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I Am A Christian Because I Have Been Loved Deeply PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 01 February 2011 11:57

A friend turned me on to a new (to me) blog called Positive Science, Negative Theology whose post of the day is entitled Why I am a Christian. The author says something that I can hardly ever remember hearing from Catholics:

"I am not a Christian because it “makes sense” or because someone sat down and diagrammed it for me.  I am a Christian because I have been loved deeply and unconditionally by Christians.

Some of them — like Fr. McCaffrey — troubled me with hard questions. But all of them loved me when I did not love them. And I have come to believe, over many years and through many struggles, intellectual and otherwise, that the God of these Christians — that is, God as incarnated in Jesus of Nazareth — is real and alive and even loves us. Despite the pain and weariness of life, despite the very real evil in the world, despite my moods and frustrations and endless head games.

I did not presuppose God or God’s love, believe me. These, especially the latter, are among the least intuitive realities imaginable.

I grew up in a church and in a tradition that I have come to re-embrace, and it is always easy for others to suggest that I have simply reverted to the theism of my youth and the “theism of the civilization” (?) out of insecurity (Chris did not say this, granted, but IMO it was there as subtext). But that kind of psychoanalysis removes any possible meaning from what any of us says, because it would be highly disingenuous to claim that skeptics and freethinkers are not part of a long tradition themselves, yet I would never claim that they are just unwittingly clinging to that tradition. We must take each other’s words seriously without deconstruction or psychoanalysis.

Reason is a wonderful tool, but it is weak force for deep change in human beings. Faith, hope, and love are not tools; they are virtues, powerful and exceedingly difficult to embody, and much more efficacious than reason for changing lives."

Fr. Benedict Groeschel, long ago, pointed that it has long been understood that people seek and find God under different realities:  some as the True, some as Beauty, some as The Good, some as The One.  And how important it is that we honor those differences.

Around St. Blog's, the overwhelming paradigm that I've heard expressed is seeking God as the True.  In liturgical discussions, I will also hear references to God as the Beautiful.  But I can't think of a time when I have heard a Catholic say:

I am a Christian because I have been loved deeply and unconditionally by Christians.

How powerful, and in my experience, how rare.  A naked statement about the transforming impact of being loved by a community of Christians without the inevitable modifier (at least around the Catholic internet) of "kumbaya", usually closely followed by "happy clappy".

And this sentence is full of profound wisdom:

Reason is a wonderful tool, but it is weak force for deep change in human beings. Faith, hope, and love are not tools; they are virtues, powerful and exceedingly difficult to embody, and much more efficacious than reason for changing lives."

Loved deeply, deep change, powerful virtues, changing lives.  Wow.  Yes.  He is a blessed man.

Your thoughts?  Have you experienced something similar?  We'd love to hear your stories.



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