I suppose you may be curious about what my beliefs are. After all, if you are going to take the time to visit me here and read my ramblings, you will probably want to know that up front. I know I do when I first come across the writings of someone new to me.
It’s not complicated. Although, in the past, I made it very complicated. Before graduate school, my beliefs were black & white – no gray areas to confuse things…thank you very much. Graduate school challenged every belief, every dogma, every “truth” I adhered to as a Catholic Christian. After all, up to that point, it seemed to be my responsibility to be sure every heathen I encountered knew full well they were destined for hell. Not to gloat, of course, but to try to save their sorry selves! Well, someone had to! Needless to say, God was not happy with me.
The most important things my three years at Aquinas taught me were: First of all, that God is more mystery than we would like to believe. Secondly, I could stop worrying about a beautiful soul such as Mohandas Gandhi being in hell because he wasn’t Catholic and I could strive to emulate him without fear of angering God because he only loved Christians, specifically Catholics. Whew, what a relief! And, most incredible for my own wretched soul (even that was a revelation!), I am a beloved sinner! Beloved by grace, forgiven by mercy, and called to new life.
People have quit asking me, but when I was studying theology, friends and family members would ask me some pretty deep questions. They were surprised when my reply was either, “Well, this is what I believe _________. And follow it by, “Now, that’s just my opinion. What did you pay for that opinion? That’s right – NOTHING. Therefore, it is worth nothing. You’re welcome.” Or, my favorite response continues to be, “I have no idea.”
You will find that I quote Father Richard Rohr a lot in my writings. Here’s what he says about a mature faith:
At this point, you are not tied to believing that your religion is the only one that gets people to God. You can see God in all things, everywhere, and easily in people outside your own religion. They did not change, your doctrines did not change, but you did!
You have met the Formless One, so the mere forms of religion are not so important now. Still, you do not throw out any of the previous stages; you now know that people need to go through all of them. You do not waste time opposing the rituals, the doctrines, the hierarchies, the scriptures, or the belief systems that got you on this path; but now you know they are all just fingers pointing to the moon; they are not the moon itself.
And if you really want a challenge read Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, Living Buddha, Living Christ”.
Okay, there you go. If you still have questions feel free to contact me directly.
May the Lord bless you and keep you; make his face shine on you and be gracious to you, turn his face toward you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)