Lets Talk Religion

“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.”
- Steven Weinberg

Not too long ago I started the conversation about faith. From the comments and conversations that followed we came to the same fork on the road. Religion.

I actually don’t talk about religion as much as I would like to in here because I don’t truly like to alienate people based on my views of it. If you have never met me I will give you a little bit of my background with religion.

I grew up in a Catholic household with both parents being churchgoers at different times in their lives. Church was not a family affair. I also went to a Catholic high school which kind of gave me a different view on going to church and religion. Religion IS a subject down in Colombia for even non parochial schools. I have never been married in the Catholic church even though I would not mind it. I identify with the cultural aspect of Catholicism because it is very familiar to me. I have also explored other faiths specially in the protestant side of things.

I have attended protestant or “Born Again christian” churches for months with various degrees of creepiness at the end. They have always ended up the same way. First is the push for me to take more of an outreach position when they see that I can speak in front of people without much issue. Then when I decline and want to be just a member it seems like I become “one of those that doesn’t want to spread the message.” The moment I started to ask too many questions that challenged leadership in any way steps are taken to make me either follow in line or be labeled as an “outsider.” The chronology is different depending on the church but it has happened twice now.

I have always ended up in a protestant church thanks to a friend that thinks it will be good for me. I love the singing and bible studies. I love talking ideas, good, bad, salvation, sin. I love the volunteer work. The problem is that I was brought up by Franciscans and some of them taught me that religion is not what is important, that true understanding comes from questioning things. Faith is not something that you can give to others, they have to feel it themselves… its like trying to make someone happy, you can only “try” for so long. It has to come from within.

(Well known mathematician Freeman Dyson has criticized Weinberg’s remark: “And for bad people to do good things—that [also] takes religion.”)

A Franciscan monk is the one that pointed out that our history books in school left a lot of stuff out.

The problem with taking advice about religion from others is that for people like me it is a journey. If you would have asked me 10 years ago, I would have one answer. If you would have asked me during the Bears vs Broncos game, I would have another. If you ask me 10 years from now, I might have another one.

I don’t think I lack faith. I just don’t like to rely on intangibles for things to happen. That said, I have leaned on praying before to get me through tough times. Probably the reason that I could not become a full atheist because when the ship was sinking I would be asking for God. My brain, my debates with others, the books I read, all make me question the validity of both faith and religion. I don’t need it to get through my daily life, but faith is a powerful thing… like love.

The bible is a cool book, Jesus was a cool man… but there are other books and there are other great men.

A lot of horrible things have been done in the name of religion. Also a lot of good is done in the same name. I think in the end everything with an arterial motive goes back to human weakness. All tools can be used for good or evil, it depends a lot on who’s hands is holding them.

Things get a lot more complicated when you are the “Godfather” to 3 kids!

I love the honor that comes with the title. I also want to make sure that if I am ever called to answer questions about it I will have good answers. Note I did not say the “right” answer, but a good one.

13 Responses to Lets Talk Religion

  1. We want to be involved in a church that gets the congregation out and about in the community volunteering and helping others. May have found one!

  2. Faith and religion are intertwined; subtract faith from religion and you’re left with a whole lot of social clubs in hysterically overwrought buildings.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Indeed, I would personally prefer it.

  3. Hey Logtar,
    Very interesting read, I’d like to add a few thoughts. First the source of Religion, the word, and what it means:
    <q cite="Christian writer Lactantius, writing in the early fourth century, opted for religare, a verb meaning “to fasten or bind. 'We are,' he said in his book 'Divinae Institutiones,' 'tied to God and bound to him [religati] by the bond of piety, and it is from this, and not, as Cicero holds, from careful study [relegendo], that religion has received its name.'”

    People often like to fault “religion” for the sins of mankind, using it more a scapegoat then anything else. Now, there have been many great horrors attributed to religion, as well as God over the years, and I doubt we’ll see that change anytime soon. But if we look at the root of religion as a binding relationship then we can start to see the beautify and joy as it exists.

