“Pseudo Marriage”

During my research for the forever “in process” marriage posts I just stumbled upon this already well written article that captures a lot of what I believe in/would like to share with others.

As always, I would like to say that my own renditions are still coming (see? I was doing research on it jsut now!) but until then, enjoy this post from over at Faith and Family Live by Rebecca Teti.

Let me know what you think!

Beans and Rice

This past weekend we went to yet another wedding, this time my cousin’s and it was up in New Hampshire.  The exasperation you may have just picked up on was not due to the fact that I hate weddings (I love them actually.  Its a great combination of celebration, entertainment and an opportunity to renew your own vows!) but more along the lines of, “I’m really tired from traveling for all these out of town weddings.”  Luckily for us, that was the last wedding out of town this wedding season! That was the second this month, but I think it was particularly hard with the hubby recovering from the flu the other week too.

And it may have also been hard since this wedding was literally in the middle of nowhere.

Seriously.  We flew into Providence, RI and still had to drive over 2 hrs to get there! (Which also means there was another 2 hr trip back to the airport!)

BUT, the timing was right, the cause was good, the leaves were turning colors you don’t see in Texas unless its at a football game, and so, never having been up to New England before, we hopped at the opportunity to go explore the area and see some family that I’ve known little about my whole life (thank you, US military, for keeping us literally across the world our entire lives).

It was totally worth it. But then again,  is it ever not?

I got to hear some hilarious stories from the bride and groom, meet another cousin’s husband, drive through the New England countryside, see a long lost aunt and hear another sing, and, probably my favorite part of the trip, got to spend a lot of quality time with my brother, who I missed seeing last week and haven’t seen since his last tour to Iraq.  We had some heart to heart conversations, which feel too far and few between since we’ve grown up.

Unfortunately, our pocketbooks did a lot more “giving” than “receiving”, as so be expected, even though we tried to make this trip as economical as possible by sharing a hotel room and getting super cheap plane tickets (involving getting up at 3 am to get to the airport on time!).

So last night, as my husband was totaling exactly how much we spent on the trip – and it was still slightly more than planned – I  just joked  “Oh well, I guess we’ll just eat beans and rice until next month!”

And then I looked down as I was cleaning the dishes and realized that’s literally exactly what we had done.  Just substitute “rice” with “tortillas”!

beans

And we will probably eat this for the rest of the week.  Because when you make beans, you make beans for days!

Good thing I love beans, so this doesn’t even feel like a sacrifice!

Galileo, king of night vision

I found this really interesting article on the domestic life of Galileo today.

Did you know he had three illegitamate children?

And that his two daughters become nuns?

EH-AB658_GALILE_NS_20080827181758

Granted “discerning a vocation” back then sounds like it was a lot different than it is now, since he put them in a convent since they had no future to marry as illegitimate offspring.   A convent was pretty much their only hope at a decent life.

Still.  The man portrayed in this article doesn’t sound like the man I learned about from MY history books, a man the Catholic Church brutally beat down to get him to stop talking about that stupid rotational theory of yours. I’d think a man that had had that happen to him would have grown bitter.  Instead he loved his Church until the end.

I liked this last quote,

Just that he didn’t have to stop being a Catholic to do what he did. The image of him that I formed as a schoolchild was the modern myth—that he put all that religion and superstition behind him and became the first modern scientist. Well, that’s not exactly right.

Throughout his life, he expressed his love of the Church, his belief in God. What does he say when he makes this fantastic discovery with the telescope, when he finds the moons of Jupiter? He thanks God for making him alone the one person in all of history who was the first to see them and know about them.

So in this extraordinary moment of realization, it’s also a prayer—a prayer of thanksgiving.

Sounds like a pretty cool guy, who was pretty patient while the whole world was trying to figure out this science thing, huh?

Another reason to read up on both sides of the story.

Citizen Magazine

Did a write-up on the Ruth Institute Marriage Conference I went to this August!

