Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What I'm doing

G. K. Chesterton and John Paul the Great Catholic University are keeping me pretty busy.  I'm following a study course on G. K. Chesterton (as noted in previous posts) but along with that I've started an 11 week course on the basics of the Catholic Faith. 

Being a cradle Catholic who took a long break and then returned home, I did all the usual things you do when you are raising your kids in the Faith but after they were launched and in the world there wasn't as much learning going on - you know - the nitty gritty stuff; the who, what, when, where, and how of it all.  Oh, I knew quite a lot but something seemed missing, how to express that deeper understanding, the sources of understanding.

Discovering this study program through JP the Great U. came at a time when I was really searching, asking, and praying from direction and understanding. Going  back to school was no option; online learning wasn't an option.  Too much of life now is fluid and refuses to be committed to timelines and deadlines and structure.  I wasn't interested in starting a program and finishing it with the idea of having something to show for it for any larger purpose than what it could do for me.  And, by extension, what that knowledge could provide to me to share with others.

In addition, I am seeking a balance.  Day to day life is accompanied by a constant din of hollow values; values without spirit; values missing the element of God as the source - the idea that something is bigger at work, making it all happen.  Humanism and aethism have a strong grip on our society; mainline Protestant churches aren't growing; big box churches are.  Big box churches, lead by a charismatic leader, are only as secure as the person at the center of it all and since that person is not Christ, are very fragile. 

Split upon split happens.  Leaders and their faithful followers come and go.  Disappointment and searching is compounded by more of the same.  Even among Catholics, the following of one popular priest from parish to parish is in evidence.    This sort of splitting off is as weakening upon faith and community as the split of a big box church.  I've seen it happen. 

The past year has revealed to me a surprising realization from my internal musings.  I've become countercultural.  Me, a teen/young adult of the 60's/70's, missed it the first time it came around in my life.  Age and wisdom has taught me that I didn't miss a lot.  The Woodstock Generation was a messy one.  But now another countercultural wave has come around and I've determined that there is a lot I will not comply with.  As Chesterton said in "The Everlasting Man"

“A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”


Pam said...

Sounds like you are enjoying your study of Chesterton Annie. Woodstock times were extraordinary for all the right and wrong reasons. So much happened during the sixties. For all the pros and cons of the era, I still love the sense of fun and energy in the music of that time.

Annie said...

Too true. Messy as it was, the music was fabulous and it's still my favorite music era.

sandy said...

LOved reading your thoughts Annie and especially can relate to this:

"In addition, I am seeking a balance. Day to day life is accompanied by a constant din of hollow values; values without spirit; values missing the element of God as the source - the idea that something is bigger at work, making it all happen."

sandy said...

The 60's and 70's were great.

I wish I had bought a book i saw today in a thrift store down by where I moved from - it was called

"The Ruins of California" - a novel (I believe it is a novel) - set in the 70's - the family's name was Ruin.

I may have to go back and get it next time I'm down there.

Bee's Blog said...

I was just a bit too young to enjoy the 60s when the 'revolution' hit. A Young teen and at the convent boarding school, listening to the Beatles under the bed covers on my transistor which I was supposed to have handed in at the beginning of term. It was eventually found. I remember we prayed constantly for the success of Vatican II and now we are all these years later, taking as far as I'm concerned,a backward step in many ways. The traditionalists will say that I'm wrong for disagreeing with some things e.g. that females should not be allowed in the sanctuary and that females cannot serve at Latin Masses, Jesus surrounded himself with women and women looked after him as he ministered. My daughter's love for the church stemmed because as an altar server she learned much more about the Mass than she would otherwise have done. An altar server, a member of the choir, Catholic youth group and an assistant Confirmation teacher, Now 7 years later she tells me that her faith and spirituality is between her and her God. U cannot argue with her because I work in the Church and she has been exposed to what goes on behind closed doors. Not by me but because she has friends who were seminarians and are now priests and she knows what they really think after studying Theology. She has also seen first hand the hypocrisy that abounds within the Church.

We had a Mass last Saturday evening for a missionary group that comes under my department. The Archbishop celebrated with several priests and deacons con celebrating. The church was three quarters full and he remarked in his homily that he recalls the days when this particular church was packed at 6pm on a Saturday evening. People are leaving us in droves but I have hope for my daughter because she interacts with priests and my son came back to the Church at 31!

We use a wonderful ten week programme called the Alpha Programme which I know is alive and well in the US. I am amazed by how many Catholics have welcomed this basic course in Christianity which was developed by the Anglican Church in England and comes out of Holy trinity Church in Brompton, London. Our people go to the International Conferences in London, the US and Latin America. the course has been endorsed by the preacher to the Papal household, His Holiness Benedict and the late John Paul II together with many Roman Catholic bishops worldwide. I have seen people who I call 'indoctrinated Catholics' who felt there was nothing we could teach them about their faith, give
testimonies after the course, that are mind blowing. Basically it's about having a personal relationship with Jesus which then ultimately affects the way one lives, how one interacts with other people and how we see ourselves. I have seen lives changed.