Losing my Religion

Let me start by defending all the trained ministry people who have been, or are currently, in my life. None of this is their fault.
And I want to also say right upfront, all the opinions expressed by me are mine alone, from observation and experience, and these writings may not accurately represent the belief system from whence my observations come. Hope that satisfies my lawyer.

My spiritual journey has taken these roads:
-Brought up in a Protestant Reformed Church (Corinth Reformed). Went every Sunday with my parents who never mentioned Christianity at all during the week.
-Went to college, Michigan State, and had secularism and evolution beaten into my head.
-Moved to Chicago and got involved in the human potential movement. Learned much about people and different schools of psychology – not so much about God.
-Moved to Pennsylvania and in the midst of much pain, found a tiny Reformed church in walking distance. They let me sing with them.
-Moved back to Chicago and started attending a non-denominational evangelical church – Willow Creek Community Church. Learned much, grew much, was on staff for 6 years. Went on retreats at St. Mary on the Lake, a seminary for priests. Started having more Catholic people and experiences in my life.
-Took solitude retreats at “my beach” over here in Michigan. The only place I could journal. The place I would go to listen to God.
-Needed to find a smaller church. Willow’s auditorium seats 7,000 and gives me headaches. Go to a new church nearby, The Chapel. Lots of people I know and good messages. Went regularly until I took a job in Christian Retail and was required to work every Saturday night and Sunday, so I could never attend church. This was not a good time.
-Started attending a small Catholic church with a friend. Felt calm and at home like I hadn’t felt in a long time. Except for the Easter weekend services. I swore I would become protestant again for that weekend only. More on that another time.
-Move back to Michigan, back to Corinth. I love seeing everyone again after 30 years, but I am restless and the church services are frustrating me.
-Get married to a Catholic. Attend Mass with him. Love it – well, except for the music. The words are wonderful. Start the process of becoming a Catholic. There are some obstacles to be dealt with.

That is the bare outline of my path so far. Wanted to give you context for future blog postings on my experiences and observations of an Evangelical entering the Catholic world.

My hope is that as you read this and my other postings, you will look at your own journey and see new richness. I’d love to hear your comments.

Finding friends at the Family Fare

One thing I’ve been noticing is the people in my life.  I would have never guessed the roles they would play when I first met them.  I am learning to pay more attention to every interaction and look for surprises.  A current example:  Linda.

Linda and I went to high school together, but we did not hang out together. It was a small school and everyone just knew everyone else – at least to match a name and face. So, Linda and I graduate and go our separate ways and have very different lives.  Thirty-eight years later we meet again.  I see her at the grocery store and we say we should get together sometime – maybe next spring with some others from our class.  Then she sees me at the church she attends. That’s comforting because I am going to my husband’s church – not the one I grew up in – and it feels good to see someone familiar.  The church is a Catholic church and I am taking classes to become Catholic.  Linda became a Catholic 36 years ago when she got married.  Another thing in common.

I find out that I need a sponsor for the next Sunday at Mass.  A sponsor that will go with me through this exploration process and challenge me.  For the next year or two.  It’s suggested I ask Linda.  I don’t even know what I’m asking of her and I don’t know what’s going on in her life, or even if she’d do that for someone she hardly knows.  I ask her, stammering and nervous.  She replies that she’d love to be my sponsor and what time does she have to be there.  Wow.  That’s how this particular journey starts.  Nothing I could have planned.  Just trying to pay attention and be amazed at each of our stories and the parts we get to play in others.

Observations of a suburban anthropologist

While there are many things going on in my life right now, a theme seems to be that I get to see things with new eyes.  There is the literal part – I am getting “new eyes” over the next couple weeks  as I have my cataract surgery.

But, also, I am in the strange place where I can observe and compare different “tribes”.  I have returned to the small town I grew up in after 30 years in the big city and area of Chicago.  I am seeing kids I grew up with and have had almost no contact with since high school and I get to hear their stories.

And, if that is not enough, I am an evangelical in the process of becoming a Catholic.

There is so much material here.  Sometimes I have to go lie quietly in a dark room to get my bearings.