    Now there has been a lot of negative thoughts on religion, with the video “Jesus > Religion” going viral a few weeks ago, and the different responses offered. But the ideas’ expressed in the video as well as the ideas expressed in the quote by Steven Weinberg are a natural evolution of protestantism. What started with Martin Luther centuries ago still resonates to this day and becomes evident in different views over religion itself. Here is a quote by Karl Marx on religion:

    “Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions.”

    His thought proposes that religion itself is a way to both control the populous, the poor, by giving them illusions of happiness, etc. So, thinking of it that way does make religion sound like a controlling force. Something to keep the people in check.

    Looking from the protestant reformation going forward we can see ideas, while perhaps the intention was pure, are inherently flawed when put into the perspective of scripture, logic, reason, and faith.

    I should go into a long theological discussion about the existence of God at this point, as well as his covenants with man, but that could take a while, but we can go into that later if needed. For the time being I’m going to jump ahead to focus on Christ, his message, and his Church.

    When I said that the intentions of the Protestant reformation, while their intentions might have been pure, but still inherently flawed, I’m focusing on the idea of authority, who has it, and what it means. Did the Church need reformation? Yes, we all do, all the time, but I’m going to focus on the authority piece. Reviewing Luther as well as other Protestant reformers, the idea that the “sola scriptoria” – the Bible alone is the source and summit of faith is both not found in scripture, and goes against Christ’s own teachings. Christ didn’t establish a bible, he established a Church. Then the Church put together the Bible, and thus the Catholic Church has both sacred tradition, history, as well as the Bible.

    When we each interoperate scripture ourselves we can come up with several different thoughts, ideas, etc. That is why it was good teaching that the Franciscan monk taught you to question your faith, to look deeper then one source or the next. To read things contextually, asking who was the author, who was their audience, etc.

    While, my thoughts here are long, somewhat disconnected, as there is a lot of different thoughts in your article as well as with religion in general, but I want to focus on one thing you said in your article before I close.

    “The bible is a cool book, Jesus was a cool man… but there are other books and there are other great men.”

    I ask, is Jesus the son of God? God himself as part of the trinity? If you say no, or if anyone says that Jesus isn’t God, but was a good person, those ideas are contradictory. If Jesus isn’t God, then he is a very bad man, not good at all because he would then be the biggest deceiver the world has even known, as well as a blasphemer. This in turn would not have made him good, or cool, or anything. If Jesus was just another man, and not who he said he is, then he would be a liar.

    However, if he is not a liar, then he is in fact the Living God, the Son, the redeemer, the Christ. And by his very words he has not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it, he founded his Church, gave us the sacraments, died for our sins, lives in us, is adored in the Eucharist, and loves us all completely.

    This was a long post, but thanks for reading, and if you have any other questions or want to dialog at anytime let me know. :)

  4. Thanks for the great comment Brian. I admire people like you and love the fact that you are so full of faith and conviction.

    Let me start by answering your question. Is Jesus God?

    For me personally that is a very complicated question to answer. The trinity is a concept that I have spent a lot of time thinking and discussing before in the context of theology and at times been as far as to get to the agnostic extreme of the interpretation. Not trying to dance around the question, just giving you some context for my answer.

    One of the things that bothered me the most about protestantism was that I could not be a believer of Mary. She is very important to me for many cultural reasons as well as personal. Prayer and the rosary are very powerful to me. They represent tradition and faith. It was something that I personally just could not leave behind and to this day I wear a rosary around my neck, every single my Mom gave it to me.

