…from a recent phone conversation…
Me: So what has your faith life been like recently?
Amy: Oh, I’ve been enjoying two churches, believe it or not!
Amy: Yeah, I have really been enjoying [Church B] because the pastor does a great job at presenting the message, and I also enjoy all that they are offering. I still go to [Church A] because I have been going there for so long, but I also just enjoying all that [Church B] has too!
Me: Wow, that’s really cool Amy! In fact…it sounds exactly what I have been doing recently too.
I have been ecumenical and inter-religious ever since high school. I have attended Christian groups, and some Christian services. I am a Christian-Catholic, and unfortunately that’s a huge difference between Christians. In college, I was the Public Relations Officer for the Muslim Student Association because they needed someone willing to do the communication, and I befriended a few Muslims. I admired people in general who were willing to have passion behind their faith.
Passion dictates so much of what we do with our beliefs. Those seeking out more from their faith are struck with a sense of passion. Those involved with their faith community are energized with passion. Read the poem at the end of this blog that further emphasizes this point.
Passion seems to seek us, and strikes, leaving us desiring more. It struck me with my first attendance at Eastside Christian Church. My housemates were already becoming regulars at Eastside. I only heard about this church through them. I never was able to go with them due to prior commitments. Sometimes the commitment was to go to my own Catholic service while everyone else went to Eastside. Then, one Saturday, as the group was about to leave, I just said, “Hey, I think I’ll join you.”
It was the music. It was the professionalism. It was the vibe of high energy and enthusiasm that the community gave off as you entered their worship space. I was intrigued. By my second visit, I was hooked.
Passion also can turn into fidelity that withstands the test of time. This is not always the case. I have been passionate about many things like USC football, or Angels baseball, but in the end, my passion was only as good as the team’s winning streak. Yet, when passion was sustained for a long period of time, it then has loads of potential to become fidelity.
I have been passionate for my Christian-Catholic community for a very long time. I got the love-bug for my Catholic faith when I was in high school. It carried me through college, and even lead me to consider becoming a priest. (Read the blog post, “Not a Wasted Decision” to learn about my process of discernment in joining and leaving the priesthood path.)
I have shared with other Catholics about my current trend of attending two services a week for the last 3 weeks. Some wonder if I am wavering in my Catholic faith. I believe that’s a valid concern, but a concern I don’t have for myself. I actually attend Catholic Mass almost every day, and have been doing so for the last 5 years. I love so much of what the Catholic church offers…
But lately, even that hasn’t been enough.
Eastside is a well-run Christian community. They have plenty of things to get involved in, and their services are just darn invigorating. If praising God is supposed to be fun, don’t you think it would be invigorating too?
It is unfortunate that when I do attend a Catholic Mass, most of the time I find myself among the “walking dead.” “Dead” meaning no passion. Just enough energy to show up. But I’m not sure if they know what it means to be in love with God. I find myself singing love songs to God all by myself. Imagine that! Sing a love song about someone so loud, in public, and see if you don’t feel a little awkward. That’s the same feeling I get singing at a Catholic Mass. I have been yearning for more passion for a little while now.
Listening to my friend Amy speak about her own faith journey was comforting. I bet there are plenty of us who are part of a couple of faith communities for the sake of trying to sustain the passion.
Passion. We know when we have it, and we are certainly almost like another person without it. I believe that my current church attendance at two different churches is more about sustaining my faith than changing it.
What about you? What do you find lacking in your faith community? How can you bridge the gaps you encounter?
“Nothing is more practical than finding God” by Pedro Arrupe, SJ
Nothing is more practical than finding God
That is, than falling in love in a quite absolute,
What you are in love with,
What seizes your imagination,
will effect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning,
What you will do with your evenings,
How you will spend your weekends,
What you read,
Who you know,
What breaks your heart,
And what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love; stay in love, and it will
- Is the Catholic faith too hard to live? A great blog post about trying to get Catholics to just do some simple steps to invigorate their faith. (prayerandperspective.com)