Hi! I'm Claire
The fact that I am introducing myself to you as a blogger still astounds me. I’ve never blogged before or even followed many blogs.
I'm a Catholic "lifer." Raised in a Catholic home, I went to Catholic schools, worked as a parish pastoral associate, and co-founded a parachurch non-profit called Parish Catalyst whose mission is to help priests and lay leaders “Think Creatively, Act Courageously and Renew the Church.” (parishcatalyst.org)
I have a Master’s in Pastoral Theology from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and a Doctor of Ministry from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. I’ve preached at liturgies and set up cones in rainy parking lots. I spoke at Oxford University about parish life and have been the only one left at a parish event to clean up. My Catholic husband and I have raised four kids Catholic, and only one stuck with it.
A few years back, after my granddaughter’s baptism, I posted her picture on Facebook with the caption, “Welcome to the faith! Grandma is working to build a church you can thrive in.” So here I am, a blogger, looking for a way to help this wounded and beautiful church that I love to thrive.
The Story Behind the Blog
Belief and Doubt Go Hand in Hand
A few years back I found myself talking about belief to a group of people. I had given this talk before but this time was different. You can only talk about belief in abstract, theoretical terms for so long before it starts to niggle at you. Something had shifted in me, and instead of simply talking about belief, I found myself talking about some of the questions and doubts I was experiencing in my own life. Questions like: Is the virgin birth of Jesus meant to be taken as an actual event or as a great myth that points to a reality beyond itself - a myth that is about light coming into darkness; the perennial conflict between the powers that rule this world and God's passion for a different kind of world? After the talk was over, a number of people pulled me aside privately to say that they had similar questions and doubts. One pastor said to me, “I have the same questions that you shared. But what you are saying is something I just cannot say.”
Christianity Is Not For The Faint Of Heart
The pastor mentioned above was in a difficult position that I completely understood. I spent a number of years working as a pastoral associate in my own parish and then more years co-founding Parish Catalyst – a parachurch nonprofit designed to help parish teams prosper and grow the church. Working in an official church capacity, I felt a professional responsibility to keep my questions and doubts about tradition and church dogma to myself .
Some of the doctrines of the church are so deeply embedded in our Christian psyche that just questioning them might seem like heresy. But Christianity is not for the faint of heart. Questioning is not rejection, doubting is not infidelity, and sincere searching opens us up to the possibility of a deeper, more authentic life of faith.
Welcome To The Conversation
This forum is a place to express what Catholicism/belief/religion/our culture, has made us wonder about, marvel at, yearn for, trust or distrust, etc. It is a place to expose your internal spiritual dialogue to the light of day and let it breathe a little.
It is also a place to find out what has been going on in the minds and hearts of others as they too navigate the great mystery that is God.
So welcome to the conversation! Welcome to those who love the Catholic Church, those who have been wounded by it, those who have rejected it and everyone in between. This place is for you. I hope you will visit often and when you are ready to share your own story with us that you will do so.