    Immaculate conception, and Jesus as the Living God, the redeemer, the Christ is something I cannot escape. It is a part of my upbringing and what I feel to be true. That is not to say that I don’t question the validity of those ideas and understand that only faith explains it fully. I don’t think that Jesus was a liar if he was just a man, or if another religions sees him as simply a prophet and not a living God. The moment religion becomes exclusionary with ideas and principles it is the moment it start to lose me. My logic does not allow for heaven to be a place where only a finite number of people have entry to… I also have a hard time believing that what we do here only matter because of the ultimate reward. We live, we receive rewards now, we are affected by our actions and those of others.

    Marx’s view of religion is a conclusion many arrive at after being a part of organized religion when it fails them (or they don’t need it.) I personally have found happiness thanks to personal relationships more than anything driven by any institution. Catholicism is familiar to me, I respect it, however I can never really be a part of it… in many ways I am a liar when I walk in because I do live with a woman, we are married through the state and not the church and have been divorced before. Some priests have been totally cool with it, some others not so much. So a church that keeps people like me out is really not all that good or practical for me… but I will continue to go when I can and get the fellowship I want out of it. I just don’t care that much about being “official” or jumping through many flaming hoops just to make an institution happy.

    Now as far as spirituality, I have my own relationship with God. Very personal and really not that complicated. The church I attend really does not affect my view of God all that much. It does however affect my view of Jesus and Christianity… and I would go as far as saying that protestantism hurt it more than helped it.

  5. @Daniel very nice clip… man, it’s been way to long since I watched that show… :)

    @logtar, I’m sorry I haven’t had any more time to reply, and only pulled myself away from the mountain of work that doesn’t seem to end. I’m sure you know the feeling. I’ll have to read your comment with more attention, before I reply to any of the thoughts and ideas you have presented.

    All in all, sound like you, like everyone, is on that journey. So I’ll hopefully have more time in the next days to give a more thought out reply. :)

    Always good to hear from you and your blog. :) BTW. You messaged me on Facebook saying you had something you wanted to run by me… ;)

  6. It was nothing not too terribly important, more about world domination than anything else.

    It is people like you Brian that make my life awesome. I love having intelligent eloquent people that help me shape my world view. While not many people have an effect on me, people like you do. So I am looking forward to your perspective.

  7. Alright, I woke up early this morning because Juli and I were going to go to the gym, but the cold kept us under the covers and Juli fell back asleep so I found myself with some time to read your comment with the attention it deserves. :)

    Awesome response by the way, I appreciate the honesty, not just to me personally, but to the whole world as well. That’s one of the best things about your blog is your honesty.

    When I was growing up, I had quite a different story. I grew up Catholic but in a very anti-Catholic culture. Adults, coaches, teachers, would inform me that I was wrong, that I was going to hell, that there was a “mansion” in the sky and I wasn’t invited. And all of this, thankfully, only helped me to grow in my faith, to dig deeper and find the answers to the questions that I was being asked. However, this for a while made me very cautious with issues about Mary, specifically. It wasn’t until College, that I heard (I wish I could remember his name) a cardinal talk about Mary, and her role. She said, that for Catholics who have issues, and struggles with Mary, I ask them to first go to Jesus, and pray that he helps to introduce them to his mother, and when you feel that you are more comfortable with that, then ask Mary to help teach them to fully love her son.

    I think it was at that moment that all the walls fell down for me, all the barriers that I had up were removed and I could see just how much Mary was working in my life. First, I saw just how many prayers had been answered, as well as learning more about my conformation saint, and his role (St. Louis De ‘Montfort… Originally picked for his name, but came to find his many writings on our Mother). That being said, I think we can share the same passion for Mary, now, but coming from two different places and cultures. One thing, if you haven’t ever done so, I’d encourage you to pray the chaplet of divine Mercy. It’s said with the rosary, it can be sung, or prayed, and it’s quite beautiful.

    Moving on, I understand where you are coming from as a man who has questions about God, as we all do. Like you said in your post, you are on a journey. If you want any information and perspective on a few topics like the Immaculate Conception (which refers to the conception of Mary), or other such topics that you might be struggling with please let me know. It’s easier to focus a thought and discussion when it’s about a topic, and that’s not to say we can’t cover all topics, as I’m more than willing to do, I just don’t know how many characters the database will accept for a comment ;).