I just got a copy and although I’m bummed I’m not quoted, at least I got my picture in there a few times!  Can you find me?  It’s like ‘Where’s Waldo’!

ruth

Favorite Quotes:

“College students are making decisions for the rest of their lives, and they don’t realize it,” she said. “They have plenty of people telling them how to get into graduate school or how to prepare for law school, but they have no one giving them realistic advice about what to look for in a spouse, how to conduct yourself while dating, what to do and not do about sex, cohabitation and hooking up. There are a lot of things young people do that are really sabotaging their chances for lifelong married love, and they don’t realize it.”

“I don’t think many people understand that if you want to solve social-justice issues, then you start with the family,” she said. “If a person isn’t experiencing love in his or her own family, they’re never going to be able to embrace these issues like poverty and hunger. If you didn’t receive that love, you won’t have that love to give.”

“The whole sex-ed way of thinking — ‘Just use a condom, and everything will be OK’ — is a very superficial view of the human condition and human sexuality,” she said. “We’re connected to that whole set of activity, and it has big effect on us.”

Check it out here!

Take 7 (5)

11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111

So, remember the other week when I posted about being so excited to have a complete family reunion this weekend?  Well, it will still be going on, just not with us.  The husband has been out of commission this whole week and I just found out this morning that its 99% chance its the swine flu (I hope you don’t get it Natalie!).  So with his super high fever we’re stuck at home and I’ll have to be a little more patient until I get to see my family again :(  Say a little pray for his recovery and for my health, can you?

2222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222

Although I’m bummed he has the swine flu (it looks pretty painful), I am a little happy that it has nothing to do with that maybe-undercooked salmon that I prepared for our anniversary or the fact that he was slaving away painting our living room all day Monday…

3333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333

I don’t really enjoy commenting on political things.  I think on the blog-o-sphere there can be a little too much “over-valuing of our opinion” (as Jen  discovered in #7) and particularly with political issues, its never about what we should do, but about smearing another person and what we shouldn’t do.  I find this lacks practicality and just makes people really angry and bitter.  As a means of communication, blogging can be useful, but it lacks any real way to engage in conversation and can sometimes stifle any potentially useful dialogue that may have happened because people get too offended.

[Then why blog about controversial stuff at all?  I talk about my faith because I guess I see that as a non-negotiable.  If I can’t be open about myself in a non-judgmental way, since it is such a big part of me, I see it as not being true to myself.  I always have a litmus test too, like “Would I talk about this with people? Then gee, I probably shouldn’t blog about it.”]

That being said, here’s my big caveat.  A lot of what I learned at my marriage conference would probably upset a lot of people, a lot of those people being my good friends.  That’s been part of my hesitance in writing about it even though I said I would (that, and I really have been super busy).  How do I value my opinion without ostracizing people?  What’s the most effective way to talk about these issues?

I should probably use a whole post for this, but as a slight tangent, there’s something about this that makes me a little upset.  Ok, more than a little.  Mostly because I think of all the people that voted for Obama thinking that “Oh, maybe he’s telling the truth when he says that he’s for marriage being between a man and a woman”.  I just don’t understand how he can continue to say one thing and still do everything that is completely against these beliefs.  For some reason this issue seems so much more underhanded than just saying you won’t raise taxes and then eventually raising them anyway.

444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444

Since I already talked about this one with my husband, I think its safe to post about too :)  I found this “teen feminist blog” (please don’t judge me) and was perusing through the blogs for some of the issues that “teen feminists” would be concerned about and I found this entry in a “Dear Abby” format.  Check out this girl’s question:

I’m sure this has crossed many young feminists minds… How are we supposed to date men (specifically), when in the back of our minds we have that caution tape? We are so aware of the crimes men have caused to our gender, so aware of how men think and treat females, how can we possibly not only begin to perhaps tell them not only that we are feminists but to see if they are those sexist pricks we have been fighting for so long?

I find it so incredibly hard just to talk to other women who are completely ignorant about feminism and the idealogy of it, I don’t even want to try to pursue relationships anymore. I don’t know how to gently lay out my cause or even a sneakier way–how to test a guy. This may just be basic courting skills, but my mother never taught me how to test a guy for closeted sexism or male supremacy. I want to know if any of you younger feminists have a theory on how to address this and if it worked.

