Today I Went Catholic

I have shared recently about my religion, Eastern Orthodoxy, and some of the beliefs of the church. I have purposefully spoken in general terms because I have tried to share the teachings that I grew up with.

As with all things in life, we adapt and grow with age. Religion is no different and many of us find that the beliefs of our childhood aren’t always the faith we hold onto as adults. I grew up as the son of a priest and attended church close to seven times weekly, and that wasn’t even including during Lent. It is needless to say that much of my upbringing caused most of my burnout on religion. The stringent life of a practicing Orthodox Christian in America definitely helped drive me to search for other faiths.

When I entered college in the year of 2000 I split my majors. One of my majors was religious studies and I used my newfound freedom and accessibility to other beliefs to broaden my own understanding of the world and the different religions in it. It was after actively seeking for a different answer that I found the answer. Orthodoxy was the only faith I would ever actively follow.

I am thirty-five now and have seen a little more of the world. I have seen what a hard-line stance looks like and I have also marveled at the overly liberal nature some humans take towards faith. A middle ground exists and that is what I now walk. By knowing my faith, I know myself.

I will always be an Orthodox Christian even if I don’t actively practice the faith. I also believe that people from any faith can enter heaven because I believe that the basis of a “good faith” are commonalities found in many different religions. That is because many different practices speak the same truth even if they name their god a different name. I recognize the elephant in the room and understand we may all be touching the same animal. That is the nature of perspective and living a singular life.

This weekend I attended a Catholic church for mass for the first time. My wife has wanted to attend church and the closest Orthodox Church is forty-five minutes away. She asked me if I would go to a non-denominational and I gave her a flat out “no.” I told her I would meet her in the middle and we could attend one of the numerous Catholic churches around our area, but I would not go to a non-denominational church or any protestant based religion. It has everything to do with my upbringing and the traditional faith I was brought up in. Some practices simply don’t feel like worshiping to me and that is the honest truth.

The old me wouldn’t have ever entered a Catholic church. The younger me would have sneered at myself in disdain and muttered “traitor.” That was the old me.

The older me, now, understands that we seek comfort where we can find it. I also understand that it isn’t always about me and I have a family to consider. So I put aside my pride this weekend and attended a church I never thought I would. Even though I have no desire to convert, it was different and an experience in itself. The good part is I felt God there.

At least he could truly be found in many places.

Jason C. Cushman

-Opinionated Man

44.1

@smokendust

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46 thoughts on “Today I Went Catholic

  1. Awesome read, Jason! Your statement really resonated with me, “By knowing my faith, I know myself.” I personally went thru (and am still going thru) different phases of what (and how) to believe for myself. It seems natural to question certain beliefs that were inherited from our parents. As we get older, we gotta find out what’s really for us. But in the end, I think our faith always has a way of bringing us where we’re supposed to be, when we’re supposed to be there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I thought once a week was a lot when I was growing up. I was brought up Lutheran, but my grandparents were Catholic so I attended many times with them. I was not too crazy about the stand up, sit down, kneel every 2 minutes and I found the services to be extremely long.

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  3. My father was also the son of a preacher and in his adult life pretty much stopped going to church. He felt that by that time he had heard every sermon ever written and enough was enough. He’s now in his 70’s and starting to go back to church again.

    I really like that you recognize, and say, that we’re basically all doing kind of the same thing. God is God, no matter what name you give him. The basic belief of all the major religions is a version of Do unto others as you have them do unto you. They’re all based on being good to one another. Which is ironic when you consider how people tend to hate other based solely on their religion.

    Great piece Jason!

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  4. Thank you, thank you for sharing this. I love reading about other’s spiritual journeys. We spend so much of our time occupied with fleeting things of this world, but thank you for bringing up something so important. We are all seeking- and it takes a boldness to discuss religion. I wish you blessings on your life! And you are so right- God can be found anywhere.

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  5. I honestly believe it has nothing to do with all those different kinds of teaching religion. It is what you have mentioned: all about feeling God or whatever you want to call it. I’m with you. It’s often about the priest, the person who provides you with the message. Do they allow you to feel or do they simply want to you to conform… It’s why I stopped going to church. Because there were too many people in my past who used religion to manipulate you…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think God’s anywhere you want him to be. I grew up a practising Catholic but my faith’s changed and faltered through the years. These days I don’t go to church that often but I find God, peace and my spirituality in nature.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. We only have 3 Orthodox churches here. A Greek one, a Russian one and our St. Elijah’s. I actually converted long ago. I was Roman Catholic and was studying theology. Then I read Kallistos Ware’s book and knew where I belonged.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t know much about Orthodox rites, but during Catholic mass you’ll at least have some exercise by standing up, sitting down and kneeling, getting up again…

    Glad you found a place you feel comfortable with so you can safe some travelling for your family every now and again.

    Liked by 1 person

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