    Ok, now you’ve said some interesting things here that I would like to address with the best of my ability.

    “The moment religion becomes exclusionary with ideas and principles it is the moment it start to lose me. My logic does not allow for heaven to be a place where only a finite number of people have entry to… I also have a hard time believing that what we do here only matter because of the ultimate reward. We live, we receive rewards now, and we are affected by our actions and those of others.”

    And I want to say something really fast, before delving into this comment further. I think you and Bea are amazing people and I’m so happy you two are together. In no way am I judging you, and I hope anything I say doesn’t come across that way. So if I use terms that are offensive, it was not intentional, and thus I apologize in advance.

    I do have one question, have you received an annulment from your first marriage? And was your first marriages made in the Church?

    Moving along, back to your quote, I think you really hit on an issue that most people struggle with. Is religion, faith, God, some exclusive club that people are a part of, are there people who just aren’t invited to the party? And the answer to that is no, Jesus came for all, died for all, built his Church for all, loves all, etc… But that doesn’t mean that everyone will choose to live that life, be a part of the body of Christ, etc. And it shows how much we are loved, that God gave us free will to accept him, or reject him. It’s our choice in the matter. As regarding religion as exclusionary, I agree that it could seem that way, but I don’t believe that it is, and here is why.

    People can see rules in one of two ways:
    1. It limits me, says I can’t do
    2. It sets me free, shows me how to be the best version of myself, a team player etc.

    For example, if you played on a sports team, or where on any team. If you didn’t know the rules of the game, chances are you could hurt yourself, or another player. You might even hurt the team as a whole. Asides from risk from injury, it might not be that much fun to play.

    Rules, guild lines they are in every party of life, from games, work, love, etc. We can view them as restrictive, or we can view them as freeing.

    If a child wants nothing but to eat sand, or something that would both harm them, the parent would make a rule not to eat sand, the child might not like it, but it’s for his betterment, it will be better for him, as he develops to grow. I’ve spoken with some of the kids that I teach that we’ve been given the playbook for how to not only lead a good life, but to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be, and sometimes that requires us to make sacrifices to what we might want vs what we really need. I could draw more examples but I’ll move on to one last one before continuing.

    Now with this same team, if we the player never showed up to practice would that make us a good player? And also, Archbishop Fulton Sheen said this about the Mass: “If you go to the opera without having an understanding of music you might find it boring, and it’s the same way about the Mass, if you don’t understand why you are there, only just that you are required to be there, you won’t see the beauty”. – I did a little paraphrasing.

    Also, I do agree with you, as I don’t see heave as a place where only a finite number of people have entry. I think that logic is flawed, and goes against God. The truth that was twisted to be viewed that it was only for X number of people is that not everyone will choose God. Then sprinkle in some pre-destination and bam you have that idea. So I agree with you in regards to not accepting that idea. One thing I would like to point out is another way of thinking. A friend of mine, once was talking with a Jewish girl. Depending on how you were raised, some Jewish people don’t believe in an afterlife, and it wasn’t really until around 100 years before the time of Christ that it was even an idea. So my friend asked her, why be good if there is no heaven as a reward, and she responded.

    “We were created to be good, we were created for God”. In other words, we shouldn’t love and follow God just to be rewarded, but we should love and follow him because that is what we are created for. God made you good, and to be anything else goes against your nature.

    Now this also opens up other points to talk about, so we can get into those as needed. I hope you found something in my reply that is of use, and thanks for sharing so much with me. :)

    I hope you and Bea have a wonderful day. :)

  8. @Brian

    First thing, to your questions, kinda. One is in process, the other one was promptly done because it was not done through a religious ceremony. That said it is like you said a somewhat sensitive and personal subject. I don’t hate religion because of it, I just find it very hypocritical that we as Catholics have to deal with so much red tape from such a big institution… but then at the same time we have changed and simplified so many aspects of the mass… I have so many issues with the institution and the disconnect part of it that I kind of just chose to be a part time Catholic lite than really worry about it.

