Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fools Rush In...

I have seriously written and rewritten this post three times, and they are all saved as drafts.  Maybe I should get rid of it and let it go?  My problem is that writing is a bittersweet experience for me.  I often go back to things I've written before and have a little ego party thinking "dang, I'm cool."  I apparently completely forget about what it took to develop and express clever ideas or took for granted I wasn't constrained by or wouldn't censor myself because of what my audience would think.  I really didn't care what they thought because I wasn't representing anybody but me and I was unapologetic.  I miss those days like super crazy.

And I'm an inefficient writer.  I edit as a go.  No stream of consciousness, no write it all out and edit later.  I write very slowly because I organize and think in the moment.  It's better to make an outline I know but my brain won't go there at least for blog writing.  Clearly, in my job I use a lot more discipline.  And I really care about form.  I want my stuff to be easy to read, not too long, semi-organized writing.  But I'm trying to do this frickin' post differently since I actually want to hit the "publish post" button.

I feel very uncomfortable about what's transpired in them thar parts the last couple weeks.  Somebody wrote about how she's exhausted by the abortion and HHS contraception issue discussions.  I wish I remembered who it was and I'd link it.  Things got really ugly between people.  Really gross.  If you are a gentle soul that escaped this time by blogging about your baby or the events in your actual life, good on you.  I wish I were you.  But, I get kind of excited about civic affairs and I'm too stupid to leave well enough alone.  It's really that simple.

I was harking back to a time of blissful innocence when you could debate ideas, even religious ideas and not be told you have no right to call yourself a Christian.  I got into some pretty intense discussions, OK, it's coming back to me....  I belonged to an Anglican Church and the young adults got together to write a "code of Christian ethics."  And it was for us, our little big church!  The joy of officially decentralized religion.  This was all presided over by a priest, a married one with children and I remember very intelligent and sincere talks about how we thought God was directing us and how we felt about what that meant for our daily lives and relationships.  I'm starting to feel 23 again.

What I clearly didn't realize when I started the process to be confirmed in the Catholic Church and I swear what they didn't say in the RC.IA class (but what I later affirmed) was the dogma we expect Catholics to accept and support might be so unfamiliar to you that you'll believe you're living in an alternate universe.  I'm stating a fact here so do not assume I'm criticizing the Church.  I'm trying to explain the clear differences between Catholics and everybody else.  I bet a lot of Catholics don't realize how different they are because they haven't really experienced another Christian denomination.  Christianity without encyclical letters and additional teachings clearly makes a belief system much less complicated.  You might respond that Church teachings are based on biblical sources so it should mean there's a fundamental uniformity to Christian beliefs but I'd reply that biblical interpretation is less than a straightforward and an agreed upon process.  But maybe you know about other denominations and you still think your Catholic beliefs are working for you and should work for everybody else.  And that's good!!!  I am happy for you.

But what I'd said earlier about being able to debate ideas (yes, ideas, thoughts, opinions, totally separate from an action) in the Catholic blogging space has been fraught with disturbingly aggressive attacks.  And it's giving some Catholics a bad name or reinforcing the idea that "you are either with us or you're against us."  And that is very far from what I think all sentiments Christians should project and how we should be treating one another.  And it's not where I want to be when I feel bad about my infertility which is the real reason I'm on the web.  If I felt qualified to just talk about Catholic theology, I'd say that but I don't.  I'm not here for that.  I said this way back in 2010 (a lifetime ago) that some level of Christian compassion should be extended to those around us even if they disagree with us!  I hate to reference John 13:34 but it sure seems appropriate to me now.  "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other.  Just as I have loved you, you should love each other."

You might say that's a cover, it's a way to not defend the faith, it's "hiding behind the guise of compassion."  You might even be so bold to say I shouldn't be a Catholic.  So be it.  You're not my priest, you're not my confessor, you're not God's spokesperson, you're just an overly opinionated Catholic and a sinner just like me.  Let's pray for one another and please play nice in the sandbox.


  1. I don't think anyone is saying the things you mention in the last paragraph, but then maybe I just missed some posts or comments. I do agree that Catholics have VERY different beliefs etc than other religions. I see it. I believe it. I agree with the Catholic teaching and I love the way we do things (versus define your own religion or moral relativism etc), but it does put us in the minority. Oh well. Not called to be popular. We are called to stand up for TRUTH. So I try to stand up for what I believe in and teach others where I am coming from. I try to do so lovingly, but then I am not perfect and it may not always come off that way. But I do think you catch more flies with honey.
    I am very guilty of writing very stream of consciousness and I never really go back except maybe once if I see a glaring spelling error. If I were going to make it perfect, I'd never blog, but I do understand and appreciate those that take their time too.

  2. Well, I believe that they are - saying those things, I mean. And I believe it because I know of Catholic bloggers who have been "shunned" for considering or using IVF. I was also shunned at some point in the process by a select and darling group of apparently more-Catholic IF bloggers, either for being negative about pregnant women or struggling with the faith - unclear. Anyway, spiritual immaturity abounds in these parts, as I have seen, and Catholics seem to be hogging the lion's share. (But then, I've never seen the other religious groups from the inside, so maybe everyone has a claim on being the biggest group of morons.)

    On the one hand, Catholics who actually interact with the world on a daily basis (i.e., they have jobs and they don't work for the Church) may justly be tired of being attacked all the time and completely shocked when a professing Catholic says, I don't know, that abortion is OK in some circumstances, and fly off the handle. (On that note, I have a guy friend who has avoided debating the abortion issue for years by saying, whenever the issue comes up, "I'm OK with abortion in the case of rape and incest...but it has to be both." This is so patently offensive to everyone that it gets him out of any further discussion. Also, really funny. But maybe you'd have to hear him say it.) So I have some sympathy with that.

    On the other hand, if your stated purpose is to debate the issues, then you have to be prepared for people to disagree with you, and not necessarily within the parameters you've set out in your mind. If a Catholic responds to something I say with what I believe to be a heterodox position, then I think my appropriate responses are, "But the Church teaches X, because Y. Do you disagree with Y?" or "I guess we'll have to agree to disagree." "You don't get to be Catholic, then!" loses its luster as a response after you turn, I don't know, 18 or 20. Frankly, I had already found at that age that I wasn't getting very far with accusations of heresy. Usually the most effective of all arguments is listening, but I don't suppose that's really in vogue.