Monday, April 30, 2012

Faith-shaping life experiences

My faith is pulled from a number of sources that have defined my life experiences and spiritual beliefs.  The Capuchin Franciscans helped me develop an appreciation for Jesus and for following the environmental stewardship practiced by St. Francis.  InterVarsity Christian Fellowship helped me better identify with the wider Christian community than just Catholics.  Shane Claiborne's teachings helped me conceptualize what it means to follow Jesus in today's world.  NY Faith & Justice, Sojourners, and Red-Letter Christians helped bring further contextualization to faith-rooted social justice. Trinity Grace Church has given me an opportunity to feel unified under not having to identify with a particular denomination of Christianity. I can also identify pretty easily with the views expressed by Unitarian Universalist Christians.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

New perspectives

I went on the "College & Young Adult" retreat at CYFM this past weekend and came away with more than I could have imagined. Spending a weekend with college student & young adult Catholics and being provided with an open space to dialogue, listen and learn about the struggles with the church and our faith that Catholics of this age face, has sparked a glimmer of hope in me. I'll never forget the excitement on Ananda's face when I proposed my question for the "Open Space" discussion, about the church's role in seeking social justice vs. just providing charity. It's so inspiring to see others who care about the same issues I care about, from the same perspective of having being molded through the CYFM, Franciscan tradition.

This weekend helped me discern my identity a little bit more in a lot of ways. For one, it's strengthened my belief that I am first and foremost a lay Franciscan Catholic, if you will. This weekend has taught me that Catholics have plenty to teach the world about social justice, and that I shouldn't abandon the task of continuing to learn and share with the world about Catholic social justice teachings. And just because I can comfortably identify with the Capuchin, Christian community way of life, doesn't mean I can't also feel like I belong to a non-denominational church. Trinity Grace Church is the coming together of people of all walks of Christianity. And to me, it represents unity in the church. Which serves to satisfy my yearning for church unity until we can bring more unity to the larger church as a whole.