October 04, 2005

Still Taking Suggestions

on how to reconcile my spirituality with my (nominal) Catholicism.

Or at least my half-assed Christianity.

So if you've got any book/website recommendations, lay 'em on me.

Posted by Attila at October 4, 2005 12:00 AM | TrackBack

Start with The Anchoress...

Just take a look around. Before you leave, check out her bookshelf.

By the way, I did give you a link...The sytem rejected it(questionable content).

Posted by: Darrell at October 4, 2005 07:00 AM

If you haven't already done so, you really need to read Mere Christianity by CS Lewis. Every "half-assed" Christian should read this book. :-)

Posted by: Dan Sherman at October 4, 2005 07:29 AM

Here's a site... they have great literature.


Posted by: Dan Sherman at October 4, 2005 07:33 AM

I frequent these blogs -







Posted by: Allen at October 4, 2005 10:27 AM

Actually, I recommend gardening. It's not the same as reading in the classical sense, but really is similar once you get into it. You can even do it sitting down, just like you would with a book.

If you're not a dab hand with plants, you don't even have to plant anything. Just sit out there and commune with what's already growing in your back yard.

Kind of like hiking, but since you see it so often it gets far more personal. More intimate.

Once you're well acquainted with it you feel all that life-force out there, in the plants and rocks and wind and trees and animals. Right? It talks to you. You understand its changes and growth, day to day.

Jesus thought more about the relationship between spirituality and fishing, I think, but it's the same principle. God is love and life. The connection is seamless.

Posted by: k at October 4, 2005 10:28 AM

Josh McDowell's "Evidence That Demands A Verdict" is one I would recommend. I've had a copy since the '70s. I go through it at least once a year. Keeps me solid in my Faith when I get a little iffy. Restores my human confidence in the Divine.

Posted by: benning at October 4, 2005 10:40 AM

No one seems to have asked you, but I was wondering what you mean by 'reconciling your spirituality' with your Christianity. That seems key to recommending reading, because it sounds like you have some specific things you are wrestling with... is this right?

Posted by: ilona at October 4, 2005 11:01 AM

Some of this might sound hard-core, but if you want to get out of a half-assed Catholicism into a whole-life Catholicism (not that it will necessarily "take over" your whole life - but it _certainly_ influences your whole life), here's what I suggest.

1) Go to confession. Do it once for your big sins since you've last gone, then pay attention to yourself over the month for the lessor ones, and go _again_, for the lessor ones you want to stamp out. Repeat as necessary - even for venial sins as you become 'done' with them. This is the best method to direct yourself more personally towards the universal call of holiness. It contains the greatest challenge to the way we have lived our lives and the greatest helps to living our new one.

2) Read St. Francis de Sales: "Introduction to the Devout Life". It's clear, humorous in places, well-reasoned, and completely applicable to our time.

3) Find your patron saint, read something by/about him or her.

4) When you receive communion, consider the following: 1) (I forget who said this) that the Angels themselves surround you at mass and themselves stand in awe at our great gift of Christ himself in the Eucharist, and 2) the Augustinian conception of the Eucharist: that when we eat normal bread, we are 'stronger' than it, we break it down, make it part of us, and then can use it for our will, but that the Eucharist is 'stronger' than we are, it breaks _us_ down, makes us part of the Body of Christ, and allows God use _us_ for his will.

5) Learn some of the path towards perfection with something like the 'Ladder of Divine Ascent' by St. John Climacus, 'Spiritual Combat' by Scupoli. Also, consider something mystical - Dark Night of the Soul, or something by (Pseudo-)Dionysius or Theres of Liseaux.

6) Check out the Catechism, it's actually really surprisingly good in parts. If you have a question, look it up. Also, the newadvent.org/cathens Catholic Encyclopedia is a must-reference for anything you want to know more about.

7) Consider setting aside time for either the Rosary, or the Divine Office/Liturgy of the Hours (I heard somewhere that the former is the latter designed for illiterates - but it does have its own simple benefits). I'm really enjoying the LotH - morning and evening take only 10-15 minutes to say silently (although I often say or sing it), and I'm learning to more deeply appreciate the readings. This will get you in tune with the ebbs and flows of the Church, and bring greater understanding.

8) Keep the Friday penance - no meat or some other penetential practice. And, if you have become a penitent sinner, strike your breast three times during the confiteor.