    With the honesty that you have bestowed upon me I comment. I am really not on a journey to explore my religion at all. Honesty my spirituality is as strong as ever, my doctrine is still somewhat in hiatus… that is with the exception of being a Godfather. I do take that seriously. If I am ever called to be a guide to any of the kids I would lead them in the best way I can and what I believe right at the time.

    I appreciate both mass and praying. That said, they are not the same everywhere. Traveling has allowed me to see that even as Catholics we stretch the boundaries of mass and even have simplified a lot of it. What might have been Opera for me growing up looks a lot closer to a Britney Spears concert now. Not that I want Latin mass to make a comeback or anything, just that we all get used to what will feel familiar. So your mass is not the same as my local mass… and in some ways it should be. Aren’t the rules suppose to apply all over? If we bend rules here and there aren’t we all become protestants ourselves in our own ways?

    Again, my spirituality, morals and ethics are well cemented. Religion though, has let me down over and over, both in delivery and consistency of the message… both Catholic and non-Catholic. Christianity is flexible and has a great message, and you touched in the most important part for me.

    I also see Christianity as a freedom inducing experience. I also see the path of Jesus as an awesome one to follow. I simply have yet to find someone that follows it completely. One thing is to profess it, the other one is to follow it to their complete letter. Loving everyone, and I mean EVERYONE is a hard thing to do… and not many Christians adhere to that basic Christian principle in my eyes, that you have to love everyone, Gay, Muslim and prostitute, all the same.

  9. “I simply have yet to find someone that follows it completely. One thing is to profess it, the other one is to follow it to their complete letter. Loving everyone, and I mean EVERYONE is a hard thing to do… and not many Christians adhere to that basic Christian principle in my eyes, that you have to love everyone, Gay, Muslim and prostitute, all the same.”

    You can say that again! I think it was Gondi who said, he would be a Christian if he ever met one. It’s a hard practice to follow, and apart of that love is to forgive. I can’t say that I have met said Christian ether, or myself are that person, but thankfully God calls us to be faithful, not successful. However it is my goal, and thus I look to Mary, the saints, and Jesus to help me love others as he does.

    “With the honesty that you have bestowed upon me I comment. I am really not on a journey to explore my religion at all. Honesty my spirituality is as strong as ever, my doctrine is still somewhat in hiatus…”

    My mistake, I thought I saw the word journey in your post, but reviewing didn’t see it again. But more or less, my mind was thinking about how we are all on a journey.

    As for the Mass being different, I can say that I don’t have a wide view of experiences when it comes to the Mass itself, as I have never left the country. However, I do know that I have attended different rites as well as different orders. I’d be interested to knowing some of the differences that you have seen when you have the time, as my curiosity has been peeked. But from my understanding of it is there are key parts that are the same. I can say here in North Texas, we are very blessed with the Mass, music, etc.

    ” Aren’t the rules suppose to apply all over?”

    Yes, and no to the first question, there are rules, but they can very by degree based off the rite of the Mass. At my parish we celebrate the Roman rite, however in Louisville there is a Lebanese parish that celebrates in a different rite. While there are some principles that are the same, there can be different approaches. I don’t have all cases and examples before me, but I should really read up on that more. Another example would be Eastern Orthodox Catholic, and I would consider myself Roman Catholic. And while there are differences we are still united and in communion with one another. You can even look at some protestant churches (not in communion with the Catholic Church), and they will have a similar flow/feel to them. Lutheran, Anglican, do retain and can in some parts look very closely, or closer to the Catholic Church then in other protestant denominations. And the further down the line, the less, and less it reflects the Church.

