Saturday, April 17, 2010

I Guess I'm Back.

The Situation:

Well. Rev. Jay has caused enough existential crisis for me to come crawling back to issues I would've preferred to forget for the rest of my life, locked up in my Thomist castle.

Since I've started this blog I've been Baptist, Mennonite, Presbyterian, Reformed, Anglican, and Roman Catholic. Again, unlike it seems every other Christian, the only leading I get from God is what my co-religionists tell me his leading is.

I've learned alot about human nature. It never fails to amaze me how little Christians genuinely care about souls. For example, most of my friends were connected through Religion to me, and when I went CofE they began turning their heads, and when I went RC, I was cut off. My family was horrified enough at Reformed, let alone RC. I've realized that for most people Religion is a matter of who we hate, and who we are better than. The only communion I've ever been in that has refused triumphalism is the Church of England. The Anglicans know humility if they know nothing else.

I guess I should outline the reason I'm coming back to polemics / controversial theology. Only now did a Protestant inform me that philosophically/epistemologically, Papal Supremacy and Sola Scriptura are equal in rationality. Both are "essentially perspicuous and self-authenticating" to quote the aforementioned Calvinist. The scary thing is he's right. Both are 'developments', and a posteriori methods of determining what is valid in scripture and tradition.

Now here's the thing, like I said, they're equal. This doesn't mean Protestantism has "won" by any means, but it means that Rome has likewise not "won".

The Obvious Question:

As a child of the Billy Graham era, and in the Western Christian / Augustinian world we live in, many would ask me: What does your heart tell you? or how do you 'feel'.

I've already said that I don't feel any emotional attachment really to any set of doctrines. Sure I have Catholics, Protestants, and Anglicans I love and I miss them, but as for beliefs and spirituality I'd say my only preference has ever been Anglicanism. There's something about the CofE, there's a way they have both the best of Catholicism and Protestantism. But of course, with new gay liturgies on one side, and crazy african bishops on the other, one might say the glory days of Canterbury are over (if there ever were any). Plus, one is tempted to argue that replacing the Bishop of Rome with the Supreme Governess, her Majesty, wouldn't change much.

So I've re-shaped my life now to fit into Catholicism, I'm discerning for the Jesuits for crying out loud. It's not a fun place to be. I hate uncertainty, and I'm not gonna convert to anything any time soon. I'm done with that stuff.


In the end, every theology has its own problems and difficulties, one must pick whatever seems best to themself, and the premises one assumes will then judge other systems. Throughout the whole journey, suprisingly little has changed in my Christian 'walk'. I'm still a porn addict, I'm still morbidly obese, I still read my bible, I still go to church every week, I still fight with my parents about theology almost weekly. I guess the only thing that has changed is that I pray the rosary almost daily, and I try to go to confession once a week. I've also learned alot about theology and philosophy.

I really wish God would just tell me what to do, every day without word from him is like another nail in the coffin of Theism. Gibbon and Bolingbroke would simply tell me that God is there, but he just doesn't want to get involved.


  1. heart in the Biblical or Augustinian sense is a bit more broad than how do you feel...

  2. sorr Fred, I guess I just am trying to reconcile my existential experience wih my philosophical beliefs. And I'm failing miserable.

  3. Andrew, It's less a matter of failing or succeeding and more a matter of not settling for what's most apparent... a deeper existentialism: the heart feels awe before what is and longs for what it knows exists insofar as it's absent. The heart is not satisfied with being right or being on the right side, but desires complete satisfaction in every aspect of life. Heart includes feelings, reason, and will - the self, the person....

    Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) #2563:
    The heart is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live; according to the Semitic or Biblical expression, the heart is the place "to which I withdraw."
    The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully.
    The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth, where we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as image of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant.

  4. I will not war with your soul for a particular tradition, but I would insert, whatever you do, don't trust your heart:

    Jeremiah 17:9-10 - The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? "I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds."

    But then, I love the interplay in Scripture of the command/Law to "circumcise your heart" (Deut 10:16) or "make yourselves a new heart" (Ez 18:31) that turns into a promise/Gospel: "I will circumcise your hearts" (Deut 30:6) and "I will give you a new heart." (Ez 36:26)

    The weight of the Law is lifted by the promise of the Gospel. What is commanded is left to be received. What God demands, God supplies in Christ. The place of withdraw is not the heart, but Christ and the Gospel.