RCIA (What I learned this week)

(So I’m using this as my post to join in Jo-Lynne’s carnival

For those of you who don’t know, I am what is called a “cradle Catholic”.  I was born into Catholicism and grew up immersed in it.  I took a break from church for about 5 or 6 years, and now I’m back.  All three girls have been baptized and SmartyPants made her First Communion last spring.  We go to mass once a week (unless we are out of town).  For the past 4 years or so Traveler has talked about going through the process to become Catholic.  He was baptized Episcopalian and during his early childhood years his family attended a Lutheran church.  I never pushed him to convert.  (And to me that word has a negative connotation.)  He talked about it when we lived in Idaho, but we didn’t feel comfortable with how some things were run in the local parish there.  When we moved here, he talked about it a bit more, but because of all the traveling he was doing he couldn’t commit to the weekly meetings.  Last Thursday was our third night of classes.  I’m going too as I will be his sponsor.  (A sponsor is sorta like a godparent.  They support you through the process and they are kind of life your “go-to” person if you have a question or want to dialogue with someone about something you are being taught.)  In being his sponsor I thought I’d get a lot out of the class too.  Or at least I would learn more about the way Catholicism is practiced in our parish.  I’ve mentioned in the past that I really like our parish here.   The head priest is big into social justice issues and I don’t think I’ve ever hear him say anything about abortion that didn’t include remembering that we need to protect ALL life including the mother’s.  Which is huge to me, and I may go into more depth at another time about this.  But knowing that the head honcho of the church I go to cares about doing right by people and by his call to God means something to me.

Anyway, RCIA – Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.  Part of the reason I’m writing this is because I have a feeling I’m going to be more comfortable with my religion (not my faith, I’m pretty comfortable with it at this point in my life).  Take for instance last night.  We were talking about different words that have been used to describe God/Jesus, and then we were asked to help find passages in the Bible that make references to how God/Jesus was perceived.  The leader of the RCIA program is a deacon.  He was actually the one who baptized SmartyPants 8+ years ago.  One of the words that came up was “father”.  Because most people think of God as a father figure.  We live in a patriarchal world, so it isn’t a surprise that “we” view God as a father.  But Deacon Bob pointed out that some people didn’t have a positive father figure in their life and they have difficulty wrapping their brain around how a father figure could be kind/compassionate, etc.  So he showed us two parts in the bible that associate God with a nurturing mother.  So what I was hearing from this conversation was that I (or anyone else) felt that thinking of God as a mother figure instead of a father figure made more sense to us, that was okay.

So, night one of “lecture” gave me more comfort in my perceived strictness within Catholicism.  My parish doesn’t feel that things are black and white.  This thrills me because life isn’t black and white.  I am looking forward to learning more and going through this process with T.

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