    ” If we bend rules here and there aren’t we all become protestants ourselves in our own ways?”

    That depends on how the rules are bent. An example would be: In your diocese perhaps people do not hold hands when they pray the Our Father, but in mine they do. However, if it was something like, In your parish they offer communion, while in mine they do not, that would be something that would not be in communion with the Church as a whole. Are there issues from parish to parish, yes, I’ve heard of some reported, and that would have to be handled by the Bishop. So, to answer your question, could we bend the rules enough yes. The other issue is looking at the Mass over time, some things have changed, but reviewing the writings of the early church fathers, the Mass has been relativity consistent, to the best of my knowledge at the time of this writing. I’ll have to look into that more, so that I can speak on some authority on the subject, but I would be interested in some examples from your lifetime, as I’ve been more or less located in Texas, and that time we all went to Mass in Kansas City. :)

  10. @Brian,

    Growing up I went to 4 different churches down in Colombia. The one where I was baptized St Paul the Baptist which was not chosen because of that but because it was our local church, the one in my Grandparent’s neighborhood which translated literally would be the Divine infancy (using a little humor, Baby Jesus parish), one more in the center of the city very devoted to St Francis and therefore close to my heart being that I have basically been taught by Franciscans and last but not least the one I probably attended the most which was the one at my school. They were all the same in structure from the beginning to end with the exception of only one of them using bells and I am curious as to if you know when they would use them. (only seen that done a couple of times here in the U.S.)

    I have also gone to other churches in Colombia, but those are the ones I frequented growing up.

    Here in Chicago I have frequented St Francis Borgia in a mixed Italian and Polish neighborhood and actually famous for a bunch of reasons… but that is probably the one I have attended the most. I don’t live close to it anymore. St Charles Borromeo for most family functions (that is actually a full on Spanish church here.) and the one where I live now which I don’t frequent…. more on that later.

    In Kansas City we went to the Holy Cross and a couple of times to the one we went with you… which to me suffered from the same issue that the one I live close to now. Now Holy Cross was probably the best church I have ever attended here in the US besides St Francis. It made me feel welcome and I felt at home… I also felt like it was a house of God… Ah this topic is so interesting in so many ways that I think me and you could just sit and talk for hours, no joke.

    So back to differences and why I don’t feel at home at this church that is but steps away from my house.

    Growing up singing was a big part of the Mass. Clapping and holding hands was really something I did not see until I went to a protestant church and then some catholic. And the raising of the hands… that was super foreign to me. The action itself inside of a church seemed like something only a priest should do… not that I was ever taught that, just something that when I first saw I am like WHAT? PUT YOUR HANDS DOWN… the Priest is so gonna kill you!

    The other big difference was kids. I come from a culture where kids are part of everything in your life and they learn boundaries very early on… here is the US it does not seem that way. It is very apparent at church. We were all dragged to church and only understood some of it. The concept of Sunday School does not translate to Catechism to me. Kids being carted away was something that interrupted the flow to me, even though I do like blessing their future and their faith.

    Music has been all over the place to. Not sure why but a drum set at church still kind of feels out of place. Organ or piano its cool, a guitar sometimes can be ok… but a good choir feels the most home like.

    Now the structure of the Mass is for the most part intact… I do get take back when the kneeling is dialed back for whatever reason, that somehow feels like it should always be the same. If I had to learn to deal with kneeling I think everyone should. lol. The responses being simplified trows me off. I used to wonder why some responses were different in content from Spanish to English, but again not a huge deal once I was used to it.

    Now there are many reasons (or even call them excuses) why I don’t go to Mass in a consistent basis, but the real one is that I don’t feel at home at church. I know in the back of my head that until annulments and a proper Catholic marriage there is a hypocritical component to me being at church. The other one is confession… I really have some issues with it but that is a whole different discussion because it is a lengthy one (I will have to tell you about the whole weird, we don’t take confession it is a group affair… but again, way way off-topic.)

