Moving on

So I haven’t been on WordPress for very long now, and this whole Mr. Storage didn’t pan out the way I was thinking it would, but that’s okay. It pushed me to clarify my vision, so I’ve launched a new blog, with my own domain!

I’ve also split my blog into two. You can now find posts centering around my life as a dad over at A Twisted Christian Dad and my posts on Christian Theology at Twisted Christian Theology. Both these blogs are hosted on my twistedchristian.ca domain. I’m really excited to have them setup and running.

Here is my intro post with a brief overview of my new site, Welcome to a Twisted Christian Dad. I have multiple RSS feeds setup, so feel free to subscribe to either or both sites. You can also sign up for email updates.

So those of you with links to this site in your blogroll, please update to my new sites and update your RSS feeds and unsubscribe from this one, as I will no longer be updating here. This new blog will be the 4th incarnation of my blog, and should be the last. I thank you for reading what I have to say, and hope you will join me in my new digs. I am very excited about them.

I would like to find a way to link them, so it lets the other blog know when there’s an update, so we’ll see how that pans out.

And while you’re checking out my new blog, stop by and check out my wife’s blog at mamabean.ca

Wordless Wednesday VIII

Dad Blogs Wordless Wednesday

Sitting!

Dear Bean,

You can now sit up by yourself, and it makes me so proud! Now, technically I know this is just another milestone, and you’ve been slowly starting to sit by yourself for about a week now, but today I sat you down (with pillows around you, we learned from the bump on the hardwood last week) and I went and did laundry while you amused yourself, while sitting! It’s awesome! It opens up a whole new world of self-amusement for yourself. It means I can sit you down somewhere, and I don’t have to worry about having your bumbo there, or your command center, or somewhere soft to lay you down. I can just sit you down on your little butt and you’ll be just fine. Awesome!

Next up, crawling!

Love,

Dad

The Need for Support

On Wednesday my wife and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary. As I look back over the past year, thinking about the highs and lows, rereading old posts, one really jumped out at me.

I wrote it shortly after the birth of Bean, during a time when things felt a little overwhelming. We haven’t lived in this city very long, leaving family and friends behind just over a year previously to move across the country. So we didn’t have much of a support network setup here, and I found that really difficult during those early days. It’s funny how much that network has grown in the months since then, but those first few weeks were really rough. It helped that my parents surprised us a couple of days after he was born, and my inlaws came a couple of weeks later, but during that time I really learned the importance of having a strong support network. Especially during a time like the birth of a first child.

So I wanted to repost it for this weeks Fatherhood Friday post. (hosted by Dad Blogs)

Originally posted October 29,2009. Support is Important.

Having a baby is challenging. It’s hard work, but it’s not the physical work that’s tough (at least not yet), but it’s the emotional side of things. The frustration of not knowing if you are doing something right, of not being able to tell what he wants when he fusses or cries. My respect for single parents has increased one hundred fold since becoming a dad. It’s a tough job, and going at it alone is just unfathomable to me.

Our biggest challenge has been not having much in the way of a support network around us. At least not in the immediate vicinity. Both of our immediate families live multiple provinces away, and while we do have extended family in the city, I find it really difficult to ask for help.

I thought we were developing a decent support network here. Going to church, having a small group, making friends… but it has all seemed so distant these past two weeks. Bean was born two weeks ago today, and we’ve haven’t had much in the way of visitors. I mean my parents surprised us with a visit the weekend after he was born, and what a HUGE blessing that was, and a couple of friends from out of town who just happened to be in town that weekend dropped in, but other than that, we’ve had no one.

I dunno, I guess I just expected more, which maybe I shouldn’t, but I thought at times when there’s a birth or death that the community comes together and helps those people out. I mean we’ve missed the last two Sundays at church and haven’t heard a peep from anyone. That’s not true, one person gave us a phone call and congratulated us which was really nice.