9) After these things, if you have a mind to, take just a few hours a week and do some good works. Your parish might have some ideas - eucharistic minister to the sick, learning to lector well, helping the poor.

That will more than get you started - I can safely say those things will change one's view of what life is and why, and allow one to more clearly perceive God's order in our world.

Posted by: jrp at October 4, 2005 12:10 PM

I take it you are - like so many - upset that the Catholic Church refuses to change in ways you think it should. It took the RCC about 450 years to rescind the condemnation of Galileo for stating that the earth revolves around the sun. This is not an organization that is going to be in tune with America in the 21st century.

Look elsewhere. People do change faith once they reach adulthood and can think for themselves. Not many will admit to it.

As for spiritual understanding, get some of the recorded lectures by Joseph Campbell. Even the PBS special he did with Moyers is good - though since it was aimed a mass audience it is a bit thin.

Posted by: Zendo Deb at October 4, 2005 01:04 PM

Read anything by James V. Schall (another sort of learning; Idylls and Rambles).

Peter Kreeft (S o c r a t e s 101, A refutation of moral relativism, Everything you wanted to kow about God...)

G. K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy and the Everlasting Man are essentials, but a bit hard to slog through - perhaps a Fr. Brown mystery, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis of Assisi, or pretty much anything else).

If you want to talk about any of these, let me know. They're full of good perspectives.

Posted by: Mark at October 4, 2005 01:08 PM

C.S. Lewis - The Great Divorce.

Robert Heinlein - Job: A Comedy of Justice

I'm not sure if they'll make you a good Catholic or even a better Christian, but they'll make you look at traditional faith and spirituality in new ways.

Posted by: JohnL at October 4, 2005 02:19 PM

This is terrific! Keep it coming!

I was born into a Metho--ist family. Brought up Unitarian. Convert to Roman Catholicism as of 1999. Still somewhat lost, not that there's anything wrong with that.

Most of my service work is in my 12-step program, which is of course more free-form.

Posted by: Attila Girl at October 4, 2005 02:37 PM

Echoing ilona's comment, that really hinges on where you are spiritually right now. Maybe I misse. it somewhere, but I .on't recall you going into any .etail on that important bit of information.

(What's with your hyperagressive spam filter? It is picking on the fourth letter of the alphabet so severely that I can't seem to use it in any context!)

.esert Cat

Posted by: .esert Cat at October 4, 2005 02:44 PM

Why is MT so upset with the fourth letter in the alphabet? Why may I not use it in my own comments? Ugh.

Posted by: Attila Girl at October 4, 2005 02:46 PM

Oops--crosse. posts. ;P

Looks like I shall have to be .esert Cat from now on... :(

Posted by: .esert Cat at October 4, 2005 02:47 PM

DC, I think it's been fixed. (And I'll find out in a moment, seeing as how there are lots of d's in this comment.)


Posted by: Attila Girl at October 4, 2005 03:57 PM

God Bless you for seeking more! I was once where you were, but thanks to JPJ and the year of the rosary followed by the year of the Eucharist (which ends this month), I am now "on fire."

1. Invoke the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is the mother of God, and no one knows Jesus better than Mary. She will lead you, and in baby steps if necessary, to the fullness of Christ. Pray the rosary every day, in fact, this Friday is Our Lady of the Rosary and a First Friday. The month of October is the month of the rosary. Meditate on the mysteries, and know that “Hail Mary full of grace, were the first words of salvation. Mary was the first to receive the Eucharist, (Jesus in her womb), and is the new ark of the covenant. She is the spiritual mother of the world. She is the “woman” from Genesis to the foot of the cross, to revelations. Mary will lead you to Christ, and will NEVER fail you.

2. Confession, confession, confession. Oh, how sad how so few realize the true gift of confession. Pray to the Holy Spirit before going, and know that just as the priest is an "instrument" of Christ in the Mass, so too is he representing Jesus in the confession. The Holy Spirit works through him, and always know it is Jesus to whom you are confessing. Next to "Well done, my good and faithful servant, enter into the kingdom, the greatest words I will ever hear on earth are "Go in peace, all of your sins are forgiven." Also know that getting close to God demands humility. Confession fosters humility.