    I have remained Catholic in many ways because I have felt at home at most Catholic churches, but the moment they start to feel “mega church” like, or the signing is more American Idol than Choir to worship with it losses me. I am not in a religious journey. My communion with God is daily and fellowship with others has nothing to do with Christianity, but with being a friend to other human beings. I am told that I can be a good mentor by people I have given advice to. For the most part I think I am a good husband, but that is more of a question to my wife. I try to be a good son and brother and it seems I do ok… and now uncle and godfather. I think I affect most of my friends in a positive way and I do LOVE all the people that I have mentioned in the group above. I love in a very passionate way. I mean every hug to my friends, I cherish every phone call to the because God knows how much I hate phones. So my “Christian” walk, as I see it is pretty good. As to the rest of the world though, I am not a lover of all… there are plenty of people that I have not yet conquered the whole “turn the other cheek to.” I do think that the church does a good enough job letting us know that they don’t expect perfection, or that they are all inclusive. At least right now, I don’t think I need to be at Mass every Sunday to be a good person or drive my life forward… but, I would if I felt at home.

  11. So sorry it’s taken me so long to reply, keep me in your prayers, been super busy with work and by the time I get home, excersize, I’m ready for bed, so I haven’t had much of a life anywhere for past several months. Anyway, I’d like to focus on one point you made, because I can say I do agree with you on parts with music, kneeling, etc, but that comes from my tradition growing up. When I first went to St. Gregory’s I was so confused and didn’t like that instead of kneeling everyone would stand. Being that the school was a benedictine order that was their custom. And I learned that they stood as a sign of respect, but they did so as a community. Personally I like to kneel, but I can’t use the kneelers as they kill my knees, so I find a spot on the floor or outside the row if needed.

    Anyway, here is what stood out to me the most:

    “The responses being simplified trows me off. I used to wonder why some responses were different in content from Spanish to English, but again not a huge deal once I was used to it.”

    - With the new translation, It’s taken me some time to get used to but I find so much more depth in it. When we were preparing for the change to the new translation I was talking with one of our priest friends of ours Fr. Flynn who talked about how beautiful the Spanish translation was as compared to the English. To illustrate he did the English, then the Spanish, then explained the Spanish, as I don’t speak Spanish at all. Wow, how beautiful.

    “Now there are many reasons (or even call them excuses) why I don’t go to Mass in a consistent basis, but the real one is that I don’t feel at home at church. I know in the back of my head that until annulments and a proper Catholic marriage there is a hypocritical component to me being at church. The other one is confession… I really have some issues with it but that is a whole different discussion because it is a lengthy one (I will have to tell you about the whole weird, we don’t take confession it is a group affair… but again, way way off-topic.)”

    I’d say that you shouldn’t have to worry about going to Mass, in fact I don’t think it would be hypocritical at all. I’m right there with you, the Church was built for all of us. But I can understand not feeling at home, and I wish there was something I could do for you there. I’d still encourage you to go, as there is Grace in the Mass. God calls us to be faithful, not successful.

    In no way am I saying that I don’t think you are a good person, in fact I think you are an amazing man. We haven’t known each other that long, but when I first met you I have to say you are an incredibly genuine person. I felt like we had an instant friendship. I have to agree with what you said,

    ” I love in a very passionate way. I mean every hug to my friends, I cherish every phone call to the because God knows how much I hate phones. So my “Christian” walk, as I see it is pretty good.”

    I would say you are very successful in that way, so I hope that you don’t take my encouragement in saying otherwise. But I believe, and will continue to share, talk, to whoever wants to, about the real power of Grace, the Mass, religion, God, and from out in left field Video games, to anyone, anywhere, as time permits. :)

    Anyway, had best get back to work. Hope you have a fantastic day! :)

    (Also, yes we should talk about confession as well when you have the time, perhaps in another format. Whatever works best. )

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