Maybe technology is getting in the way? When Bean was born I let everyone know on facebook, and posted a couple of pictures, and the messages and comments on my status poured in. It was really nice, but that’s where it stopped. Other than from a couple of really close friends, nobody even called. Nobody offered to drop by with dinner or to visit (things i thought just happened, especially in churches). Maybe I’m being a little old fashioned, but commenting on someone’s status is nowhere near the same as calling them on the phone, or dropping in to see them. But I think people have gotten comfortable sending greetings and congratulations from afar and the personal interaction has been left behind. It’s so much easier to type “Congrats!” than to pick up the phone and call, or drop by and see how things are going.

Now, I know I’m just having a little pity party for myself over here, I just expected more. And maybe I shouldn’t have. Maybe the relationships that we have cultivated just aren’t at that point yet. Or maybe I just need to learn to ask…There was just so much love and support prior to the birth, I thought it would continue. I think it’s the fact that the extent of most people’s comments were a reply to a status update. That’s not enough.

It’ll get better though. Hopefully we’ll make it to church on Sunday and reconnect with people there, and Jo’s parents are coming in Sunday afternoon for a couple of weeks. It’ll be a good thing, though I’m sure trying at times. ;) I love my inlaws, they just drive me nuts sometimes. But then most people do, and living with them for a couple of weeks just amplifies things. lol It’ll be great for the love and support though, just what we need right now.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

Wordless Wednesday VII

Happy Anniversary My Love!

Visiting down by the Mississippi 2004

Trip to the Chicago Zoo in 2005

Engagement Photo (child not ours) 2006

Eating Gelato during the photo shoot 2007

wedded bliss 2007

Happy Couple (not looking so happy though) 2007

Honeymooning in Vancouver 2010

Canoeing in the Rockies 2008

Exploring Manitoba 2008

First picture as a new family 2010

New Family 2010

Happy Family 2010

Out for a walk as parents 2010

Dad Blogs Wordless Wednesday

Response to comments on Flirting with Catholicism

Thanks for all the great comments on my previous post, Flirting with Catholicism. You guys brought up some really great points, and @willadair even wrote a post in response to it. This seemed a little long to respond in the comments, so I just turned it into a post.

As so many of you were quick to point out, the Roman Catholic Church is not the “universal church.” The universal church is the priesthood of all believers. I understand that it is merely the Roman Rite that I am referring to. As Devin pointed out, it is the Catholic and Orthodox churches that have the strongest claim to being in continuity with the early church. I was just choosing the one I associate most closely with the early church. There’s lots of debate over whether it should be the Orthodox Church or that which became the RC Church, but that I see them as having equal hold on that title.

I’ve looked into the Orthodox Church (thanks so much for the links Bob) but find I would have to leave too many of the things behind that I currently enjoy about the Protestant church, a big one being contemporary worship music. It’s a big part of my worship, and not something I could easily leave behind.

I understand that “Catholic” is a term that does not belong to any Church, but all who call themselves Christian are part of the Catholic Church. This is an important distinction, one that I understand.

I still think the Roman Catholic Church has a very real link to the original church, which brings me to a point Rev Conwell made. Jesus didn’t send his disciples out to begin this church or that, and while those that follow the doctrine of apostolic succession would call upon Matthew 16:18 where Jesus tells Peter He will build His church upon him. I am not a fan of this interpretation, and think that apostolic succession was more a response to cultural events, not because of this passage. But that’s getting into historical interpretation. :) I do believe that when he sent them out to preach the Good News, the inevitability would be the creation of a church. One church. (if i’m wrong here, or misinterpreting, let me know)

Skippymom, what I was referring to when I was talking about moving down the street to a church down the road for a teaching more your liking, I was referring more to theology, and less to church politics (for lack of a better word). You can go to a different RC Church, but they will still teach the basic beliefs laid out in the Catechism, whereas I could go to my church that doesn’t believe in infant baptism and go down the road that believes infants should be baptised. To me that is a major theological difference. (Not to belittle your point) I’d love to talk to you more about your conversion though if you don’t mind discussing it sometime. :)

Brandon, I had never thought of Mark 9:38-40 as speaking against the exclusivity of one church. I’m going to have to look into that more. (Any reason to study scripture deeper is a good one. :)) Is this a widely accepted interpretation?

