a deeper faith and a more authentic religion

there was an encounter between a astronomer and theologian. the astronomer says, “isn’t all we need to know about God summed up as, ‘jesus loves me this i know, cause the bible tells me so?'” the theologian replies, ‘only if all we need to know about astronomy is ‘twinkle twinkle little star, how i wonder what you are'”

i heard it said that the christian faith in the usa is a mile wide and an inch deep. although it is shifting now, in the past the vast majority of folks would respond that they believe in God but when pressed about what it is they really believe, most folks would have an elementary understanding of what it means to be a christian. the prevailing image of God might be like a “super-santa claus”: God rewards you if you do good (and sends you to heaven); punish you if you do bad (and sends you to hell). if one’s faith stays at this level, there will be inevitable problems trying to navigate our 21st century world.

there is a joke: jesus played with the children and taught adults; in the catholic church we play with the adults and teach the children. unfortunately, we can catechize before we evangelize. but knowing about the faith is not the same as having a relationship with God who loves us as we in our sinfulness and will never abandon us; whose forgiveness is about healing and peace.

a child’s imagination and world view can be wonderfully shaped by the stories of the bible like the joseph dreams in genesis, the good samaritan in luke, and jesus’ washing of the feet at the last supper in john’s gospel.

when we really know this divine relationship in our hearts, we will want to know more about the One who made/loves/saves and sanctifies us. prayer becomes the key and the community of faith is needed to help us walk well.

sometimes it pains me when faith/religion gets reduced down to one specific aspect or specialized teaching of what it means to live as a catholic. these type of reductions can be impoverished perspectives of the faith. this rings true to me when someone leaves one’s faith because of a disagreement on a specific teaching: religion then can become a caricature

the christian faith is deep– the more we learn, the more complex it seems to get. this is especially true with our judeo-catholic tradition and history which spans about 6,000 years. our biblical roots are primarily about understanding our relationship with the mystery we call “God”. with shared biblical scholarship that is now more international and accessible has brought our understanding of the scriptures deeper than it has ever been. but who reads it, interprets it and passes it on? who listens?

most people just fall away from faith/religion. everyone has a different story but one reason for so many non-practicing, baptised catholics is the bad example real catholics. in recent memory, the sexual abuse from clergy and subsequent inadequate follow up has been the stated reason for many to leave the faith. if our roots are not deep, it would be easy to just see the church is a bunch of perverted hypocrites. this can reduce the church to a clericalized entity; can give into self righteous judgment.

the church is both holy and sinful because of our humanity. faith/religion ought to help us what it means to be human; what it means to love in light of the mystery we call “God”

i heard that astronomers who really look at our universe can get a sense of the connectedness of it all and a design that is really inexplicable. they have a sense of wonder and awe for our creation

i pray that the church– the community of believers– helps all of us walk the journey of faith well. that the Spirit graces us with divine gifts that give us the wonder and awe of the power of love and mercy. and that we enjoy the mystery of the gift of life in all forms– even in the heavy crosses that exist in our complex world. and that divine joy and peace permeates our hearts

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