Original Post Date: June 25, 2017
I don’t usually post about organized religion – but I’m going to make an exception here. As many of you know, I was raised Catholic. Today I’m more of a “many doors to the same room” type person – I have a strong sense of faith, but I also see the huge core commonalities between organized religions and expressions of faith. Looking at the major world religions, and some of the smaller (by that I mean number of followers not “smaller” as an indication of value or worth) religions as well, it seems they are genuinely wrestling with and trying to answer the same major questions (what is “good?”, what does it mean to be good/do good?, how do I best achieve that?, how do I promote good?, what is my purpose?, how do I protect my family and loved ones from harm?, what is harm?, how do I explain the seemingly unexplainable?, etc.)
People sometimes come up to me, an openly gay woman, and comment on the Catholic Church. They comment in both directions – supportive and non-supportive of the Church – hopeful and non-hopeful regarding various statements (usually about LGBTQI issues, often about marriage, sometimes about parenting or just homosexuality in general) made by various officials within the Church and what those statements *must* mean.
From what I have seen and witnessed, many different experiences exist – many different levels of inclusion and exclusion. You can interpret that however you wish, according to your own worldview. What it absolutely does NOT mean, however, is that there is one consistent way of being across all parishes and dioceses and countries and whatever other kind of jurisdictional boundaries exist right now. And you can interpret that however you wish. Here are two stories I have recently seen about Catholic officials – each telling different stories.
For me, in the end, love, kindness, compassion, and empathy carry the day. I have found that it is worth looking beyond the specifics and having the broader discussion about core values to determine if we are more alike than we are different. That’s your starting point. Or to put it another way: “the devil is in the details.” Let’s start from a place filled with love, build a base of compassion and empathy, and then check in on how important those details are… you know, once we actually see each other as connected people, not just “code violators.”
This, by the way, extends to everything, not just religion.
Okay, stepping off soap box and going back to Hulu.