Transubstantiation is something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit recently, and a doctrine I believe the RC Catholic church is right on the money with. I look to passages like, John 6:31-70 (Which is a lot, I know. But I find it really lays it out with background), Matthew 26:26-28 (and equivalent verses in the Synoptics). Even the verse you quote, if you look at the verses bordering it, Luke 22:17-20, I would say it also makes an argument for transubstantiation. I don’t think that because it becomes his body and blood nullifies the remembrance. It is still a remembrance of his death and resurrection. They could have celebrated it with Jesus following his resurrection and it would have still held meaning. They would, together, be remembering the event that is central to Christianity.

The veneration of Mary and the Saints is something I am still unsure of. I really like the concept, but am unsure of its meaning in today’s context. In the early church, following the legalization of Christianity under Constantine, Christians didn’t know what to do with themselves because persecution was a defining characteristic of who they were. So it made sense to hold up these martyrs. It’s something I want to study and pray about more before coming to any conclusions. It used to be something I was totally against until I learned more about it, which is why it is now in the “Likes” column.

I shouldn’t have used the word, “loopholes” as it doesn’t accurately address what I was getting at. What I wrote following, “answer for almost everything (whether I agree with the answer or not, I appreciate having things laid out like this to avoid the wishy-washyness I see so often)” is what I was trying to get at. Just a bad word choice on my part.

I have to disagree with you on structured prayer though, Brandon. In Jesus’ teaching on the Lord’s prayer in Matthew He said to pray it, “in this way.” Which can be interpreted to mean verbatim or to be used as a framework. But it is Luke 11:2, “He said to them, “When you pray, say:”

But beyond even that, I see power in repetition. I understand that if your heart isn’t in the right place and you are saying it for the sake of saying it there is no use. An essential aspect is the prayer behind the words, not just the words themselves. This is something I’ve been learning as I try to incorporate the Divine Office into my day. For me the power behind the words is what really strikes a chord with me. If you see it as duty and ceremony, then you are right, you’ve lost out on discussion between your heart and God’s. But if you use those words as a conduit between your heart and God’s, it can be a very powerful thing.

Through all of the comments, one thing really struck me (other than the fact that the Roman Catholic Church does not have exclusive rights to the word Catholic or to the exclusivity as the “one, true, unified church”) is that most of my likes are to do with the reverence, the liturgy, the tradition, and my dislikes are with the theology. Now this poses some serious problems, because minor theological differences I can handle. But I disagree with some of the most fundamental of RC doctrine, things that would put me out of communion with the RC Church were I to head down that path. Now things change. Views change, beliefs change. I’m a prime example of that, things that I once hated about the RC Church, I now love. But confessing my sins to a man in the booth instead of directly to Jesus is one of my biggest hangups. I’ve read the Catechism on this and understand where they are coming from, but just like their interpretation forbidding contraception, I don’t agree.

So thanks for all the great comments. They really helped me sort some things out in my head, and while they cleared up some things, they got me thinking about others. And will, that post was amazing! It took a lot of the things I just learned in my History of Christianity class and went deeper. I really appreciated that thank you.

I will have plenty more that I’ll be looking for comments on too. :) I want to write more about transubstantiation, and explore it deeper to find out why it was rejected during the reformation. I also want to learn more about infant baptism, especially since I have an infant. I have been thinking about checking into the Anglican Church, but just haven’t made the time to go. We are involved every Sunday morning at our current church, and it is hard going to new churches with a baby (I find).

God Bless.

Flirting with Catholicism

I’ve been flirting with the idea of converting to Catholicism. (Converting doesn’t seem like the right word though, since it is still Christianity, just not Protestantism.) The key point holding me back: I want to be a pastor, and the Roman Catholic Church does not allow married men to become priests. (A concept I understand their reasoning behind, but do not agree should be the only way.)

I grew up Protestant, but attended Catholic schools for grades 4-12. Our school wasn’t very different from the public one, it’s not like we wore uniforms or were taught by nuns. Everything was pretty much the same with the exception of Religion class and liturgies. Religion wasn’t an official class until high school, and even then there was only one 3-credit class per semester.