3. Humility and Prayer, Humility and prayer, humility and prayer. You will never know God without humility and prayer.

4. Once you have made a good confession, go to daily mass for at least a week and receive communion. If this is not possible, try at least to visit the Blessed Sacrament every day for a week, even it’s only for a few minutes. Make a firm commitment to avoid not only sin but the occasion of sin. Stay close to the Eucharist, and then get closer!

5. Make at least one holy hour during the week. JUST LISTEN, and feel the rays of God. This is the living Jesus, the one who promised us He would be with us until the end of the age. The demons and the nay sayers will tell you otherwise, but go read John 6. “Truly, truly, I say to you, this is MY body, this is MY blood.” BELIEVE (it’s true). If you have trouble believing in the real presence, know that many sadly have and still do. Even when Jesus announced it in John 6 (half of the Jews wiped out and left). He did NOT call them back to explain that it was “symbolic.” Know also that few even stayed with him in His flesh or were standing with him at the foot of the cross. To those who ran than and still do, I say, “Oh, what little faith.” THE EUCHARIST WILL BE/IS YOU GREATEST GIFT ON EARTH. It’s what the world lacks most. To be able to be with one with Jesus through the Eucharist is a gift beyond words.

6. Faith takes grace, and it is a great gift. We all have the grace for repentance, but grace must meet will. God will never deny any us our free will, up to our last dying breath.

7. BECAUSE OF CONFESSION AND THE EUCHARIST, you will now have the sanctifying grace that can only be gotten by the sacraments and in absence of mortal sin, a true treasure unique to the Catholic Faith.

8. If you do the above, have the will to grow deeper, pray, and receive the Eucharist in the absence of mortal sin, I PROMISE you, God will take you the rest of the way. It will no longer be the “old you”, but “Jesus who lives in YOU.” You will wake up one day and realize everything you didn’t want to “give up” or thought you could never “live without”, will now be the things you are “dying from.” The most beautiful part, you will find you have gained SO much more than you ever gave up. You will start to die from the world, sometimes to the point of it even being painful to bear. Your heart will yearn for more, and you will now enter into your true walk with Christ.

9. Pray to the Holy Sprit. Ask for the biggest gift of the Holy Sprit that God will grant you. If you reach this point, you will NEVER turn back. This is the “playground inside of those walls of “rules and regulations” G. K Chesterton talked about. You will have now earned your entry into the joyous playground, and it will be the most liberating day of your life.

10. With your heart on fire, you zeal and love for God will be insatiable. But I must tell you one critical thing. Before this can happen, you MUST, you MUST, totally surrender all to the teachings of the Catholic Church. The “cafeteria” is closed, period. UNTIL you accept all of the teachings, you will never enter (Do whatever HE tells you). To deny one, is to call God a liar. This is why humility is so important. It is simply our pride that keeps us thinking we “know better” than the Catechism of the Catholic Church. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a catholic priest, who bluntly said, “If you don’t accept it, then you need to PRAY more.” Artificial birth control was the hardest for me. But, with the grace of God, I DID pray more, and I have no doubt it was Mother Mary who lead me to the teachings of John Paul II and the true understanding of the theology of the body. It was one of the most liberating days of my life, but then, the deeper I get in the faith; each day seems to liberate me more and more.

11. EWTN –Eternal Word Television Network.

12. I can’t praise EWTN enough. It was started by a cloistered nun, Mother Angelica (her autobiography is currently on the NYT best sellers’ list; HIGHLY recommend it). The Anchoress also has it on her bookshelf. M. Angelica is the REAL feminist, a true Catholic who 100% walks the walk. Many of us say we trust God, but M. Angelica took extreme risks, all with total trust in God. She continues to show us that with God, ALL things ARE possible. This month is 25 years for EWTN, a global network, seen in EVERY country in the world. You can also listen over the internet, and most of all, download audios and documents from the video library (ewtn.com). Everything on EWTN follows the true teaching of the Catholic Faith; interesting 30% of the audience is protestant. You will never be bored, and I can’t even tell you how much I have learned from EWTN. Father Goeschel does Sunday night live (VERY popular), Father John Corapi (another living saint in my opinion, ex Hollywood millionaire, drug addict, turned Catholic priest) teaches the CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Faith every Sunday night). Mark Grotti does Journey Home, a one hour show where converts come on and tell of their journey to the true faith, mass is shown 3 or 4 times a day (with total reverence I might add, no water downed stuff here), the rosary, divine mercy chaplet, etc. Bob and Penny do fascinating shows on the lives of the saints, Johnette teaches the perils of new age, theology of the body, and lots of good stuff, Life on the Rock has some really great young priests that have a round table geared more towards the youth, and the list goes on and on….There is even a show on Chesterton on Sunday evenings. Many of the shows have call ins.