Is it bad that I laughed after reading this?  I think this is the biggest problem with “traditional” feminist ideology, what are you gonna do with all these men around you?

What would you say to this girl?

55555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555

I don’t know what to do with my free weekend.  Its been so long since I’ve had one.

66666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666

I went to my friend’s defense party this week (I was lame and couldn’t make the actual defense :( ) and I have to say, its inVIGORATING to know that people actually get out of this place with the title “Dr.”!  I need to keep going to those every so often just to help with the motivation.  That, and I enjoyed the free food :)

77777777777777777777777777777777777777777777

Seattle is beautiful.  I could have stayed there a few more days.  Went to a wedding, the husband gave a great toast, did the Underground Tour, went to the original Starbucks, Pike’s Market, Space Needle, AND on our flight home we passed THISCLOSE to Mt. Rainer.  It was crazy.  The pilot said that never happens.

Space Needle

What should we do next time?

Like this?  Visit more Quick Takes every week, hosted by Conversion Diary!

Home Update!

After all of that house drama, the home we made an offer on finally became ours while I was in China.  And what’s more, is we’ve been living there for about two weeks now!  As I mentioned before, I went kamikaze on the painting in the living room but thankfully my husband followed along willingly.  We still don’t have all of it painted , but I have some pictures of what we have painted!

They’re not the best quality since they’re with my camera phone, but you can get the picture!

living2

(we want to paint the wall with all the windows, we just know it will take forever so we’re taking a break for now)

living1

From the other angle. Our future plans include staining our table that I got from an ex-graduate student and more difficult, painting the kitchen.  I really have no idea what to do about that kitchen.  What color goes with green?  What about that area underneath the bar, should it be green or kitchen color?  What’s tricky about the kitchen is then, do we paint the huge wall on the stairs the same color as the kitchen?  (you can see it in the picture below…)

living 4Husband siting!  I’m of the mind to just paint everything green just to keep it simple, but a little voice in my head (my husband’s) is telling me that’s probably not a good idea.  I really need one of those reality shows to help me out right about now!  I can’t even pick matching clothes, let alone paint colors!

Oh, and just so you know, that tiny little TV in the corner?  The one with bunny ears?living2FIXIts my husband’s dream to replace that with a giant 52in. flat screen upgrade.  The funny thing is, that since our time in this home (Oct. 1st officially) neither one of us has even plugged that little guy in.  And we don’t have cable.

I can see us getting a mattress first, because this is what our masterbed room looks like right now:

living3

Ouch!  Splinters in my back!

One year ago…

…(and two days) I stood before God, my family, and friends and committed myself to this man, no matter what happens, for the rest of my life.

Alison and Michael Ceremony-99

Lucky for me, he did the same!  :) The priest said it was the biggest risk of our lives, but I can’t imagine having it any other way.  This year has been full of more laughter, learning and fun than I ever thought possible.  We definitely had a great year.  And to think we’ve only just begun! Here’s to us babe!

Alison and Michael-1193

A few fun things that I’ve learned after this year…

  • There is nothing oppressive with making dinner and having it ready to eat right when my husband gets home.  He likes it and I like making him happy!
  • I’ve learned that cooking really does take a while to get good at, but luckily, I married a human trash compactor so in case I try something and don’t succeed (or the recipe is gross) my husband will eat it all the same.
  • My husband treats everyone the same, no matter how much they wrong him, no matter how hurt he is (which is usually not a lot since everything rolls off his back!).  I’m trying to take notes.
  • If I am a lot less tense (and annoyed), my husband is a lot less tense (and therefore happier).
  • My senior year  in college I applied for a grant aimed to “expand your horizons” and help you “see the world”, with which I would travel to Thailand, India, Peru, and Ghana for a year studying textiles.  I didn’t get the grant (but they congratulated me on first runner up…almost worse…) but I find it amazing that during my first year of marriage I went to two of those four countries I wanted to! (and the third I went to the summer after my senior year!)  What will the second year of marriage hold…Ghana perhaps??? Ha!  So what did I learn from that?  Your life doesn’t end when you get married.  It’s a new beginning :)
  • NFP really works, as in, its effective. AND it does all those other things everyone is always talking about…
  • You CAN convert someone to being a cuddler!  I never thought it was possible!
  • When the photographer says “order your wedding pictures immediately, otherwise you probably won’t do anything with them EVER”, they might be right.  I still need to cash in our credit from our photographer!

