Friday, August 6, 2010


So, Anne Rice is quitting Christianity. Given her reasons I cannot raise much objection. I have pretty much done the same thing. My family and I have taken to conducting Liturgy in our home, with a small worshiping community. It’s very informal and very “un-churchlike” - if by “Church” one means a lot of pomp and ceremony. I like to think that we are like the earliest communities of Christians, worshiping in small households, but without the threat of persecution. Who knows?

Probably not even close.

I quit for the same reasons she did:
“I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life.”

These are sound reasons. The breaking point for me was a letter from my diocesan bishop that said, in essence, that he wasn’t telling anyone how to vote, but as Catholics we were morally bound to vote only for candidates who opposed legal abortions. Yeah right. I have never voted for a Republican in my life. Nor have I ever voted for candidates based on one issue. That is ignorance in the extreme. A Catholic Bishop throwing down that particular gauntlet made me very, very angry. The sheer arrogance of it was deeply offensive.

So, I quit.

It was hard. My family's Roman Catholic roots are deep. My brother is a Dominican priest. I had three aunts who were Dominican Sisters. The halls of the Dominican Motherhouse in Adrian, Michigan still evoke a sense of mystical intrigue for me. The chanting of the liturgical hours still causes me to stop and look inside at my own mystical connection to the Creator of the Universe.

Unlike Anne, I have never been an atheist. I have had an ongoing internal dialogue with God going on for as long as I can remember. It is the most consistent part of a spiritual journey that has taken me from my humble little parish in Deerfield, Michigan (St. Alphonsus) to a Charismatic Christian Community to a very devout sojourn in the Antiochian Orthodox Church and finally back to Roman Catholicism. All along the way I was guided by that internal dialogue. I learned a lot. Life had it’s bumps and distractions; a divorce, a remarriage, three children with the first wife, an adopted son with my second (and last) wife. I have encountered trials and tribulations and exhilarating spiritual insights. Some of these insights originated from my religious devotion but most of them have come when I dared (often to the abhorrence of my “pastors”) to think “outside the box”.

Perhaps the most profound insight I have happened upon is that God DOES NOT have some “perfect plan” for my life. I am expected to make it up as I go - just like he does. This statement usually evokes outbursts of disbelief and/or accusations of “heresy” from those who have known me from my past religious sojourns. But it’s true. No Bishop, Pope or “pastoral guide” can prove me wrong.

I believe that this is the essence of what Anne has discovered. (She can correct me if I am wrong).
O Sensei, Morihei Uisheba may have said it best:

"One does not need buildings, money, power, or status to practice the Art of Peace. Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train."

Much Love…Mitakuye Oyasin!

Papa Medicine Crow

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