Mother Angelica’s shows (priceless) are all reruns, albeit timeless. She is too sick now (had a stroke and can no longer speak), but know that she is one of the best communicators of all time. She prepared nothing in advance, just led by scripture and the Holy Spirit. She is the nun we all should have been taught by. She is “truth with great love”; reminding us we are all called to be great saints, and teaches us all how to be a great saint.

EWTN is truly a gift from God. It came about from His providence, and is maintained by His providence. There are no sponsors, just donors, and it’s now in its 25th year. It’s also on Satellite radio, some local stations (radio), and of course can be watched over the internet as well.

13. Last but not least, I would go to EWTN’s website and download Bishop Fulton Sheens, Life is worth living. If you ever wanted to learn Catholicism and understand all the things that “didn’t make sense”, Bishop Sheen was the biggest and best Catholic communicator of the 20th century. He was immensely popular when he had his TV show (even among atheists), and remains so today. He was indeed my mentor, and the first person to ever teach me REAL Catholicism. At least listen to his tape on the mass and the one of the Eucharist. Father John Corapi is also excellent, gifted with apostolic teaching, was ordained by Pope John Paul, and no doubt has one of the best conversion stories one will ever hear. The content is the same, the styles totally different. I recommend both, as well, some people relate to a certain teaching styles. Father Corapi supports his ministry by selling his tapes, etc., which is why I suspect they are not offered for free on the EWTN download, however you can listen for free on the Sunday night show. He is the only priest who has taken the CCC and put into CD’s. I have to say, it does make a difference to have it “further explained” by Father Corapi. On the other hand, Bishop Sheen’s were recorded from records he did in his study in NYC, without notes, BEFORE the CCC, I believe in the 1950’s.

Hope this helps. I could write for days, but this is enough to get you started. Confession at least once a month (more if possible), frequent mass and communion, and at least one holy hour a week. If you do that, with a sincere heart, learn the catechism, read the scriptures (recommend the Navaree Bible), and pray, pray, pray, especially the rosary, stick close to Mother Mary, you will not only be on fire as a Catholic, you will have a taste of heaven on earth! God bless you, and always know, the whole answer to the meaning of life is the crucifix. Catholicism will not only take you to the depths of the meaning of that cross, that sacrifice, that redemption, creation and suffering, but will invite you to the process. When you get THAT, and realize we are “invited” to join in, you will be united to Christ in ways you could have never imagined. Even though the sacrifice of Christ was totally sufficient for our salvation, to leave this earth and never know how we could have shared in it, how we could have done so much more, is not something I want to think back on after 5 billion years of eternity, regardless of where I am at (by the grace of God hopefully I will be in Heaven).

Only the Catholic Faith can offer you a fullness and an understanding (via the Eucharist), that will simply blow your mind. Beauty, richness, fullness, are yours for the asking. Never be discouraged by the heretics, only pray for them. Fulton Sheen used to say less than 100 people truly hate the Catholic faith, but millions and millions hate what they THINK is the Catholic faith. Trust me, if you hate it or even find it boring, you simply don’t know it. Jesus never promised holy PEOPLE, only a HOLY church, and it will prevail until the end of the age, always and forever protected by the Holy Spirit. Chesterton said that “If the Catholic Church is right, the whole world makes sense.” To be honest, I took the challenge, and to this day, despite heretic popes (none EVER changed doctrine), fallen priests, lay dissenters, and a media that hates Catholicism, no one, in fact, not even the bad Catholics, have been able to bring down the Catholic Church. It will end when that beautiful woman (our always loving Mother Mary) in Revelations with 12 stars over her head crushes satan, not a day before. And, we know who wins!

And yes, we know who wins, but the battle for the salvation of souls and conversions will endure until the end. Know also that’s it’s more than “our soul alone.” By the power of the Eucharist, we can participate in the salvation of many many souls, and if that is the only reason you were born, well, that may just be enough! Whatever our state in life, what matters most is little things with great love. Always know that that greatest source of love is found in the Eucharist, in every Catholic church around the world.