Anyway, that’s all I got right now.  Hopefully more comes with the next year!

Alison and Michael-664

Thank you, Phoenix!

I saw this video this morning at one of my favorite blogs and I wanted to re-post it here since a line in it really connected with everything I have been writing about for the past couple of days!

In my last few posts, I was really just trying to focus on the concept of faith and on my journey to being able to have faith in God.  The story of “Specifically Why Catholic” would be a much longer, detailed post, probably more like a book.   But if it isn’t obvious already, learning about God’s plan for human sexuality and how NFP promotes that was a huge component.  I thought this video was a cute reflection on that!

A line from this video touched on the “faith” component, when one of the guys interviewed says,

“You’re either going to put your faith in something that a pharmaceutical company says is going to get you the result you want or you’re going to practice natural family planning and in that case, you’re basically putting your faith in your biology as God designed it and intended it”.

So powerful!  Using NFP helps us to truly extend the concept of faith to all aspects of our lives, not just where its comfortable.

A Journey of Faith: Part 2

Continued from yesterday.

Flash forward several years and I’m not even considering myself a “religious” person anymore.  I was actually against “organized religion” (because everyone who knew anything knows how many wars have been fought and people have been killed over “pointless religious arguments”) and was one step away from considering myself atheist.  I never took that step because I felt like that was going to far… if I would have heard the term agnostic I probably would have considered myself one.

A Teenager’s Issue

The big issue for me, as I think it is for many young people is sex.  I had always been taught that sex was something precious.  I’d made a pledge when I was younger that I wouldn’t have sex until marriage and despite never exactly knowing why I was making that pledge I just decided I would keep it because I knew it was the “right” thing to do.  Unfortunately I think this lack of understanding in my what I will loosely call “faith” led me to weaken my ideals and eventually when faced with temptation, I just gave in.  I had gotten into a relationship with a guy and I started to feel pressure to have sex.  At the thought of loosing this person I thought I had grown so close to I started to buy into the fact that being physically close would only bring us closer and fix all those other problems and doubts I’d had with the relationship.  I felt that it was hard and therefore unfair to be a woman that had to deal with the consequences of having sex while men didn’t have to worry about anything.  I was angry at religion and culture that seemed to have double standards for purity for men and women, and I attributed it to oppression. I didn’t understand the differences between men and women and only saw them as barriers holding me back from doing what was fun, normal, and healthy.  These questions were met with answers that I didn’t like or felt further exacerbated the inequalities between men and women and so eventually for several reasons I deemed myself ready and mature enough to have sex.  So I locked up my fertility and femininity with a little pill and proceeded to look for what I’d been missing.

It wasn’t long before I was hurt and empty. After all I had opened up with my heart and with my body, I didn’t get it.  I never found “it”.  I felt like I couldn’t have given anything else so what had gone wrong?  I had placed my faith in the wrong things; the wrong person.

After that “learning experience” I felt like I needed to gain control of my life.  What’s the old saying?  Burned once not your fault burned twice it is?  Well I was not going to get burned again.

During this time I met someone.  I was still trying to sort through my issues from my past relationships, and he wasn’t looking for anyone either, so dating was out of the question but we would talk for hours about anything and everything.  And strange enough just like every other guy I had ever dated he was Catholic.  [At this point although I should have started to wonder if the God I had been forever ignoring was trying to tell me something I just thought it was random funny coincidence.]  But this guy was different than the others. He seemed to have such a deep understanding and respect for his faith that I couldn’t have anything but admiration.  Of course when I was questioned about my faith I only had one response.  “Its just not in me”.  I had resigned to the fact that the peace I saw in other people would never come to me because I was just predisposed to not have it.

