A Status Report

I decided to take a year--a Church year, from Pentecost to Pentecost--to figure out where I stood with Catholicism.  Or, to be more accurate, to figure out if this Episcopalian thing was going to be a thing.  Other events have provided additional impetus for the project.  I have been attending my local Episcopal Church almost exclusively.

I have noticed, over the last couple of weeks, a very strange and interesting experience.  During the week, doubts begin to creep in about what I am doing.  It would be much, much easier just to be Catholic.  Everyone understands--they know that most Catholics don't really believe in the crazy stuff like Humanae Vitae and kicking out elderly gay couples.  No one would hold it against me.

All of that goes until about 10:15 a.m., when I walk into the Episcopal Church.  Up to that point, including on the ride over, I am tempted to make a turn and go back to the old, familiar Catholic Church.  I walk in to a sparse crowd in an big old church, I sit down, and I pray that I am doing the right thing.

And then the service starts, and something happens.  I participate in a beautiful, reverent, but not overly stuffy, liturgy.  I hear a sermon that seems to always have some nugget in it that speaks to me at that moment.  I meet folks who seem genuinely pleased that I am there.  I experience people who seem to be very committed to this small-ish parish, and to ministry in the broader world.  And then I feel good about what I am doing.  It doesn't fully last--at least, not enough to keep the doubts away--but it keeps me wanting to come back.

Here's the other thing that has occurred to me.  If you asked me to write down the list of things that I would hope Catholicism would change position on, I could come up with a fairly specific list.  And if you were to compare that list to the positions of the Episcopal church, you would find that. . . the Episcopalians already believe most of them.  Which, of course, raises the question--why bother waiting around to see if Catholicism changes in the way I would hope, when there is a group that is already there?  It's kind of like the advice one always gets about dating--don't date someone hoping that they will change; find someone who already has the traits you want the person to change into.

Still, it is harder than I thought it would be to fully commit to the idea of changing religions.  That still feels really scary.  I just don't feel completely comfortable, at least not yet.  Intellectually, it seems like a pretty obvious decision, but I'm not there yet emotionally.  I suppose it's not surprising that it is hard to make a move like this, but it is proving harder than I expected.

Anyway, that's where we are as of today.


Michael Wise said…
I've gone through a lot of the same thought processes as you. Of course, I am gay (and now civilly married) and the explicit culture war twist that has come to roost at the RCC made my choice self-evident. Episcopalians have a common and orderly method of worship, not some sort of polite fiction that everyone subscribes to a 1000ish page catechism.

Oh, and the music is just better. Episcopalians had about a 400 year head start on vernacular hymnody and it shows.


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