"Right hand on Bible as the inerrant Word of God."
"Left foot on questioning the effectiveness of prayer."
"Right foot on questions about Mary and the Saints."
"Now left foot on researching the Real Presence."
"Right hand now on studying the early church."
"Left hand on trying to understand methods of biblical interpretation, including the historical critical method."
"Right foot on enjoying Catholic Mass and having your husband now going through the membership process."
"Now, for a real contortion act, left hand on doing the above while still attending your local evangelical church with your children."
This game is bound to lead to the chiropractor, if not to the nearest psychologist. It's leaving me stumped about where I belong, what I believe, and where to go from here. The road has been long and convoluted...leading from a childhood in mostly mainline churches to an adult spiritual path marked with a wide variety of experiences, from a charismatic praise-singing community to three years in a church that had no instruments and only sang psalms, and then back to an evangelical church with charismatic leanings. That experience left me bewildered about the dizzying array of beliefs within Christianity and left me skeptical about who has it "right." My searching has led me to the Catholic Church and it's long history. I love the richness and the ritual of the mass. I love the sense of timelessness and I love the "big tent" attitude. I've spent a stimulating year wrestling with the doctrines and wrestling verbally with the young man in charge of people like me... people in the Inquiry class.
Add to all this the fact that I've spent 8 years or more watching several dear friends go through life-changing spiritual journeys...some to Catholicism, some to Eastern Orthodoxy, some to skepticism, and some to the postmodern acceptance of the unknowable. These friends, and those whose faith hasn't gone through upheaval, have all forced me to look at my life and beliefs more closely. I was encouraged to stop spouting party lines and to start looking closely at what I was saying. I saw inconsistancies and learned to wonder about many things I'd never questioned.
So here I am, playing theological Twister...so tangled up about what I "know" and where I belong that I don't foresee ever really figuring it out. I have part of my heart in two different churches, not just because literally my heart is with my husband at one church and with my children at the other, but because I see so much beauty, truth, meaning, worship, and service going on both places. I feel paralyzed in the middle...unable to make up my mind to leave one or the other, yet knowing that fence straddling isn't a permanent answer either.
Yet, since my youngest child is only 10, I'll probably be straddling the fence for some time to come. I'm commited to supporting my children's involvement in their church. I'll continue to read and search, and juggle my time as well as juggle the questions of my well-meaning Protestant friends who can't understand why I'm going to Mass. Maybe it will all come clear someday soon. In the meantime.....
"Left foot on dropping kids off at Youth Group early so you can get to Ash Wednesday Mass"
"Right hand on keeping up with your friends at Grace and your friends at St. Thomas More."
"Left foot on meeting with the RCIA director to discuss his book recommendation."
"Right hand on trying to figure out Church authority."
"Right foot on trying not to wish for the days when we all were happy at the same church."
"Left hand on the belief that God is bigger than any church."