minutes could be seen as substantial. Well, I haven’t done any writing this weekend, so, I guess I’ll do that.

Also, I am preaching in 3 weeks. I’m not sure how this happened. I just said ok. Protestant churches are so easy and quick to get involved in. Granted, I am Church of christ-ish. Not that this church of Christ would really care anyway.

Changed my mind: Mass time.

Further reflection on my protestant catholicism.

I was reflecting on a post I wrote about the Incarnation and being both Protestant and Catholic and how that it is like the Incarnation…

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.

That was 3 years ago, and I don’t feel all that different presently. I’m not entirely sure when I decided to pause on the Church of Christ. Well, I didn’t decide. I didn’t have any goals, it wasn’t really well thought out, I was seeking. My inconsistency in attending a CoC began in my senior year of college, though I have always attended some church or multiple churches at a time. It was in this year that I was doing RCIA and preaching that I committed to attending a CoC. And since, I still haven’t.

What’s interesting to my mind now is that even without the attendance, I still feel connected to the CoC community. I know who the people are. Many know who I am or who my family is. Even where I live now, there are a few CoC’s I know I could walk in to and I’d find a family connection–some okay some not so okay. There is even a CoC within walking distance of my house right now, and I am reasonably sure that women preachers are not something that they want.

I think something that Protestants don’t realize about the Catholic church is how different each church is. The pastor of the church, the architecture, music, demographics, country, state, all make for a totally different feel. There are at least 5 Catholic churches within 5 miles of my house, and they are all very different. There is a historically black (Haitian Creole) Catholic church very close to another downtown church. There are the rich and well educated towards the airport and stadiums and in the south, the Koreans out east, and the Latinx in the west. Then further out into the suburbs you usually have a mega Catholic church, and then the smaller more rural conservative sister nearby (if mega isn’t your cup of tea). Don’t even get me started on how the Catholic schools are made up and influence the parishes.

What’s cool is that they are all still Catholic, they don’t bad mouth each other, and they help each other out. Incarnation. Trinity. Different and the same. Two and three but one. Human and Divine.

I still don’t know how my very Protestant roots will influence my present and future as a confirmed Catholic. Or Perhaps, I simply haven’t found the words to rightly describe the influence or how I want to make use of it.

[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.]

Do I wanna preach?

[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.]

August 28

September 29,

That’s when Clint asked if I would preach. And I would like to reiterate from August 26th, “Is he crazy?” He doesn’t know me. I don’t know him. The church doesn’t know me. I don’t know them. I’ve been attending less than a month! Well, I suppose in a broader sense, being from the CoC, I do know them, and they do know me. It has been barely three days, and I’m on the preaching circuit (if I want).

On the first day of creating my spiritual habits (Mass, CoC, and RCIA), I asked myself, “I wonder if they’ll let me preach.” I got that answer quick.

Last year around this time, in my spiritual life, I was simply seeking grounding, discipline, comfort. This year, I’m issuing for a challenge, and in three weeks, I have it. RCIA hasn’t even started. So, “Do I want to preach?”

If the answer is “No.” Excuses being, well, I’m not that Church of Christ. I’m a bit of an imposter. I’m kind of more Catholic (but not really). I’ve never preached before. I’m not smart enough. I won’t do a good job. I don’t know what to preach about. I’m not going more than 20 minutes. I never ever planned on being a preacher(ette?). Nothing will come of it. I’ll preach a couple times, and be done. Probably just give up on the CoC again.

If the answer is, “Yes.” Reasons being, well, the Church of Christ needs it. I was asked. I have the education. I have the background. I like to rock the boat. It’s in my blood. Being Catholic really makes no difference here. Having a pastoral degree, being a woman, being Church of Christ, and attending a Church of Christ I’m kind of asking for it. I want to?

I can’t honestly say I want to or not, because it was never an option for me growing up. No one asks the little girls, “You want to be a preacher when you grow up?” Not even in a joking way. I could be a NFL referee or a construction worker before preacher. So, how can I know?

Now that I think about it, I have no idea how women in the CoC end up being on the payroll (outside of secretary). Like, how? Linda Truschke has been Campus Minister at Pepperdine for about 15 years—how did she get that job 15 years ago? Same with countless ladies representing in the CoC. It couldn’t have been easy.

It’s been a fight for them. But me? I’m just asked randomly on a Sunday morning, “Want to preach?” No weirdness. No fight. No question. Just a matter of fact need for a woman. And here I am.

In my opinion, every woman there is capable of preaching. It’s not like the CoC has some standard (obviously), except maybe being church of Christ. In my experience, the males aren’t even jumping at the opportunity to preach (or pray, read, pass communion plates). I never really understood that.

Then there is this form that I need to fill out to be “a member” of the Brookline CoC. I was hesitant about this too, but then I remembered that I’m planning on attending all year… So, I guess that’s fair then.

Incarnation/Do you wanna preach?

[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.]

August 26

Incarnation

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…

First Contact

[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.]

August 13

I sent a short email to Saint Ignatius:

Hello!

I was wondering if I could have some more information on the young professional group at Saint Ignatius. Also, I was wondering when RCIA starts. I’ll be at 5:30 mass if anyone is around.

Thanks!

Paige

 And I received a short email in return:

Dear Paige,

The young professional adult group will begin sometime in September. There will be a notice in the bulletin with the information.

Also, RCIA will begin in September and that will be in the bulletin also.

Sincerely,

Betty

Adm. Asst.

She might as well have written, “Refer to bulletin.” Not helpful, and with those dates, I don’t need to really think about it for two weeks. Great.

The question that repeats itself is, “Why?” Most would probably give up after a lame curt email. The answer is in part, “Why not?” Or how about, “When?” When did I begin considering this journey of Catholic confirmation, or maybe even conversion. When does anyone really reflect on how and why they transform, grow, or change? It’s usually retroactive. I think it was when I began not to think of it as conversion. Or I began to think of conversion as something that is required in the Christian journey. My theologically minded peer-group, and my mother, seem to understand.