We would have many conversations about life and truth about things that we could and could not know and how that made us culpable to live our lives in moral ways.  We’d often argue and I would insist that I was right because I knew best.  I always knew best.  On one particular night we were having a conversation about whether or not objective truth existed outside of our own personal biases and experiences.  I was arguing that everything was relative and he took the stance that truth did exist beyond our own desires.  It was such a foreign concept to me and although I sensed some truth to it I just completely denied it.  An idea like that would ruin everything I’d thought, it would make life too difficult.  It would put too much blame on me and I could do no wrong.  I wanted nothing more than to be right to the point that I just started making ridiculous arguments.  At some point during the conversation I realized how absurd I sounded and for a brief moment I let my guard down.

What happened next, sometimes I can’t believe myself. If you would have asked me before if I believed in supernatural events I probably would have said no and to be honest its still hard for me to believe they can happen but I don’t know how else to describe that night.  When I let my guard down everything just came flooding out.  Not directed at this guy, but just in general.  It was as if I’d reached my limit of pride and self determination and I broke down to the nothing that I had finally realized I was.  It was as if I had flash of how insignificant I was in this world and I just fell to the floor.  This was important because it felt like the first time I admitted to myself that there was something out there bigger than me and as soon as I did I could feel its presence, His presence.  As I was crying, curled up in a tiny ball so humiliated by my arrogance I remember feeling like I was being held.  It felt as if giant hands were cupping me, as tiny and insignificant as I was, and protecting,comforting me.  It was the strangest combination of terrifying security I’d ever felt.  I felt as if I’d finally surrendered myself to something beyond my control.

serving-hands

I was so guarded and so hurt.  I had to just keep protecting myself because I knew that I couldn’t trust anything.  And the longer I held behind this wall that I built to protect myself the more I realized I was missing of the world beyond the wall.  The more I realized that it only thing stopping me from true happiness.  I had had so much pride that I knew the best thing for myself that I couldn’t see that God had been chasing me this whole time trying to tell me it was ok that I needed Him.  I used to think people who had religion were weak that they couldn’t make it on their own and had somehow invented this idea of a God who loves you to protect themselves, to feel better about themselves.

Now I see that it takes such an incredible amount of strength and courage to admit you were wrong, so much more than it takes to hide behind a protective wall.

The Start of a Journey

The next morning when I woke up I could tell something was different.  For that day and several days afterward I felt like I was floating.  We’re all a product of our own experiences and sometimes its hard to see beyond what we’ve known and felt since it shapes us as people.  But for those couple days it was as if Id been lifted up to see the world from a broader perspective outside my own previous limitations. It felt as if those giant hands had lifted me up beyond my own personal protective wall; outside of my own biases and limitations to give me the perspective of God himself.  Not one of blame or judging, but of loving acceptance of those struggling around me, all with similar problems.  Eventually the feeling started to wear off, as if I was being lowered back into my little protective cove.  It was as if God had let me experience him for a brief moment and then let me return to my normal state as if to say “I’m here now come find me.”

I see that moment as the official beginning of my Faith journey.   I knew that God was real and that there was a greater truth that existed beyond me or anyone else, but now I needed to find where or what it was.  It was like I had to start removing each one of those blocks from my protective wall that separated me from him.  And each block was very challenging.  I continued these challenging conversations about religion and started attending different churches.  In a spurt of curiosity and an attempt to learn more I even attended a retreat called Bayou Awakening.  Investing time in this quest was something I know I needed to do and a retreat was a great way to start.  If anything my weekend taught me to continue to search for truth and have patience with myself because even though I didn’t have all the answers right then I was on the right path.  I kept being led back to the Catholic faith. Although I initially put up a lot of resistance towards many of the Church’s teachings when I sat down and really meditated I could remove my own personal biases I could see the beauty and truth in its teachings.  Removing my personal pride from the equation allowed me to open, myself up to the truth and fall in love with it.  I bought tons of books and started reading on my own to learn more about the faith but I started to run into problems.  I was so scared of committing to a faith that I didn’t fully understand, especially one as criticized and misunderstood as Catholicism, that I wanted to know as much about it before I could officially decide I wanted to become Catholic.  I had begun to treat religion like I did a subject in school putting all the focus on knowledge and none of it in the spiritual realm.  After learning all about God, Jesus, Mary, and the Church I felt like I had gotten to a point where I didn’t need to study anymore.  I had reasoned everything out in my head as true and objectively right, but I still wasn’t at the point where I could say, “Yes this is MY faith.”   It was like my mind knew it made sense but my heart wasn’t ready to commit to its truth and I still worried about tiny little question that I didn’t have all the answers to, like what about aliens!