Thanks to John Paul II for the year of the Eucharist (October 2004-October 2005), the source and summit of the Catholic Faith.

Posted by: klaire at October 4, 2005 05:29 PM

Heinlein's Job is remorselessly anti-Christian. He seems to have gotten the idea that you can only go to heaven if you die in a completely unadulterated state. He also speculated that people go to different "heavens" according to their personal beliefs, and that the Christian God is a practical joker with a bad attitude.

That's certainly a different perspective on spirituality.

Posted by: Chris at October 4, 2005 05:41 PM

If your battle between spirituality and Catholicism is anything like mine (between spirituality and Judaism), the result was simple. I scrapped the religion part. The dogmas that infest most, if not all, religions reduce them to nothing more than tools to be wielded by the Holy Interpreters (Priests, Rabbis, etc).

If you want to have a spiritual moment you don't need a ritual or a holy place or a sacred chant or an idol or a Prophet.

It's called Life. Live it, love it, believe it. Breathe it when you wake up. Feel it when you hug your spouse or kid.

For anyone to tell you that you're missing out on something more is the real blasphemy.

Posted by: littlemrmahatma at October 4, 2005 05:58 PM

I really appreciate the fact that everyone is avoiding any put-downs of each other.

This is a deeply personal issue, and I'm listening to all sides, here. Every one of you has said something valuable.

Posted by: Attila Girl at October 4, 2005 06:14 PM

I don't know that I can add much more to the above. If Catholicism is the direction you wish to head in, I'm not much help, except to note that behind every dogma, every liturgy, every "religious" practice there has to lie a fundamental living breathing spiritual reality, or the practice is essentially dead and useless.

My own spirituality is very free-form, and while I can certainly see the value of form and tradition, it is not strictly necessary, at least not for me. And k has a point too, in that creation speaks of its Creator. And Gaia is (in my view) a very present and accessible part of creation. At the very least what she suggests can hone your spiritual senses for subsequent deeper experiences in realms beyond the earthly plane.

Read everything you want, but read with as much awareness of the Holy Spirit's still small voice as you can muster. If something doesn't sound right, just set it aside for a while until you can approach it again later and see if it resonates, or if it still sounds wrong. Be aware however, that what sometimes makes something sound wrong is just our own desires and preconceptions coloring what we read. Therein lies the value of honing one's awareness of the Holy Spirit. Eventually it should become clear whether something has value for you or whether it is just leading you down a false path.

Finally, it sure doesn't hurt to get down with the Scriptures themselves, starting in the Gospel of John if you haven't read them in a while.

Posted by: Desert Cat at October 4, 2005 06:49 PM

Ah. Yes. The birth control thing. One might hope that, at the very least, it has to do with contraceptives being used for that purpose, and not because the cramps are too painful, and the cycles too irregular. And pregnancy too statistically improbable.

Posted by: Attila Girl at October 4, 2005 08:11 PM

I was also raised Methodist, and have since moved in a different direction. In my case, what I would call small "o" orthodoxy.

A few books that have meant a lot to me:
Anything by CS Lewis - especially his fiction
Joshua by Joseph Girzone - Great story that presented a Jesus I would want to be friends with
Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey - he's written lots of good books, but this one is a great roadmap to other authors that helped deepen/strengthen his faith in tough times.

Posted by: Professor Steve at October 4, 2005 08:25 PM

Many wonderful suggestions from the Catholic contingency about prayer, Scripture & the Sacraments so far. I'll add to these:

1) Anything by Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

2) The Lamb's Supper by Scott Hahn - want to stand in awe at Holy Mass? Long to understand what it it is all about in very readable terms, citing Scripture? This is it.

3) A Father who Keeps His promises - also by Scott Hahn - Salvation History through the Scriptures. Wonderful job of keeping it simple, readable and thought provoking.

4) Any of the Saints books by Ann Ball. (Faces of Holiness, *especially* Young Faces of Holiness publ by OSV, Modern Saints Vols I & II publ by TAN books) These books of brief bios of Saints, blesseds, servants of God (with photos) always inspire me. Especially the Young Faces - All of the people in that book are very young (as young as 4!) and lived and died in holiness. Always pulls me out of my spiritual doldrums. Always.

5) Triumph - H. W. Crocker III -- a breathless, humorous, and never-a-dull- moment romp through Church history, making you stand in wonder that the gates of hell have never prevailed against the Church, despite the best efforts of bishops, popes and any number of kings and princes.

