Saturday, August 7, 2010

Point Of View

After graduating from Georgia Tech and working as a health physicist for about five years, I found myself more interested in what the software developers I was working with were doing than what I was doing. Around this time, my wife was graduating and received a good job offer from a company in Iowa and my employer was in the process of going bankrupt. This turned into a good opportunity to go back to school to study computer science.

My first semester back, I signed up for a discrete mathematics course which a professor at Iowa State University named Jack Lutz. Dr. Lutz possessed, and I suspect still does, a particular teaching skill that I admired. When a student would ask a question, Dr. Lutz would think for a moment then begin questioning the student until he understood how this student was viewing the current topic. He would ask some question to validate that he understood correctly, then he would answer the student's question, directly addressing the points necessary to impart understanding.

I have always wanted to develop this skill, but I don't think I have at this point in time. I was thinking about this, however, and I was thinking about some discussions in which I would like to engage some Protestant friends regarding Christian faith, in particular Catholic faith. It finally dawned on me that this is an area of discussion in which I do have understanding of a point of view different than that which I currently hold.

I was born and raised a Roman Catholic. Through a series of events with details probably best left for another discussion, I left the Roman Catholic church and attended Episcopal, Lutheran and Anglican churches for a number of years. For some portion of this time, after accepting the Lord back into my life, I fully embraced some beliefs common to most Protestants. With some time examining my faith, I found my beliefs changing and myself drawn back to the Roman Catholic church. I am what one seminarian I once spoke with referred to as a Catholic Revert.

I would like in the future to discuss various aspects of the Catholic faith with this perspective in mind, particularly in the context of my own faith journey. If in doing so I can help bolster some Catholic's faith, or help some Protestant to better understand the Catholic position, then I believe it will be time well spent.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

What's On My Mind

I was thinking about Facebook today, in particular about how difficult it is for me personally to post what's on my mind. Quite often when I'm on Facebook, there really isn't anything on my mind. If there was, I probably wouldn't be on Facebook.

There are other times, though, when I'm hesitant to post what's actually on my mind. These are the times when what is on my mind is somewhat weighty, and posting it to Facebook seems somewhat frivolous. Often these are matters of faith or morality, and quite frankly I'm just not sure that Facebook is the place to address them.

Please don't get me wrong. When I see friends post snippets of scripture or hymns, or just little expressions of praise for our Lord; I find these posts encouraging. As for myself, I'm just not wired that way. I want to take the deep dive, I want to get into the details.

So, while thinking about the appropriate place to post what's on my mind, I remembered that I created this blog over a year ago with the intention of posting just these kind of thoughts. I didn't follow through for several reason, including in no particular order procrastination, the experience of a bit of spiritual desert and doubts about whether there was really any point in the first place. Regarding the latter, quite frankly, there are numerous other people discussing the same issues that I find myself considering. Many of these individuals do so quite elegantly and with a greater depth of knowledge and personal experience.

For whatever reason, despite the wealth of other voices to be heard, I'm coming to the conviction that there just may be a point to following through with my original intention. We'll see how that goes.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Crowning with Thorns

And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe upon him, and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on his head, and put a reed in his right hand. - Matthew 27:28-29

One of the disciplines I undertook for this season of Lent is to say the Rosary daily. If you are a Protestant, you may shake your head at this undertaking; but if you are Catholic you understand this to be a time to focus on the Mysteries of Christ's life, death and resurrection.

Last night the focus was on the Sorrowful Mysteries; the Agony in the Garden, the Scourging, the Crowning with Thorns, the Carrying of the Cross and the Crucifixion. These, when rightly reflected upon, should bring about a feeling of remorse for the sins in one's own life that contributed to this extreme act of mercy upon the part of our Savior. For me the one that really struck home on this occasion was the Crowning with Thorns.

In my mind I could see Christ amid the utmost humiliation as He was mocked, in particular with regard to His being the King of Kings. I could see the crown of thorns being placed on His head. And then, I had a sense of piercing my palm on the crown as it was placed on His head.

Is not that exactly what happens when we as Christians knowingly exercise our sinful nature? We say that He is Lord, which implies we are to do as He commands (love the Lord our God and love our neighbor as ourselves) and we outright ignore not just His authority, but His Wisdom. We add to the mockery of Christ's name, and we injure ourselves in the process.