I think it was very important for me to understand the meaning and theology behind each facet and teaching of the faith, but ultimately it still comes down to that.  Faith. This thing that no one can tell you; you ultimately just have to believe.  It was like I found myself standing at the edge of a cliff.  I was on the knowledge side and I could look back and see how far I’d come, how much more I understood than before, but I could also look in front and see how my journey was yet incomplete.  In order to have a true conversion I had to jump across and place all of my needs and worries with God. Theology uses reason to bring you closer to making that leap to faith but ultimately you have to jump.  And I had to decide whether I would stay comfortable standing where I’d always been or if I would have faith in all that I’d learned and all that I’d experienced and finally jump off.

cliff-diving

Its not that I needed to let go of control.  Its that I go of my pride and of the delusion that I was ever in control.  Compounding the problem of the decision to convert or not was my fear of what my family and friends would say.  What they would think and how they would react?  When I was faced with the ultimate decision of converting I couldn’t help but think how much easier it would have been if I had just been born Catholic. For some reason, no one questions what you believe when you’re born into it but when you’re old enough to make a decision its as if they think you should know the difference.  “You’re joining a cult” (that’s what my grandma said) or a personal favorite “you’re doing this for your boyfriend” (that was my boss).

So why was it so hard for me to have faith in God?  When we’re children its easy because most of us don’t know any better. But when we’re older we’ve  been hurt and we’ve seen more.  We should know better than to just believe that everything will be OK, right? How can Jesus call us to have that same child-like faith when we’ve experienced this life?

Ultimately I think the reason we’re called to have child-like faith is because we are called to eliminate our pride.  We gather up more and more pride as a coping strategy the older we get but it only stands in the way between us and God.  The reason we should try to emulate the faith that children have is because it lacks the barrier between us and God as a result personal pride.

When it came down to it I realized that my Faith was the only appropriate response to what I’d seen and personally felt of God’s love and redemptive spirit.  After all that God had given me over the course of my entire life, the very least I could do was drop to my knees, forget about my pride and my worries about what my family and friends would think, and finally put all of my trust in Him.

Conversion is a public display of humility

During this journey of faith I know I’ve gained peace with my life, love for myself and others, resources to help me grow as a person, patience, and humility.   I feel like the only thing I’ve lost (and am still loosing) is my pride.   Don’t get me wrong, I’m still on that journey and I really don’t think its complete until we die but I’m trying to grow in faith everyday.

To me one of the most powerful lines in Mass, and one that always stuck out at me before I was Catholic in particular, is a line said right before Communion: “Look not upon our sins but on the Faith of your Church”

No one claims to be perfect but the first and most important step is being big enough to admit how small you are and to place praise where the truth lies.  Although people I’ve been close to have commented on how I seemed to have matured during this time, all I’m really trying to do is become more childlike.

A Journey of Faith: Part 1

*So I’m sharing here a talk I gave on faith, or a version close to the talk I gave on faith.  Slightly modified to include a little bit more experience :) I’m not the most coherent writer so I apologize in advance!

What does this mustard seed have to do with anything?

Faith is something that most people would say that they understand the concept of, but would probably struggle coming up with an actual definition of it.  That’s because by its very nature, Faith encompasses a spiritual realm that is not really guided by reasons and concrete definitions. Some attempts at definitions anyway:

JP II says that “Faith in its deepest essence is the openness of the human heart to the gift: to God’s self-communication in the Holy Spirit”.