Posted by: shana at October 4, 2005 08:36 PM

I did order Theology for Beginners. I figured it was an obvious place to start.

Posted by: Attila Girl at October 4, 2005 08:48 PM

We are all in agreement on one thing-you do need saving! :-)

Posted by: Darrell at October 4, 2005 08:59 PM

I'm not bad; I'm just drawn that way ;)

I still feel like a foreigner WRT the RC Church. But the thing I love about it is the sense I have--this is something I learned from my husband years ago, when we were dating (I guess it's an old truism)--that Catholics are less likely to see human nature as perfectable, and more likely to understand us as broken creatures.

I guess I see perfectionism as a hugely destructive force.

Posted by: Attila Girl at October 4, 2005 11:08 PM

Have you tried actually reading the Bible? It's the best place to find out what Chrisrianity is - try one with a good commentary - the life application series has good on page commentary to help define and explain and hook new and old testament. Jesus is probably the best one to explain himself.

Posted by: Betsy at October 5, 2005 04:59 AM

Try anything by Lee Strobel, too. His "Case for ..." books were written for seekers/skeptics. However, as a person with a deep faith already, I found that what he wrote helped to clarify things I knew. I'll be praying for you, too.

Posted by: Lis at October 5, 2005 05:56 AM

Thanks, everyone. I've read a lot of the Bible, but not too systematically. (And my relationship with Leviticus is a bit troubled: there seemst to be a lot of it.)

Posted by: Attila Girl at October 5, 2005 07:25 AM

With respect to your "I feel like a foreigner" comment...Let me let you in on a little secret, we all do--and should. That's if you mean "overwhelmed, and feeling ignorant." It's just that big. Of course you should strive to learn as much as possible about your Faith, but your most important relationship with God will be one-on-one. It's the simple prayers, in simple words and thoughts between you and God that matter most. All the rest is just there to assist you in your journey. He already loves you: He always has. He's given you a Soul that is a part of Him, but imbued with free-will. The rest is up to you.

Posted by: Darrell at October 5, 2005 08:54 AM

I may have been wrong in assuming you are a Catholic. If you are not a baptized Catholic, you won't be able to follow a lot of my suggestions I posted yesterday.

If you are Catholic, then I still stress, start with the confession and the Eucharist. How can you outdo Jesus substantially in you?

The most important thing we all have/had to learn is that without grace, as mere humans, we are helpless (why didn't anyone TELL me I couldn't do this by myself!). That was my biggest Ahha moment. Until I started to live outside of mortal and deliberate sin FROM the grace of the sacraments of Reconcillation and Communion, I had no idea that "Jesus took over." It was truly the first time I realized how priests could live celebate lives (it would NOT be possible without the sacraments, we are simply too damaged by Origianal sin to try to even think we can do this on our own). I am not saying with sacraments sin is impossible, but I am saying, deliberate sin and Mortal sin is a lot harder, simply because Jesus is too close to you to dare offend, and the love is simply too great. Despite the temptations, we are ALWAYS, when in grace, given enough to "avoid" the sin.

Most of the sins daily/weekly communicants commit are sins of ommission, or as Father Goeschel talks about, "stupid sins." At the end of any day, all of us could have done a little better, had a little more patience, done another act of kindness, etc. Even PJP went to confession every 3 days, but I HIGHLY doubt that he ever was guitly of deliberate or motal sin.

If you are not a Catholic, then I still say go to ewtn.com or better, watch it on TV. Pray to the Holy Spirit and turn on EWTN (it's on 24/7-no commericals). This is truly the Lord's station, and even though it is Catholic based, we are ALL Christians and embrace what we share, and respect what we don't. I promise you EWTN is very intune with the non Catholic audience, which is why 30% of the audience are NOT Catholics.

EWTN is a VERY good place to start. I have no doubt if you spend even a few evenings watching it, you will be inspired by someone or some teaching. Know that I will be praying for you!

Always know that EVERYTHING comes from God, everything!

Posted by: klaire at October 5, 2005 09:19 AM

I read a book called The Purpose Driven Life.

Sorted things out for me nicely, by allowing me to explore and question contextually. This means you become your own trusted partner because you answer your own questions.

My only caution is to not buy the book from their website. The fulfillment process they use sucks.

