From 6-9-07 journal entry
I wrote down some quotes from a book I was reading that was written by an ex-priest called, God Lives…from religious fear to spiritual freedom by James Kavanaugh. I didn’t agree with everything he wrote but he made a couple of statements about why he left the church and the priesthood that resonated with me.
He said one of the reasons he left was so that he could “offer leadership for the young whose faith will never be satisfied by the narrow goals of the church.” (Emphasis mine)
He also wrote:
“I was on my own with God and Jesus and I began to feel like a human being after what seemed like a hundred years of trying.”
“I was in a church that could not change; a church that had no structure or organization for change. It was a monarchy that was laden with rigid structures that had lost their meaning. They had mighty schools, a strong hierarchy, loyal people, endless traditions and frightened members. But this was not enough. I wanted God. I wanted peace and joy.”
He said he had not lost his faith but for the first time in his life he really had faith.”
When I read that, I remember identifying with this man on some levels and the irony of that. This is not about the Catholic Church; it is about others also feeling trapped and frustrated in what they had always and only known.
Sharing these feelings and frustrations with my fellow worker buddy’s one of them replied, “We understand and we agree with you but you have to choose your battles carefully. You cannot buck everything and remain effective and in the Work.” I got what they were saying and sought to live by that counsel for a couple of years but eventually could no longer live a life of duplicity. I couldn’t preach one thing (or simply not preach about something because I knew it would get me in trouble) and believe in another. I didn’t want to be double minded. Now, I will admit, that I have battled with being double minded in recent years about other subjects; I never claim to have it all together.
I often think of what Paul said in Philippians 3:10-14
10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Also was thinking about a few more verses from this same amazing chapter:
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ
9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in [a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
What a different perspective I now have on those verses compared to what I had been taught in the fellowship. I used to give up things in the hopes that it would save me from a lost eternity. Paul said he gave up things so that he could know Christ! He continued saying he believed now that only his faith in Jesus Christ would save him; not his own human efforts.
There is such freedom in that and it is such a relief. “To know Christ; this is the goal of my life. Everything else pales in comparison.“ (Beth Moore) I have had to forget a lot of things that are behind and press forward. It has not been easy but it has been necessary. The only reason I am bringing these things up in this blog is because I need to share my journey.