Jesus says that if we just have the faith of a mustard seed we can move mountains.

Move mountains?  Was this guy serious?  These definitions only helped me so much, as in, well, not at all.  When you’re coming from a place where you don’t have faith, these definitions might as well replace “faith” with “magical mystical unicorn.”

If you would have asked me my definition of faith it probably would have been something like “The excuse people give when they don’t have a reason that makes sense.”  Extremely cynical.  What had happened to me to take away my ability to have faith?

To me the idea of faith was never as intriguing as the results of having faith.  People with faith tend not to worry about things, like they know everything will be OK somehow.  People with faith are patient, yet still exhibit a calm confidence.  Most noticeably people of faith are peaceful as if they know something you don’t know.  I’ve always been fascinated with people that have faith.  Why are they so calm?? Don’t they see the same world around them as I do?? How did they come to a totally different conclusion that it will just “be OK”??

As humans its easier for us to believe in are things we’ve seen and felt with our own eyes and fingers so much so that it becomes less “belief” (or Faith) and more “knowledge”.  Especially as an engineering student, I’ve always felt that things that you can research and have exact knowledge about are the most important.  Everything else is inferior.  A common misconception regarding faith is that a person of religious faith must somehow sacrifice intelligence and common sense in favor of a bunch of supernatural mumbo-jumbo.

But if you think about it we have to have faith to survive everyday of life, whether we know it or not.  We have faith when we go to the doctor that he really knows what he’s doing and has the degree he claims to.  We have faith when we drive on the highway that other people in cars on the road have licenses are responsible drivers and won’t hurt us.  We have faith that crazy foreign countries and cultures really do exist, even when to the best of our knowledge and experiences there might as well be a black hole over in the Pacific instead of Australia!  Some of these things we can find ways of proving (like that Australia does exist), but other things we can’t.  Proving things only get us so far.  At some point faith has to kick in.

And then we have faith in people, with our relationships.  As humans we have a natural desire to open up and share with each other.  And at some level either physically or emotionally we all desire a connection with other people.  Unfortunately many people open up in incomplete ways or put their faith in the wrong things that are bound never to bring true happiness.  Things that aren’t solid, are fleeting, and leave an emptiness when they’re gone.

So with all this misplaced faith going around in tangible things and people, why is it so hard for us to have Faith in the one thing we should?

I guess I should say, why it was so hard for us, for me, to have faith in God?

Child-like Faith

It wasn’t always hard for me to have faith.  When I was younger I had child-like faith, which according to Jesus, it is the best type of faith to have! …although I was a child so it probably doesn’t count.  My family was Lutheran and we’d go to church most Sundays and I was really involved in church activities: bible camp, youth group, and I even acolighted (I have no idea how to spell this word.  I’m sorry!) during the Sunday service.  I didn’t really understand much more than I needed to believe in Jesus and God in order to go to Heaven, but to be honest that’s all I really needed to know at that point in my life.  I was happy!

As I grew older though, my family moved around a lot, which prevented us from going to church regularly.  That and also  because my family couldn’t find one that “felt right”.  I didn’t get this…why couldn’t we just go to another Lutheran church?  What did my parents mean by felt different… God was God right?

It didn’t help that around the same time I was taking a World Geography and Religions class with a very witty and influential teacher. This class basically taught me that history was subjective depending on who was writing it and that all religions are trying to get to the same idea: ways to treat each other humanely so that civilization continues.  Knowing that and knowing that I can’t 100% trust history itself I began to see the pointlessness of trying.  If all religions were trying to do the same thing and there was no physical way of being able to see which was true then it must not matter right?  The fact that many religions were out there that were all basically good just had to mean that statistically, there wasn’t any ONE that was the TRUE one.   It would be too hard to find.  It was all about what you personally like.  So if its all about what you personally like, then truth doesn’t matter – because it doesn’t exist – and faith in crazy Biblical stories just isn’t wise.

And ultimately, it was basically luck of the draw what religion (if any) you were born into because most people just stay with their parent’s religion anyway.  My childlike faith was  eroding and turning cynical.

To be continued…