Thursday, June 14, 2012

Do not practice theology while operating heavy machinery.

     So I have been reading this book by Tim O'Connell, Principals for a Catholic Morality.
     And when I say I have been reading it, I have been reading it in the way that one might read a book that has been sitting on their bedside table since high school and yet he or she has only reached page 70.
     That kind of reading.
     It is a good book, but it covers 2000 years in the history of moral theology in the first 19 pages.
     And then it starts to get dense.
    You could seriously reflect on any single sentence for weeks at a time.
     And during that time you might get distracted and start reading Harry Potter.

     Anyway, I though that maybe if I start blogging about some of the more interesting sentences it might help me stay focused.
     The book begins with the idea that theology is the constant interpretation of God's continual revelation.
     Were you able to get through to the end of the sentence?  Because if not, I totally understand; this book definitely has that effect on people. I get towards the end and I am like "Okay, long word, long word, blah blah, blah...I wonder what I will make for dinner..."
     And that's even when it is saying something as exciting as "God's continual revelation".
     That's not a direct quote, of course, because typing the direct quote would immediately make me go to sleep.  But despite its inscrutability, it is a refreshing idea:
     We are always learning about God.  Time and cultures change, and we are always needing to figure out what to do in new situations.
     That's what it means, and it is so nice to hear.  It flies in the face of all this "eternal and unchanging Word of God" nonsense that conservatives use to fight against social issues they don't like.  (Truthfully, if you were to press them on it, they know the Word of God changes at least SOMETIMES. Very few people consider it a sin to wear garments of mixed fibers, for example.)
     So what does that mean ultimately?  It means that, if we follow Tim O'Connell's  ideas about theology, then we need to THINK about God, and the universe, and what it all means for our daily lives, then make decisions for ourselves, in our time and our situation.

 I can tell you guys are excited about this as I am.
Those of you who are awake, anyway.

Okay.  Next paragraph...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Why I am raising my children in the Catholic faith: Part I

First reason why I am raising my kids Catholic:  Math

Oh, you heard me.

I am terrible at math, and not very good at Catholicism, but I still really like them both. Both math and Catholicism take a lot of thinking because they are things, but not in the way regular things are things.  It's pretty fun.

I promise you that does actually make sense.

Okay, so let's start with math.  Math isn't a regular thing.  You can't see it, or touch it, or even explain it without using more math.
Try it.
Prove the number two.
Okay, so maybe you can write down the number two, but that is not actually two; that is the symbol for two.
Maybe you can show me two fingers, but those aren't two.  Those are fingers.  There is no such thing as two in the traditional sense of "such thing".  Two is an understanding of a relationship.
But math isn't just simply relationships.  Triangles and algebra and the quadratic equation: they are real things.  It's not just how you look at the world; math is a universal truth that you either get or you don't.

This has never happened to me.
God is similar.  When I say God, I don't mean a man in the sky with a flowing beard.  I don't really understand the whole man in the sky thing: I have never witnessed the clouds part, or had any beatific visions.  I can understand it as a metaphor, but taking it literally sounds a little like a children's story to me.  I am not saying it is impossible; I just have never experienced anything like that.
For me, God is the connection between man and his community, man and nature, music, science, math: basically everything.  And it is not just my personal perception of these connection; it is an actual connection that people have to be taught to see, and have awe for.

He knows what I am talking about.
They are both very cerebral, and kind of mysterious, both God and math, and even if you have been taught to understand both of them, they can still be kind of hard to grasp.
Plus, for both, people who aren't very good at understanding them get really frustrated by people who do understand them, sometimes to the point where the other person is kind of embarrassed to admit they understand.
But if no one on Earth could see math or God, they would still be there.  Neither needs humanity to perceive them for their existence.  They just are.

This isn't just me and my enlightened sense of religion.  This is Catholicism, Baby.  We refer to it as a sacrament (with a little 's') meaning that Catholics see God in everything, from sunsets, to math, to music, to each other.  Other religions rely very strictly on the their texts and priests, but we Catholics see God everywhere.

Who wouldn't want that for their kid?  Who wouldn't at least want her to be able to understand that mystery and awe can be found in everything?