Frontal Lobotomy and Fundamentalism
That’s what some people think of my new faith. I have heard it before, and I have seen some examples. Some people I know who have forgotten the meaning of the faith, or the meaning of the interior quest and have gotten sidetracked into apologetics and not taken the time to develop. Some assume that to be Catholic means to forsake the mind.
Sometimes people see Catholics as mindless prayer drones comparable to the Cybermen in Dr. Who. And sometimes this is sadly the case, but it’s true in any religious setting big enough to have moderate participants. I have seen it in myself earlier on in this journey. People who no matter what they say seem to know only one word: Indoctrinate. They run around and no matter how eloquent their speech, the heart of everything comes down to a rigid dance that is sung to the tune of “Indoctrinate! Indoctrinate! Indoctrinate!!”. They’re all about assimilating and dehumanizing, leaving a swathe of emotional and spiritual distress in their wake.
I think we all know what I’m talking about. The person who becomes the walking catechism, the person who insists on debates on a regular basis. I have taken to sitting down, and keeping my thoughts inside. It’s been difficult at times, since I get excited about things, but I have learned there’s a lot to be said for that whole pearls before swine thing. Especially if I do not want to be or be seen as a robot. (And yes, I know that there are some people who will always perceive you thus, no matter what you say or how gracious you are. Let us pray: “Lord in your mercy! Have pity on those who perceive us as mindless robots, and get them some oil for their own hinges. Amen.”)
There’s nothing wrong with sharing, but I refuse to let myself substitute one fundamentalism for another.
My sponsor, Papa Smurf, says that that’s the real tragedy. People get out of Fundamentalism, but they don’t give up being fundamentalists, as if they never learned what the real issue was in the first place. They have simply changed churches instead of being transformed in the interior life by the sacraments and the Community of Faith.
I have tried to make journey as moral and spiritual as it is academic and theological. The blog has helped a lot in this process because it asks me to think through the faith and present my ideas and life to an audience. I think I have been learning a lot by doing this. My vacation from blogging taught me a lot of practical things, and I learned that I’m not superman along the way. I have seen friends or read stories about people who cut themselves off from all life, and the only thing that matters is their new faith, or the transition or the mass conversion of all their friends and family.
I have tried my best to make my journey broader than that.
I have seen some though who become militant in their journey. Just like the Cybermen, they violate human dignity for some higher ideal, some greater good, when Christ teaches us that he embodies every single act of charity, not acts of theological or spiritual arrogance. If this is you, go find a hug, go appreciate life, paint a picture, listen to music, be human. Where we gather according to His way, he is there. Your Protestant, Atheist, Muslim and Hindu friends don’t need an “upgrade” they need exposure to a charitable disciple. They need an evangelist who preaches with actions and then and only then, words. I mean, there’s a need for healthy separation, but being Catholic isn’t the end of thought at all. The worst testimony to your faith is to be a walking book of doctrine or the jumpy-evangelist. The best example is to be loving, thoughtful and meek.
Many of my friends from college have converted or re-verted back to the Faith, and many are success stories, and I appreciate watching them grow, but some others simply stop thinking. Some simply re-quote things, and have let dogma become their answer instead of the method by which they approach all else. They have become, as it were, thoughtless, and I understand there are practical reasons this happens from time to time, but it frustrates me to see brilliant minds left unattended. Lobotomized, as it were.
I have discovered that Catholicism has become a lens through which i see all else. Some call it Christianity, some call it Catholicism, I call it both, but its my lens, it’s my way of looking at the world. Being Christian is not about ideas, it is about a worldview. A commenter, Mike recently shared the quote “They call it Christianity, I call it consciousness” and I could not agree more. Jesus’ lordship really has a claim on me, and it is really transformative of the way I see everything else.
I have discovered the moral and spiritual lens by which I see the world, and it invites me to think, and to feel and to experience the world Christianly. Christianity and specifically the Catholic faith have invited me to see think and feel through God’s love and His call to be a disciple. I have not stopped thinking, in fact I am learning what it means to think, to feel, to have faith and to be human all over again.