On September 22, 2004, I blogged the following:

“At this point, taking leave from the obvious political patchwork we all live in, I am shifting the focus of this site to religion. I’ve come to realize that religion, Christianity especially, is not as simplistic as it may have seemed to me even a year ago. Following in the tradition of philosophers, theologians, writers, and professors such as Dr. Cornel West, Rev. John Shelby Spong, John Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg, Garrison Keillor, Rev. Jim Wallis, Rev. James Forbes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bill Moyers, Forrest Church, Henry David Thoreau, amongst many others, I plan to focus on what it means to be religious and the implications being Christian has in today’s America and world. Do not expect light prayers to God and rants about how my life could be improved if I loved Christ more. These can be absurd notions if left to the simple-minded and unlearned or the fearful and apologetic. God has taken a new meaning and a new vision in my day-to-day actions and I will fully explore the breadth of this meaning in future posts.”

On January 31, 2005, I wrote this:

“As I search within myself for some manner of a deeper understanding of the unknown and what exactly defines my faith I often wonder why this has even happened in the first place. What drove me to seek God when I’d abandoned all thought and belief in such an idea in the first place? Had I really denied the existence of God at all? Or did my Catholicism render itself dormant, waiting for a day to reemerge?”

So, my Catholicism did eventually reemerge. There was a purpose that I intentionally held in September of 2004. I felt that what was “my” faith was being taken away by narrow, conservative Christians. I felt that Jesus was being jacked, to be frank. I set out purposely on this ship to hopefully find some land in which I could feel comfortable; perhaps even feel some nibble of inner-peace.

Here I am in the liturgical season of Lent in the year 2007 and I’m finding that my journey (if you wish to call it that – I find the term too fluffy and new-agey) has come to some sort of end. I understand now that my faith, Catholicism, is a part of me no matter how I wish to think. It is, as I’ve said often before, part of my cultural identity. However, Catholicism as a church cannot be a part of me simply because I believe they are wrong. I could go on and on about how much I love the cute superstition of old Polish or Italian ladies. I could wax poetic about all the rosaries and the crucifixes that dotted the walls of my childhood. None of this figures in with reason, though. Christianity as a whole is being pushed to a conservative end and I don’t think this will ever change for the simple fact that religion lends itself to attract the unreasonable. The Church’s opinions on issues from women’s ordination, the acceptance of openly gay Catholics, and, most visibly to me, the failure of the Catholic congregation to collectively denounce America’s war of aggression and empire. Maybe it’s just not as plain to see to so many Catholics, but today’s America mirrors the Rome that persecuted the early Christians.

Before I go into another diatribe, I’ll stop. I’ve figured out where I stand and my discussion with myself, God, and my dad (No! I’m not actually talking to them!) is coming to a close. We have a few details to work out, though.

Most importantly, I think I’ve come to rest with my father who, bless him, died seven years ago on February 24th. I feel free now to think how I want to and to teach how I will. Faith is not about chains – it’s about freedom. I have faith in my humanity because God saw it fit to create me this way. This is why the marketing phenomenon behind the Not Of This World sticker/t-shirt/bullshit trinket campaign pisses me off so much. By acknowledging that this is the case, you renounce humanity and look at our lives in this world as a hell on earth – waiting for freedom after death (or the fucking rapture). I see humanity as freedom itself and the end as well as the afterlife as something entirely different.

My dad taught me much in his life. Although he left me early (relatively speaking for me, not him – he was 82, for Christ’s sake!), he left me with a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to run with. So, here I am at an end.

Which I suppose is a beginning as well, eh?