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Source: (consider it) Thread: Spiritual Penpal Sought
# 15530

 - Posted      Profile for stonespring     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I've been going through a bit of a spiritual crisis the past few years. My friends and family do not like talking about religion and whenever I go to a member of the clergy, liberal or conservative, for counseling or confession, we just talk in circles and I never feel any resolution to the questions I have. I am not really looking for the final answer or ultimate truth here but I thought some dialogue with a fellow seeker, perhaps one who either is in or has been in a similar situation to mine, might be of some help for both of us.

So here is where I am at:

-I am in New York City, 28, male, gay, and married to another man.

-I am Roman Catholic, but as you will see below many Roman Catholics might call me a heretic.

-I was baptized RC as a baby, but my parents were and are both lapsed Catholics who did not take me to church afterwards.

-My parents are fine with my being gay and almost always have been.

-My mother became deeply involved in New Age things and exposed me to that a lot when I was growing up.

-I completed my initiation to the Roman Catholic Church in university and I do not fully know why (my priest was pretty conservative).

-I think part of my decision to identify as Roman Catholic was a way of confronting my demons of internalized religious homophobia and self hatred that society, if not my parents, instilled in me. The New Age was just an escape from the fear and anger and did not allow me to really deal with them.

-I value the Roman Catholic Church for the fact that people in it choose to believe the same things, follow the same leaders, and participate in the same institutions. I think the way the particular beliefs, leaders, and institutional organization are all decided upon should be reformed, but I think that once they are decided fairly (according to the will of the Holy Spirit), they should be binding for all who choose to participate. It drives me crazy that so many people pick and choose what rules to follow in the Roman Catholic Church without trying to change the rules they do not agree with or eliminate rules that are unnecessary. I also dislike that the enforcers of the rules in the Roman Catholic Church often only reprimand those whom are out of their favor while being very lenient with those whom are in their favor. Rules and laws matter, and if they are harmful they should be changed or eliminated. If they are good, they should be universally (but charitably) enforced.

-I also value the Roman Catholic Church for its global reach, its presence among the poor, its willingness to incorporate a huge volume of writings beyond Scripture spanning thousands of years into its definition of Divine Revelation, its understanding of the Eucharist as the literal and physical eating and drinking of God incarnate (while not being cannibalism or vampirism - hooray for mystery!), and its willingness to weave pagan and secular traditions into its tapestry so as to better evangelize.

-I do not believe in eternal damnation. God may punish, purify, and/or teach lessons before or after death, but S/He would not cut us off from Her/Him forever even if we asked Her/Him to as our last and fully informed request before dying.

-I believe that women can do anything that men do in the church and vice-versa.

-I do not believe that sex is sinful as long as it is among consenting non-related adults and no one is betraying anyone else's trust or putting his/her physical and emotional health in danger by engaging in promiscuity.

-I believe the Church, the Magisterium (ie, the collectivity of Bishops), and the Pope are infallible, but only as an institution or office. A Pope might think he is making an infallible statement (an ex cathedra definition) when he is in fact only saying his opinion. The Holy Spirit will defend the Church from error by preventing those untrue statements claimed to be infallible from being received by the People of God.

-I am not sure to what degree, if any, members of other denominations, religions, and systems of non-belief are "wrong."

-I am a liturgy freak and I like worship to be done by the book. If the rubrics are bad, change them (through the proper channels) but please please follow the rubrics. They exist for a reason.

-I want worship (and life outside the Church walls) to have traditional, historical Liturgy; scholarly, challenging, and universally understandable preaching; the proclamation of all of Scripture and not just the non-controversial bits; and the ecstatic enthusiasm and evangelistic fervor that I see among Evangelical Protestants and Pentecostals.

-I think marriage should be until death and indissoluble but I think that people should be able to enter into relationships with the blessing of the Church where they have sex and legally share their lives and property before sacramental marriage so as to ensure that they are truly called to that vocation. Think of it as a marriage novitiate.

-I believe all human persons should have their lives fully legally protected from the beginning of life to the end, but I am not sure if a fertilized human egg is a human person (a human life, yes, but a human person? with a soul? even when embryos can split into identical twins or merge to become a chimera?). I think abortion is generally a bad thing and people should be encouraged to utilize adoption as an alternative but I do not think that making it illegal in our current culture - especially when a woman's health is in any danger - will do much to save or improve lives and may cause much more harm than good.

-I am not sure whether I am doing the right thing by giving money to institutions in the Church that teach that gays have desires that are intrinsically disordered, that women are equal in dignity but unequal in potential vocational opportunities, etc. I also do not want to subsidize the Church's refusal to come to terms with its lack of full accountability for the religious superiors of sexual abusers. I know the vast majority of the Church's money goes to things that are good and necessary, but should I be subsidizing evil in any amount? Taxes are not voluntary, but tithing is not a matter of law anymore. There is more than one way to give one's time, talent and treasure to God and Her/His People.