At school we had liturgies and assemblies. Assemblies are the same as public schools. Liturgies were usually precided over by the local Bishop and included various Catholic-type things like prayer and whatnot.

This past semester I started attending classes at a local Christian (Protestant) university, and took an Intro to the Bible, and History of Christianity. In these classes I really began to question the Protestant church. I mean, I know guys like Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli (among others) had their reasons for challenging the practices of the Roman Catholic (RC) Church, but their intention wasn’t to create an offshoot from Catholicism, but to attempt to fix the problems (Luther anyway, I’m not as studied on Calvin and Zwingli).

See I don’t think divisions within the church is God’s plan for the church. Verses like 1 Cor 1:10 and others speak specifically to this:

“Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.”

Now these verses can be interpreted in various ways, but to me they specifically speak to divisions in the church, ie. denominations. The more I study the Bible, and the more I learn about the history of the church and the history of Christianity, the more I feel that Protestantism has become a bastardization of what God intended for the Church. Now this isn’t to say that the RC Church has it right either, as is painfully obvious from this latest abuse scandal.

Part of my problem with the Protestant church is the fragmentation. While the Reformation challenged problems within the Church, they set Christianity on a slippery slope of fragmentation. Don’t like something your pastor taught you? Check the church down the road, they might have something a little more to your liking. Now I think personal interpretation is important, but when people start using the same passage to defend opposing views, there is a problem.

There is just something that speaks to me about the RC Church. Something about being part of the original Church. The Universal Church. This is something I mentioned on Twitter one day and received the response that the church in Rome has no more claim to the Universal Church than does the church in Geneva, Wittenberg, or Nashville. That the Universal Church is spiritual, and seen by its actions and not confined to any one place.

I gave this some serious thought, but haven’t come to a satisfactory conclusion. On one side I totally understand where he is coming from, and agree. But another side of me thinks that the physical church, the people, the Church with a capital “C”.

I would say my primary draw is the unity of a single Church, though this is far from the only reason.

A question that comes to mind is, “Is it better to be part of a church that you have (minor) theological difficulties with, then to be part of this fragmented church that is obviously not God’s intention?” Some would even call this fragmentation a sin, as it is not following God’s original plan. (I wouldn’t go this far though)

This question is where I get hung up. What constitutes a “minor” theological difference? There are a lot of things about Protestantism that I quite like, mostly because of the freedom to do as I choose, and the power of personal interpretation.

I’ve started making a list of likes and dislikes, and as I did so it got me thinking, quite a few of the dislikes aren’t specific to the RC Church, but more about Christianity in general. But as a Protestant it is okay, because I am allowed to pick and choose. Now this seems very elementary, but helps me see things on a larger scale.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and is dynamic, prone to additions and deletions as I learn and grow and change. And it is very preliminary. Many of these things I don’t know everything about and can’t rightly make an educated decision on. Nor can I always back up my choices with concrete reasons or scripture (something I believe to be important in the decision making process, especially when it comes to theology).

I’d also like to go into detail about each item on these lists as I learn more about them. To provide insight into where I am, and the conclusions I am drawing. This is to help me solidify things, and hopefully incite response, comments, advice, opinions in case I’ve missed something or to show another view.

Likes:

  • Reverence and Liturgy
  • Unity of one physical church
  • Transubstantiation
  • Veneration of Mary and the Saints (not worship)
  • Tradition
  • No loopholes; answer for almost everything (whether I agree with the answer or not, I appreciate having things laid out like this to avoid the wishy-washyness I see so often)
  • Structured prayer (eg. Rosary)
  • Importance of the Creeds

Dislikes:

  • Priests cannot marry
  • Purgatory and Indulgences
  • The ability to lose ones salvation
  • The need to be absolved of sin by clergy
  • literal interpretation of the Bible
  • Complementarianism (that women can’t be members of clergy)
  • Stance against the use of contraception

And I understand that many of both the likes and dislikes aren’t specific to either Protestantism or Catholicism and can be found elsewhere.

So this is a lot, I know. But it is where I am at right now. I’m making the slow transition to Pastor, but have encountered a slight bump in the road which I am now trying to navigate.

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