Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Hello & Goodbye

I return to this blog to complete a piece of unfinished business and to wrap up this particular chapter of my journey. First, I have re-posted below the introduction to the unfinished Faith Development section. I did intend to publish a series of posts on this material after its initial deletion, but that did not happen for the same reason I never completed the section in the first place: it just made no sense outside the classroom, and as much as I might like to take you there that is no longer my place. However, it also felt wrong to take something away and then replace it with nothing. So I restore what was deleted, trusting that it will make sense to someone else.

And with that, my work here is done. This project was necessary for a time, for my own sake if nothing else, but it is not a forever sort of thing. And that's ok, perhaps even good. I will continue to share my pilgrimage on Twitter and I invite you to follow me there. Either way, thank you for joining me on this stretch of the path.

"So now, we find ourselves at a new crossroads, you to go one way, and I another. Maybe our paths will cross again; maybe they won’t be too far apart; maybe not. And yet you will still travel with me and I with you, because in our hearts, in our spirits, we have become one. Such was the gift of this journey; such is the gift of love. So travel well my friend. Know that I am with you always. I love you."

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The ideas and lessons offered here are based upon the curriculum that I created during my ten years teaching religion in a Catholic high school. The purpose of that course was always about exploring the questions, not passing along the answers. That is a journey I still want to walk, with whoever wants to join me.

What "Faith Development" is not:
  • Creating a ten point action plan to accomplish the seven steps to spiritual success.
  • Having to get a graduate degree to understand what Jesus meant when he said "love one another as I have loved you."
  • Tapping into the secret knowledge of the universe by unlocking some vague, obscure prophecy.
  • Esoteric pseudo-mysticism and/or psycho-babble.
  • Trying to figure out the loopholes in "love one another as I have loved you."
  • Empowering the cosmic consciousness in order to get in touch with your inner Christ.
  • Following the latest celebrity endorsed, flavor-of-the-month guru currently riding the talk show circuit promoting his/her best selling whatever.
  • Refusing to ask questions because Father/Bishop/Pope knows best.
  • Sending $1,000 to the televangelist who really needs it "now, right now, don't wait, you know the Holy Spirit wants you to do it."
  • Other assorted spiritual crap designed by hipsters and/or the "I'm more pious than you" crowd to sell books, seminars, videos, crystals, statues, string, beads, medallions, water, etc.

What "Faith Development" is:
  • Understanding and embracing something very real: love.
  • Asking tough questions and struggling to come up with honest answers.
  • Genuinely listening to the voice of God within yourself.
  • Being real with God, oneself, and others.
  • Being open to truth, wherever and however it presents itself, but most especially as paradox.

When it comes to spirituality, we seem to delight in making things more complicated than they need to be. It's similar to all those expensive gadgets we buy to make our lives easier, but that actually do just the opposite. Simple does not mean superficial. Complexity does not equal depth.

My version of faith development starts with two very basic questions:
  • What do I believe?
  • How will I live?