-I have no idea whether purely democratic governance (as in chaotic majority rule and/or constitutional checks and balances that can get in the way of needed changes) is a good thing in the Church, but I think something needs to be changed institutionally in Church decision making to end clericalism and elitism.

-If the Church needs serious reform, which I think it does, how should I express my dissent? By marching in protests? Boycotting donations to or attendance at certain things? Raising my voice even when it means being excommunicated and being less able to make change quietly within the Church?

That all said, would anyone like to be my penpal? Please do not try to convert me or save me - I promise to not try to do that to you. It might help if you had a somewhat Catholic outlook on things (which would include the Orthodox, Anglo-Catholics, Old Catholics, Independent Catholics, and some Lutherans and Methodists). You can private message me and if it seems like we get along we can exchange email addresses. I know things like this rarely work out with strangers but I am just crazy enough to try it.

Posts: 1537 | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
Ship's Foolwise Unperson
# 1984

 - Posted      Profile for Doublethink.   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I think you could probably use the ship for the discussion of many of the issues you raise - but being aware of not revealing too much personal information.

(FWIW You views seem more akin to high church anglo-papalism and you may want to explore that.)

All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

Posts: 19219 | From: Erehwon | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
# 15530

 - Posted      Profile for stonespring     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I'm more looking for one-on-one discussion and friendship. I've already discussed some of this stuff on the ship. As for Anglo-Papalism (and I know the difference between that and normal Anglo-Catholicism) I have considered that and many other options but am pretty sure I am staying where I am. Any penpals out there?
Posts: 1537 | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
# 14696

 - Posted      Profile for Evensong   Author's homepage   Email Evensong   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Originally posted by stonespring:
I know things like this rarely work out with strangers but I am just crazy enough to try it.

I admire you for trying. Go you. [Big Grin]

If I was Anglo - (youwotsit??) and had more time I'd take you up on the offer. [Smile]

a theological scrapbook

Posts: 9481 | From: Australia | Registered: Apr 2009  |  IP: Logged
# 28

 - Posted      Profile for Nicolemr   Author's homepage   Email Nicolemr   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I'm not the spiritual penpal you seek, but I did want to say hi from another NYC shipmate. There aren't all that many of us.

On pilgrimage in the endless realms of Cyberia, currently traveling by ship. Now with live journal!

Posts: 11803 | From: New York City "The City Carries On" | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
# 15530

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Greetings nicolemr from the Upper West Side!
Posts: 1537 | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
# 15765

 - Posted      Profile for deusluxmea     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
me too! Westchester!
Posts: 19 | Registered: Jul 2010  |  IP: Logged
# 10631

 - Posted      Profile for Kasra   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Stonespring, can you write a real brief reply to my PM so I can respond properly?


Can you spare $13.10 to help find a cure for Leukemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma? http://pages.teamintraining.org/ne/kc12/cburberqb8#home

Posts: 309 | From: Lincoln, NE | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged

Ship's Blue Blooded Lady
# 2764

 - Posted      Profile for duchess   Email duchess   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I'd like to be your pen-pal. I don't know if I should PM you or you me, but I am putting it out there.

Me: I am a 45 year old single female that used to be a scary bible-thumper. I was on SoF actually hosting a magic-8 bible-thumper thread at one point. I then against my will, starting becoming more and more a bleeding heart Librul. I didn't want to, but things made more sense to me.

I still love the bible and think it's inerrant. Think that what it says is extremely important in my life. I still love God, who I believe to be 3 in one (Father, Son and Holy Ghost).

I have looked at becoming an Eastern Orthodox and also a Roman Catholic. But I still seem to hover around Evangelical churches.

I voted for Prop. 8 in California when it came out since I thought it was what God wanted. I fell apart when I saw how awful it is to the gays and lesbians in my life. Since I love a lesbian couple (well, now divorced but they were then together), I could not like a lot of straight evangelicals, blow off thinking about it. I finally came around to the conclusion that while I am still studying what the bible says about gays (to digging in what the language actually means in the bible), I don't give it much energy anymore. I think church and state should be separate and gays should be able to marry. Places of worship should not have to if they don't want to. I would have attended my friends' wedding if it were nowadays, instead of declining.

So while I do have regrets on that, I now realize I can make a difference by loving all that come into my life, including those who struggle accepting gays. I try to bring recompense for my past by being salt and light, as much as Jesus shines through my brokenness.

It is probably not easy being a religious person who is in a same-sex marriage as many gays and lesbians run away from religions as they have been treated pretty cruelly.

[edited because tidying up post.]

[ 30. March 2013, 23:28: Message edited by: duchess ]

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Posts: 11197 | From: Do you know the way? | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged

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