Let me know if you find it helpful.

Posted by: Joel (No Pundit Intended) at October 5, 2005 11:50 AM

I gotta agree with those who urge you to seek the sacraments, especially confession and the eucharist. You might give regular eucharistic adoration a try; I do an hour a week (middle of the night is the time I can regularly get away; it's great being alone with the Eucharistic Lord in prayer like that).

Then read Scott Hahn, "The Lamb's Supper", and his book on confession (don't recall the title offhand).

Read Hillaire Belloc for a Catholic view of history, and Chesterton (esp. "Orthodoxy").

"Catholicism & Fundamentalism", I forget the author; Kreeft, maybe?

Hey, read my blog!

"Theology for Beginners" is good, but I found it a bit hard to get through.

Mark Shea's "By What Authority?" is excellent on where the bible comes from, and why we should believe it.

Posted by: Paul at October 5, 2005 02:02 PM

Why do you want to get back into the religious mess? Look at the recommendations above: worship him, no her. Take sacraments, blah, blah, blah.

A quick trip down memory lane for you. This was about...ummmm...27 years ago. We were walking around Venice or Santa Monica when we ran into some of your old friends from the Church you used to belong to. Do you remember them asking you if were were going to return to the Church? You said it wasn't likely. Do you remember the look of pity they gave you, like you were no longer worthy of contact, that - by God - you weren't going to be saved? You were embarrased and I was a bit upset that they should judge you such.

Do you want to get back into that again? Already, one person above has judged that you need to be saved. Do you really want to wrestle again with the dogma can of worms*?

You don't need it (organized religion with all the trimmings). You are perfectly spiritual and fine they way you are. If there is an almighty God that IS and is ALL then prayers and rituals won't mean very much. But a spiritual appreciation that comes naturally every moment is sure to mean more.

Again, I urge you avoid the Route of the Dogma and avoid the inevitable shit left by the Dogma. Simply, enjoy your life with every breathe - nothing more needed.

But, if you must persist in persuing the Dogma, I highly recommend any of the books by Bishop Spong. Since they tend to repeat themselves pick up a later one.

As always yours,

* Can of worms: Why should she bother with Catholicism, Islam, or Christianity (et al) when the Torah clearly and repeatedly states that Judaism is the ONLY way to get close to God?
A religion like Christianity can not self-declare itself legitimate. Neither Jesus nor his followers can declare Jesus as Son of God because GOD did not say so and thus it is valid. Worse, it goes against a few of the Commandments. Jesus was, at best, a prophet and serves to detract from God. Any religion that places a human being - prophet or otherwise - ahead of God is illegitimate.

But the real kicker: Judaism is itself invalid because God didn't reveal himself to everyone, only to a few...theoretically.

Sorry folks, without incredible proof, this whole religion and God stuff ain't worth the paper and parchments they're printed on.

If there is a God (and the grand unification theory of Physics may be it) it certainly isn't necessary to worship it. Why not worship gravity or magnetism?

Yes, we ARE and that's just incredible and wonderful. Now can we stop fighting and killing each other over whose God is more powerful, whose dogma has more credence, and simply make this world of ours nicer, safer, cleaner.

Wouldn't God be more impressed that way?

Posted by: littlemrmahatma at October 6, 2005 11:19 AM

I guess LMM can't recognize "humor" when he(from the Mr.--or she or it) sees it.(In reference to my comment that they only thing we all agree on is that you need saving! :-)) Even when it has a little smiley face following it :-)... Speaks volumes, doesn't it? What else has this person missed?

Posted by: Darrell at October 6, 2005 09:34 PM

No, no, no, Darrell--he's not speaking to your comment. He's just afraid I'll go all religious and become boring. He's within his rights to be concerned. It's fine.

LMM also keeps the milk and meat separate in his house, so I believe he may be aware that there are compromises we all make in terms of how our spiritual practices dovetail with those of our spouses.

If I weren't married to Attila the Hub, I'd likely be going in a different direction. But that's fine: there are many paths to the top of the moutain.

Posted by: Attila Girl at October 6, 2005 11:21 PM

You boring?
You'll find your way.

Posted by: Darrell at October 7, 2005 08:42 AM

Attila: Where do you believe that God is directing you now? Is there a particular area that seems he is leading?

Posted by: SteveL at October 11, 2005 09:16 PM

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